Nellie Mae Education Foundation Announces $1 Million in Grants

The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has announced grants totaling nearly $1 million to seven organizations and school districts in New England in support of efforts to advance students through high school at their own pace.

Awarded through NMEF's research and development initiative with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the grants will enable the recipients to implement proficiency-based pathways that help students progress toward their education goals based on mastery rather than a required number of hours spent in the classroom. According to NMEF, proficiency-based pathways enable students to show deeper levels of understanding and acquire the skills and knowledge necessary to indicate content mastery.

Grants ranging from $74,000 to $185,000 were awarded to Big Picture Learning; Boston Day and Evening Academy; Third Sector New England, in partnership with Diploma Plus; Expeditionary Learning and Casco Bay High School; Maine School Administrative District 15; the National Center on Education and the Economy and CREC Schools; and Vergennes Union High School.

"These grants are intended to support a dual emphasis on learning and doing," said Beth M. Miller, director of research and evaluation at NMEF. "We're excited to help advance the work being done by these organizations and at the same time learn a lot about this emerging field."