Nellie Mae Education Foundation Awards Seven Organizations, Schools and Districts Almost $1 Million for “Proficiency-Based Pathways”

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF) awarded one-year grants to seven organizations, schools, and districts across New England as part of the foundation’s effort to prepare all learners with the skills and knowledge needed for success in postsecondary education, work and life.

Proficiency-Based Pathways allow students to progress toward their goals based on mastery rather than a required number of hours spent in a classroom. The pathways represent a significant move towards learning opportunities that allow students to achieve proficiency at their own pace, according to the Quincy, Mass.-based foundation.

The organizations, schools and districts receiving Proficiency-Based Pathways grants are:
·         Big Picture Learning (Connecticut and Vermont locations)
·         Boston Day and Evening Academy (Boston, Mass.)
·         Third Sector New England in coordination with Diploma Plus (Massachusetts and Rhode Island locations)
·         Expeditionary Learning/Casco Bay High School (Casco Bay, Maine)
·         Maine School Administrative District 15 (Gray and New Gloucester, Maine)
·         National Center on Education and the Economy/CREC Schools (Windsor, Conn.)
·         Vergennes Union High School (Vergennes, Vt.)

Grant amounts range from $74,000 to $185,000.

Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the grants are the cornerstone of NMEF’s Proficiency-Based Pathways project and are managed by the organization’s Research and Development department. The foundation will share what is learned with interested stakeholders in the education and philanthropic communities, where interest in these approaches has grown in recent years.


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