EQUITABLE EDUCATION

Goals + Outcomes

>> View a list of 2020 AFO grant awards sorted by portfolio

Goal: Advance education equity for priority students through systems- and policy-level change

Every year, billions of dollars flow into Oregon’s 197 school districts and 19 education service districts. As resources arrive, superintendents and their elected school boards direct resources to support a broad base of strategies designed to meet both state standards and the needs of students. In Oregon, local control is paramount and creates our foremost opportunity for communities and education institutions to align in systems- and policy-level change efforts. 

The core purpose of this goal is to activate communities to elevate their unified voice and increase their representation at decision-making tables. In partnership, education institutions must demonstrate both intent and strategy to increase their knowledge and understanding of community needs by providing and maintaining relevant supports for community engagement.

As school districts, ESDs and nonprofit partners prepare for students to return to the classroom, we must transform our vision for public education in order to meet the demands of this critical moment. While returning to “business as usual” is not possible, it is possible to mobilize the power and potential of students, families, communities and organizations toward meaningful, relevant and equitable change. The Equitable Education portfolio will support strategies that seek to address the immediate and urgent needs of today’s priority students while establishing a foundation for meeting the future and ever-evolving needs of tomorrow’s students.

Intended outcomes

Policy- and systems-level change: Through changes in public policy, systems and institutional practices, eliminate disparities for priority students at key education benchmarks:

• Kindergarten readiness 
• Third grade reading
• K-12 attendance
• Ninth grade on-track
• High school graduation and college/career readiness

Organizational capacity: Increase impact and long-term sustainability by strengthening the effectiveness of organizations advancing community-driven solutions

Collaborative capacity: Increase coordination and alignment between education institutions and community-based organizations to eliminate persistent barriers for priority students 

Community influence: Increase community participation in civic, education and policy systems

Educator diversity: Grow strategies to increase and retain educator workforce diversity

Examples of what we might fund

In this goal area, Meyer will fund strategies that support community engagement, community-based organizing and organizational capacity building that increases opportunities for priority communities to participate in the development and implementation of systems-level change. We seek to fund organizations that expand participation of priority populations through meaningful, responsive and impactful methods. 

Examples might include developing and supporting coalitions of culturally specific organizations to build cross-community understanding of student needs, projects that include student voice to activate community organizing and efforts to increase organizational funding to sustain community engagement and advocacy efforts.

Three examples of what we funded under this goal include:

• An effort to bolster the capacity of a culturally-specific organization focused on elevating Black student achievement and opportunities by expanding programming designed to empower parents of Black students to engage with school systems and aid school districts in implementing culturally affirming practices.

• A collaborative of school districts and a regional education service district to institute culturally responsive practices and policies in Southern Oregon schools.

• A program training parents of color in cross-cultural leadership development while conducting community-based research to surface common barriers and potential solutions to college readiness in Multnomah County.

These are only examples to illustrate the types of projects we might fund. We invite other ideas that would further our goals, strategies and intended outcomes.

Goal: Improve priority student achievement and college and career readiness

Both qualitative and quantitative data demonstrate that the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the learning trajectory of all students, but none more than Meyer's designated priority students. The challenges of this past year have and will continue to test our education system. This goal will be focused on proposals designed to meet the resilience of our students with exceptional, relevant programming creating accelerated learning in the areas of kindergarten readiness, literacy in the primary grades, high school graduation and college and career readiness as well as attendance across the K-12 continuum. We seek to partner with communities, organizations and institutions that build, expand and innovate to support priority student success, those ready to meet the moment with a strong recognition of the brilliance and tenacity of the youth they seek to serve.

We recognize that most critical solutions derive from partnership. This goal also supports cross-sector collaborations among businesses, industry and employers with education and community-based organizations to prepare students for meaningful careers. 

Intended outcomes

Student Achievement: Improve priority student achievement at key education benchmarks: 

• Kindergarten readiness 
• Third grade reading
• Ninth grade on-track
• High school graduation and college/career readiness
• K-12 attendance

Examples of what we might fund

In this goal area, Meyer intends to fund projects that involve a significant and ongoing commitment to eliminating education disparities with responsive programming that increases access and participation and supports priority student success. 

Types of projects might include service expansion or innovation that improves equitable outcomes or supports collaborations that engage communities most impacted by disparities. We seek to fund projects that build the effectiveness of organizations to directly impact student achievement and college and career readiness.

Three examples of what we funded under this goal include:

• Expansion of a program designed to increase high school graduation rates and college enrollment through academic skill building, college campus and course exposure and cultural empowerment for students of color in Lane County.

• A project to build the capacity of a therapeutic school serving students with disabilities and trauma in implementing their strategic student support plan to increase student achievement with the goal of creating a replicable model that can be used in other therapeutic educational settings.

• Increasing the number of third grade priority students reading at grade level in the Columbia River Gorge through experiential STEM programming focused on place-based ecological exploration.

These are only examples to illustrate the types of projects we might fund. We invite other ideas that would further our goals, strategies and intended outcomes.