Thank you for your interest in A for Arizona’s Expansion & Innovation Fund.
The purpose of this application is to help us gain a better understanding of your team, vision, and proposal to create or expand a Small Learning Community option for your students.
The Small Learning Community application will help us understand how you plan to support your educators and students as you reimagine teaching-and-learning in order to better serve all kids no matter the classroom set-up in the 2020-2021 school year. We are looking for timely and high-impact solutions where funding will not only help you succeed but also help us and the field learn how to best serve K-12 students - especially low-income students - in these uncertain times and beyond. We look forward to reviewing your submission.
While not intended to be limiting, by way of example, please note the type of small learning community options we have seen parents seek and public schools design in recent months:
: Small groups of 8-12 students learning together in a variety of spaces including available space at public schools, other public or government buildings, businesses, and community nonprofit partner buildings. Priority given to essential workers and low-income families to ensure kids have a safe place to learn.
: A broad term to describe small neighborhood schools that usually enroll fewer than 15 children and there are mixed-age level groupings. Students are frequently empowered to personalize their own educations, with lots of hands-on and activity-based learning designed to help the learner develop their own personal understanding and held accountable for their progress. Schools may partner with service providers with their own dedicated curriculum and staff.
: Safe space for kids to convene together for social engagement, access to technology, and learning guides who help them navigate their day and learning but may not provide their own curriculum. For example, students from several different schools or even districts may come together at a local business, government, or community nonprofit partners building to use the internet and laptops but are utilizing their home district or charters remote learning. Hubs ensure workers have a safe space for kids who would otherwise be at home alone but often layer additional supports and programming such as mentoring, tutoring and enrichment.
: An option for existing large campuses to serve small groups of students and/or to customize their usual curriculum based on the needs and interests of a subset group of students. For example, in a 2,000 person campus, this may be a niche new model within a wing of the campus, separate building, or new site for 100 or less wstudents that gives them access to a new way of teaching and learning that best meets their needs.
While small group learning certainly provides an in-person option for families who want it, the ideal applicant is also leveraging this model to deliver high-quality individualized learning for every student - especially low-income students.
If your proposal is more comprehensive or impacts a larger number of students and families, we recommend you check out the General Expansion & Innovation Fund Application instead.
Please tune in for our Innovation Fund: Small Learning Communities webinar session on Monday, November 9 at 1:00 PM Arizona time. We will outline expectations and what we hope is addressed in the application but the webinar will also serve as a forum for you to ask questions.