In Spotlights, we recognize the incredible organizations and people that we work with and highlight the groundbreaking approaches that are working to transform students’ learning experiences.  These partners lift innovative ideas that develop young people and their skills, showcase practices that mobilize the energy of educators, and describe vital efforts to strengthen the connections between schools, communities, and education policymakers.

Los Angeles Education Partnership 

The Los Angeles Education Partnership (LAEP) works to improve student outcomes by bringing together teachers and other school staff in professional learning communities to learn and problem solve together, all with an eye toward better teaching for students. LAEP provides technical assistance to 17 Los Angeles Unified Partner Schools on 11 campuses that serve nearly 15,000 low-income students. LAEP’s model is based on creating sustainable success and driving change by helping teachers, students, and parents build and sustain better schools. The model consists of 1) high quality student-centered interdisciplinary instruction, 2) teacher leadership and collaboration, 3) college and career readiness through rigorous curriculum and community engagement, 4) parents as partners, 5) youth development and leadership, and 6) educational equity that provides students with the resources that they need. We invest in this work because it brings collaborative, social capital solutions to pressing challenges and can serve as a model for efforts elsewhere.

California for Justice 

Californians for Justice (CFJ) is a grassroots organization that mobilizes hundreds of students, parents, and community members to transform the state’s public education system. After surveying 2,000 students and interviewing 65 school leaders across the state, CFJ found that students wanted their work to focus on supportive relationships between school staff and students as they are essential to learning. CFJ is embarking on a statewide, student-led advocacy campaign advancing practices and policies that provide school staff with the capacity and conditions to connect with students. Educators have long understood that positive school environments promote student achievement, yet too often efforts to create a positive environment are fragmented and poorly implemented. We invest in this work because it bridges the gap between state-level policy change and local implementation efforts that promote student engagement and positive school climate.


University of California Davis, School of Education – CA Superintendents Collaborative Network 

The California Superintendents Collaborative Network is a professional learning community for school district superintendents that builds leadership capacity to shape structures, processes, and systems for continuous improvement focused on effective teaching and learning. Participants in this network are superintendents who are alumni of the Superintendents’ Executive Leadership Forum (SELF).  Supported by the Foundation since its start in 2008, SELF now has over 165 alumni, about 14% of the state’s superintendent positions. We invest in this work because we value school district leaders who are committed to deepening their relationships, and to learning and supporting each other as they face complex challenges, engage on specific problems of practice and apply a systems lens to leadership development for improved student learning.


John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities

The John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University (Gardner Center) is conducting research to help advise the State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) on accountability measures to improve outcomes for vulnerable youth in alternative schools. This project aims to help state and district policymakers better understand and support students in alternative schools, including the population of foster youth, long-term English Learners, highly mobile youth, and other vulnerable youth who are disproportionately assigned to these schools.  We invest in this work because with this data, districts can support better alternative schools and ancillary accountability systems to serve all students and ensure that they are prepared for a career, college and life, regardless of the type of school they attend.