Our blended-learning team is absolutely thrilled to announce our new partnership with the GHR Foundation to implement blended-learning programs in schools in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis! We have been contemplating expanding our work outside of the Notre Dame ACE Academies for some time now, and we could not resist the opportunity to work with the amazing GHR team (and in Fr. Nate’s hometown, no less!).
The GHR Foundation is a Minneapolis-based philanthropic organization committed to cultivating meaningful change in the areas of global development, education, and health. More specifically, the GHR Foundation's Catholic Schools funding works to ensure the Twin Cities’ urban Catholic schools are faith-filled, academically excellent educational communities that prepare children to be college-ready, productive citizens.
The GHR Foundation originally partnered with ACE in 2014 to implement blended-learning programs in three schools under the direction of our colleague TJ D’Agostino. The foundation and the schools were ecstatic about the results, both academic and otherwise, of the implementations, and GHR and ACE have remained in close contact over the past few years (read more about this history here). When Fr. Nate and I felt confident in our capacity and ability to serve additional schools, we approached GHR about the Higher-Powered Learning Program.
The Higher-Powered Learning Program is a three-year professional development program guiding leaders and teachers through the implementation of sustainable and exceptional technology-enhanced educational programs. It is modeled on the system of blended learning advancement and strategy teams we are piloting this year in the Notre Dame ACE Academies, with some key updates from our lessons learned, of course (more to come on that in the future). Three to five schools from the Twin Cities will be selected in 2018 to participate as a cohort, and each school will create a Blended Learning Advancement and Strategy Team (BLAST), comprised of the school leader(s) and two to four teachers, to lead the higher-powered learning initiative at their schools.
For BLAST members, the Higher-Powered Learning Program includes four to seven days of professional development each year, as well as coaching calls, professional learning communities, and guided projects throughout the course of the program. This intensive professional development and support will empower the BLASTs to implement school-wide blended-learning programs by the end of the program.
To support this program, GHR Foundation awarded a grant of $1.8 million over three-and-a-half years to implement blended-learning programs in up to five schools in the Twin Cities. The majority of this generous grant will directly support the schools’ costs to participate in the program, including infrastructure upgrades and technology implementation, so this is a truly incredible opportunity for Twin Cities’ schools.
We are excited to open the application to participate in the Higher-Powered Learning Program to schools in the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis! If you know a school leader in this area, please encourage them to visit bit.ly/higherpoweredlearning to learn more about the program and how to apply.