Foundations Gather to Discuss the Future of Education

Dr. Lisa Snyder, EdVisions


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Future of Education

Dr. Don Shalvey of the Gates Foundation speaking to guests during one gathering

EdVisions and The Center for School Change recently invited Minnesota-based foundations to come to the table to discuss the most compelling drivers for change and improvement in education. Officials from more than 25 foundations gathered in St. Paul at meetings or events scheduled over a two-day period in mid October.

The meetings were scheduled in part to host the visit of Dr Don Shalvey, K-12 deputy director at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation who was in the region to speak at a Minneapolis-based event. At the meetings, Dr. Shalvey shared a summary of the upcoming K-12 education strategy set to be released by Bill Gates on October 19, 2017. The Gates Foundation strategy will focus on empowering networks of secondary schools to transform learning through focused, school level innovations in the areas of distributive leadership, curriculum and resource alignment, data driven improvement, improved transitions, high performing faculty, family & community connections and student-centered learning.

"We hope that bringing Minnesota-based foundations together as part of a larger, national discussion, they would consider aligning their efforts and goals of philanthropy in Minnesota toward a common vision for education that will better prepare our students for a changing world," stated Doug Thomas, development director at EdVisions.

Among the participants was Kayla Yang-Best, who oversees the strategic investment and partnerships in education for the Bush Foundation who explained the foundation's investment in education in the region centers around making education more relevant for today's students through individualizing learning for all.

Officials from the ECMC Foundation who are currently the primary funding source for the EdVision's strategic plan, presented their support for networks of schools that promote deeper learning which includes a set of six interrelated competencies: mastering rigorous academic content, learning how to think critically and solve problems, working collaboratively, communicating effectively, directing one's own learning, and developing an academic mindset-a belief in one's ability to grow.

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