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I. Introduction

Getting Smart Collective (formerly eduInnovation) is seeking a qualified evaluation partner to collaborate with on a grant making program supporting the growth and impact of microschools across diverse communities. As part of this effort, we are committed to ensuring the quality, effectiveness, and equity of the microschool models that will be funded through our grants.

II. Grant Program Overview

The Learning Innovation Fund is the grantmaking arm of Getting Smart Collective that makes innovation investments to ensure equity and access for every learner. 

The Fund’s first grant program, A Big Push for Small Schools, is a multi-year initiative aimed at catalyzing innovation and growth in microschool models. These small schools, rooted in a historical tradition of cooperative and small-scale learning, are envisioned to become diverse, sustainable, and impactful alternatives within the educational landscape. The grant program focuses on promoting quality, equity, and accessibility by fostering a network of microschool leaders, providing technical assistance, and offering grants to propel the development of these innovative learning environments. Funding is provided by the Walton Family Foundation.

The program investments will feature up to 20 grants ranging from $75,000 to $250,000 with the aim to accelerate the impact and scalability of select microschool models. The program will feature national models across the K-12 spectrum that showcase various funding methods such as private, public, and ESA funded models. The Fund is seeking geographic diversity with urban, suburban and rural representation. Models must educate historically under-served populations.

The evaluation partner will play a crucial role in assessing the learning outcomes, equity, and sustainability of these models. By strategically aligning evaluation with the campaign’s goals, the chosen partner will contribute to refining microschool models, fostering a data-driven culture, and ultimately shaping the future of education through empowering and accessible small-scale learning environments.

III. Scope of Work

We are anticipating the first cohort of grantees will be up to 15 models. The second cohort of grantees is estimated to add up to 5 new additional models to the first cohort. Total grantees estimated to not be more than 20 models. The evaluation partner will be responsible for the following evaluation efforts for all grants.

Criteria Development:

  • Work directly with each school to create effective, relevant evaluation criteria and tracking systems.
  • Correlate criteria to traditional measures.

Pedagogical Principles and Student Outcomes:

  • Examine the integration of research-supported, innovative pedagogy within the models.
  • Measure and analyze data to evaluate the impact of grant-funded microschool models on student academic and nonacademic outcomes.
  • Document demonstrated rate of growth in (K-8) literacy and numeracy.

Equity and Accessibility:

  • Analyze strategies for ensuring accessibility and equal opportunities for all students.

Outcome Tracking and Reporting:

  • Codify and quantify the number of new microschool solutions (and demographics of students served) launched or seeded with grant funding.
  • With a solutions mindset, develop a measurement framework for nontraditional spaces to track and have similar data categories
  • Ensure longitudinal tracking to assess sustained impact beyond the grant program

IV. Methodology and Approach

The evaluation partner should propose a comprehensive and innovative methodology that includes, but is not limited to:

  • Data collection methods (surveys, interviews, observations, etc.) that allow for unique attributes of the school and new ways of analyzing student success.
  • Analysis techniques for quantitative and qualitative data.
  • Informal and nontraditional strategies for measuring and assessing the impact of the microschool models.

V. Deliverables

The evaluation partner will provide the following deliverables:

  • Comprehensive evaluation reports for each microschool, detailing findings and recommendations based on the assessment criteria.
  • Summarized overview of the collective impact of the funded microschools.
  • Data visualizations, infographics, or other formats to enhance understanding and communication of evaluation results.

VI. Budget and Compensation

Our commitment to ensuring the success of the microschool campaign extends to the allocation of resources. For this current grant period (September 2023-June 2025) we have a not to exceed budget of $150,000 for comprehensive evaluation of the microschool models.

The proposed budget should encompass all elements essential for thorough evaluation services. This includes assessment fees, expenses, and any potential travel costs if applicable. Your budget proposal should clearly detail how the allocated funds will be utilized to conduct robust assessments, ensure accurate data collection, facilitate comprehensive analysis, and support effective communication of evaluation results. Providing estimates and ranges in the proposal phase is acceptable and a final detailed project budget will be agreed upon during contracting.

VII. Proposal Submission Details

Interested evaluation partners should submit their proposals to [email protected]. Please ensure your proposal includes:

  • Methodology and Approach: A detailed description of your innovative evaluation methodology, analysis techniques, and strategies for measuring impact – with an emphasis on informal and nontraditional data collection methods.
  • Relevant Experience: An overview of experience in education evaluation, assessment of innovative school models, and any similar projects, especially those with  small school and innovative learning models.
  • Budget: A comprehensive budget, including fees, expenses, and other relevant costs. (Estimates and ranges will be accepted).
  • Alignment with campaign goals: A statement explaining how your approach aligns with the goals and values of our microschool campaign.

VIII. Evaluation Criteria

Proposals will be evaluated based on:

  • Demonstrated expertise in education evaluation and assessment of innovative school models. We want to know that you are an innovative metrics enthusiast.
  • Alignment with campaign goals and commitment to equity and accessibility. We want to know that you’re an equity and inclusion advocate.
  • Clarity and feasibility of the proposed evaluation methodology.
  • Qualifications and experience of the proposed evaluation team. We want to know you are an effective collaborator and data system architect.
  • Budget competitiveness and value.

IX. Timeline

Grant period: 2023-2025

  • Proposal submission deadline: September 29, 2023 (or until selected)
  • Grantee selection process: October/November 2023
  • Phase One grantees selected: December 2023
  • Phase Two grantees selected: Summer 2024
  • Final reporting and outcomes gathered: June 2025

X. Contact Information

For inquiries and clarifications, please contact our program manager, Jordan Luster.

We look forward to receiving your comprehensive proposal and working together to ensure the success and impact of our microschool campaign. Your expertise will play a crucial role in shaping the future of education through innovative and sustainable models.