The Education Dept. makes four awards under the new Skills for Success (CFDA Number 84.215H)
grant competition, totaling $2 million, to improve the non-cognitive skills of middle-grades students and improve their classroom achievement.
Grants provide funding for the implementation, evaluation, and refinement of existing tools and approaches (e.g., digital games, growth mindset classroom activities, experiential learning opportunities) that integrate the development of students’ non-cognitive skills into classroom-level activities and existing strategies designed to improve schools.
The Skills for Success grantees will serve more than 10,000 students over three years in the Chicago Public Schools, KIPP Houston Public Schools, Long Beach Unified School District and Los Angeles Unified School District. Their projects will explore and refine an array of approaches to help educators enhance students’ learning mindsets and skills, including strengthening parent engagement and expanding science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) coursework.
DoEd also launched of the Mentoring Mindsets Initiative, a partnership with City Year, MENTOR, Stanford University’s PERTS Lab and the Raikes Foundation to pilot evidence-based tools that enable mentors to teach learning mindsets and skills to their mentees.
“As a former high school teacher and middle school principal, I saw firsthand the importance of teaching students learning mindsets and skills,” said John King, DoEd secretary-in-waiting. “These skills can help all students become college- and career-ready, and these initiatives will empower educators with tools and strategies they need to lead this important work.”
The Mentoring Mindsets Initiative partner organizations will adapt PERTS’ growth mindset toolkit, so that local and national mentoring organizations can better leverage evidence-based learning mindset tools that help mentors amplify their impact, King said. The grantees and Mentoring Mindsets Initiative will also expand the sector’s collective knowledge about effective practices, and build on over $100 million invested in social and behavioral applied research by the department’s Institute of Education Sciences, King said.
Although enhancing these skills is not a standalone strategy for improving schools, there is a growing body of research indicating that learning mindsets play a key role in students’ long-term success, King said. Recognizing the importance of these skills, the Department has sought to increase investments in learning mindsets and skills, and identified them as a key college and career readiness strategy in President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, King said.