Helping students and families reengage with school post-pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic profoundly disrupted the American education system. Millions of students faced daily challenges that hampered their academic progress, mental health, and well-being.
A recent report confirmed pandemic-related disruptions reversed 20 years of educational progress. While declines spanned race and income, impacts compounded previous inequities, as they are starkest for students in high-poverty areas, students of color, and those who were struggling academically before the pandemic.
Supporting Students at a Critical Time
Since the pandemic began, Blue Meridian has recognized a critical opportunity – aligned with our broader focus on economic mobility – to invest in social sector leaders helping to drive an equitable recovery for all Americans. In the summer of 2021, we invested in 16 organizations to immediately accelerate the reach and impact of key interventions for students and help states and districts lay the groundwork for systemic improvement.
Our investees are working to address a range of pandemic-related issues, from closing learning gaps to stemming the decline in postsecondary enrollment. Efforts include high-impact tutoring, coaching to help family members and educators close literacy gaps, and postsecondary planning in low-income high schools.
Recognizing that schools are being asked to meet the holistic needs of students, providing food and clothing, childcare and social interaction, and even refuge, Blue Meridian’s diverse investments are helping organizations work with schools to provide care across the spectrum of need. This includes delivering access to mental health and well-being services and providing internet access at home to close the digital divide.
Helping Schools and School Leaders Recover and Plan for the Future
Through investments in organizations devoted to supporting state and district leaders, we have prioritized helping these leaders better utilize the unprecedented resources pledged by the federal government to meet the challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. These Blue Meridian investments help state and district leaders deploy funds equitably, implement effective practices, and develop strategies to address critical student needs. These investments also resulted in playbooks and other tools that enabled best practices to be shared nationwide.
As the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic linger in education, we are grateful to partner with organizations, school districts, and states working to close learning gaps and support educators and innovators. Our investment in the first year of this work, the 2021-22 school year, was more than $80 million.
We understand this work is only the beginning. Though it could take decades to make up for the lost academic progress, we remain inspired by the work of the many leaders dedicated to helping our nation’s students regain what’s been lost and realize their full potential.
Meet Our Investees
SAGA EDUCATION‘s track record of randomized control trials positions it as the nation’s most trusted nonprofit partner in executing high-impact tutoring. Saga offers free tools for schools and educators, hands-on technical support, and quality assurance services to get the most out of tutoring programs.
SPRINGBOARD COLLABORATIVE closes the literacy gap by closing the gap between home and school. It helps kids in pre-K through third grade reach reading goals by training families to teach reading at home, providing professional development for educators, and delivering personalized instruction to students.
COMMUNITIES IN SCHOOLS connects students across the country to caring adults and community resources, creating access to critical resources like food, housing, healthcare, counseling, and remote technologies and empowering students to take charge of the future they want for themselves, each other, and their communities.
TRAILS (Transforming Research into Action to Improve the Lives of Students) works to make effective mental health services accessible to all students through appropriate mental health programs grounded in cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and mindfulness – techniques proven to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression.
Working alongside state leaders, partners, providers, and school districts, EDUCATIONSUPERHIGHWAY helped over 40 million students access high-speed internet. Now its focus is to provide states with the tools needed to connect the 10-15 million students who lack home broadband because of the affordability gap.
To improve graduation rates among traditionally underserved students, MDRC’s SUCCESS (Scaling Up College Completion Efforts for Student Success) evaluates promising programs and helps states and institutions align their resources with evidence-driven practices, striving to improve the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children.
BELLXCEL works to transform children’s academic achievements, self-confidence, and life trajectories by building the capacity of schools and youth-serving organizations in under-resourced communities through a platform that centralizes program management, curriculum and resources, teacher professional development, and family engagement tools.
NEW PROFIT is a venture philanthropy that backs social entrepreneurs who are advancing equity and opportunity in America. Through the Equitable Education Recovery Initiative, New Profit will fund and build the capacity of 24 entrepreneur-led organizations providing tutoring, whole child supports, and postsecondary advising.
COMMON APP helps students navigate the college application process and allows them to apply to the 900+ applicable colleges and universities in the US and abroad. By deploying a texting intervention, it seeks to improve outcomes on timing, submission rates, enrollment rates, and college persistence.
SHARE OUR STRENGTH is committed to ending hunger in the US through two campaigns: No Kid Hungry, which provides grants to schools and organizations, expert guidance, and advocacy; and Cooking Matters, which teaches families on limited budgets to shop for and cook healthy meals.
ZEARN is the nonprofit educational organization behind top-rated Zearn Math. Zearn Math supports teachers with free resources, including a research-backed curriculum and digital lessons proven to double typical one-year learning gains, and offers school- and district-wide licenses and professional development to support implementation.
ONEGOAL works nationally to close the college degree divide. Partnering with public schools in low-income communities, its three-year program starts as a daily class during junior and senior years of high school and includes remote support through students’ first year of college or another postsecondary path.
CHIEFS FOR CHANGE is a bipartisan network of diverse school superintendents and state education leaders. The network supports members and provides technical assistance; advocates for the adoption of effective policies and practices; and develops the next generation of bold, student-focused superintendents.
NEWSCHOOLS VENTURE FUND (NSVF) is a nonprofit venture philanthropy focused on impact, equity, and innovation in education. NSVF finds, funds, and supports early-stage innovators who seek to build strong schools and organizations to ensure all children have access to the learning opportunities they need.
FIRST NATIONS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE works to restore Native American control and culturally-compatible stewardship of the assets they own – be they land, human potential, cultural heritage or natural resources – and to establish new assets for ensuring the long-term vitality of Native American communities.
THE COUNCIL OF CHIEF STATE SCHOOL OFFICERS (CCSSO) is an organization of public officials who head departments of US elementary and secondary education. CCSSO is committed to ensuring that all students participating in the nation’s public education system graduate prepared for college, careers, and life.