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Baseline Findings from the Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessments of Barr Foundation Climate Program GranteesSeptember 30, 2022
In 2021, the Barr Climate Program partnered with Community Centered Evaluation and Research (Community CER) to design and implement a Racial Equity Organizational Self-Assessment. The goals of the self-assessment were to provide Climate grantees with an organizational profile that allowed them to review their organization's progress in adopting and implementing racial equity practices and to help the Climate Program better understand organizations' efforts and how to target resources. This report is a summary of the findings of the Climate grantees as a group. The appendix includes the full survey used in the self-assessment.Access the full report by clicking the cover below
In fall 2020, the Barr Foundation offered high schools the opportunity to hear firsthand from their stakeholders about the teaching and learning experience within the unprecedented educational environment brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Ten schools across New England opted to take advantage of this opportunity, partnering with YouthTruth to administer surveys to students (and in some cases, to staff and families), to gather information and insights about how they were faring nearly a semester into the 2020-21 school year.
The reality that COVID-19 was a pandemic became clear by mid-March 2020. Immediately, grassroots, community-led groups organized mutual aid and other COVID response efforts to bridge the gaps created by lack of preparedness as well as inadequate response on the part of the state and federal governments.The Barr Foundation is interested in learning how these community based responses were organized, how they operated, and what the network ecology looked like in Boston, Chelsea, and Revere. The overall goal is to understand how community-focused and community-led responses like these can be built upon and reinforced to support equity-centered climate resilience.
In the summer of 2018, the Barr Foundation contracted with the Consensus Building Institute (CBI) to conduct a scan of highlights of climate resilience activities in the greater Boston area and to identify opportunities for ramping up those activities in coming years. The CBI team reviewed relevant technical reports and interviewed 36 individuals who work climate resilience.The ideas described in this document are the research team's synthesis of the broad knowledge about resilience activities today from the expertise of those with whom the team spoke and corresponded. The team would like to thank all of them for their insights and wisdom.
It's one thing to paint a big picture vision for school transformation, but it's another thing to translate that vision into day-to-day strategies and actions at the school and classroom level. To understand common barriers and approaches in teacher and leader behavior change, The Learning Agenda reviewed reports and case studies from multiple education initiatives, and drew from learning community conversations about shifting instructional practice. Some key themes emerged, including four common barriers to sustainable school and classroom change:Attitude and Emotional Factors, such as lack of buy-in and trustProcess Factors, such as lack of coordination, planning and communicationsEnvironmental Factors, such as lack of time and resources, competing demands, policy barriersSkill and Knowledge Gaps, such as lack of experience in the change areaThe Learning Agenda then took the most common barriers and questions from the learning community and asked nine Wider Learning Ecosystem community members and redesign experts to respond with their own stories of struggle and success related to their school change efforts. This guide shares those stories to offer concrete examples and strategies that any school can use to strengthen their change effort.
During 2018 and 2019, a working group of district and charter school leaders and other education stakeholders from urban and rural locations across the state met to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of principals leading Massachusetts schools. The Barr Foundation engaged Attuned Education Partners to facilitate this group and lead implementation of the learning agendas developed by its members. Together, they prioritized key challenges and identified solutions that research suggests are most likely to strengthen principalship and drive better outcomes for students—especially the students of color and English learners that the state is currently serving least well. This summary highlights their findings and insights. See the full report for more on the challenges and solutions—plus case studies and recommended action steps for state policymakers, school system leaders, principal preparation program providers, and funders.
In 2017, fifty-six percent of the principals hired statewide were new to the job, with high-poverty schools most likely to hire novice principals. During 2018 and 2019, a working group of district and charter school leaders and other education stakeholders from across the state met to explore ways to increase the effectiveness of principals leading Massachusetts schools. The Barr Foundation engaged Attuned Education Partners to facilitate this group and lead implementation of the learning agendas developed by its members. Together, they prioritized key challenges and identified solutions that research suggests are most likely to strengthen principalship and drive better outcomes for students—especially the students of color and English learners that the state is currently serving least well. This report presents their findings and insights—including recommended actions tailored to state policymakers, school system leaders, principal preparation program providers, and funders. It also offers a collection of case studies demonstrating potential solutions in action.
In 2010, after a decade focused on its home city of Boston, the Barr Foundation launched a pilot in global grantmaking. Over the next three years, guided by a vision for a vibrant, just, and sustainable world with hopeful futures for children, the foundation engaged with over 20 organizations striving to improve the lives of children and families living in poverty in East Africa, India, and Haiti. This booklet summarizes their approach, grant investments, and learning from this initiative.
Today, almost 30% of Boston residents were born outside the United States and of these, nearly half came from Latin America, a quarter from Asia, and almost 10% from Africa. The future of the city's open space system - how much land is set aside, and how that land is designed, maintained, and used - will increasingly depend on the passion and commitment of families and communities who may not see themselves or their interests reflected in the city's public lands.In this paper, we consider some of the ways in which recent immigrants to Boston connect (and do not connect) to public parks and open spaces. Our goal is two-fold: to explore alternative ways of "seeing" and using parks and open spaces in different communities in the city, as well as to highlight specific strategies, both here and across the country, that successfully engage urban residents born outside the United States. If Boston's civic spaces are to be celebrated in the future as they have been in the past, they must come to reflect the new diversity of Boston's people. Our hope is that these stories and models will encourage more culturally resonant uses of parks and other public open spaces, and equip policy makers and environmental organizations to partner more fully with newcomer communities - in Boston and beyond.
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