Transforming Systems for Equity

Photo: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times

For adolescents to thrive, the systems supporting them must be well-resourced, guided by equity, and rooted in relationships of trust and respect.

The key question, then, is how can we achieve the strongest system coherence, capacity, and commitment resulting in sustained improvement?

Michael Fullan, Leadership from the Middle: A System Strategy

Through our Transforming Systems for Equity work, we seek to change the odds for young people, particularly those furthest from opportunity. In creating more equitable, responsive, and people-centered systems, grantee partners are breaking the pernicious link between such factors as where students live, their race and family income, and their opportunities to learn and thrive. 

Over the years, the Foundation’s systems’ investments have included support for leaders, research and data analysis, and the building out of data systems. Rather than focusing on discreet initiatives, we have sought to advance coherence across efforts, as well as within and among systems.  Our strategy has been informed by systems thinkers, as well as by the knowledge and experiences of the broad cross-section of individuals and organizations working on systems transformation in California.

Our current areas of systems focus: 

  • Adequate and equitable funding, with resources allocated based on student needs; and 
  • The development of robust assessment and accountability systems that measure the full range of knowledge, skills, and conditions indicative of thriving students and systems. 

While our goal is transformation, we understand that a major shift like elevating and advancing adolescent learning is an adaptive process. It requires small and large moves over time by many stakeholders to keep pushing on the system from the outside and from within the system. Sustaining and deepening transformation then requires feedback and assessment — from within those systems, from outside, and across and between stakeholders at the local, regional, and federal levels. We partner with researchers and technical assistance providers who build knowledge and capacity; community organizations and policy advocates who influence and shape priorities and policies and help hold systems accountable; and networks that bridge research, policy, and practice. 

Grantee Partners

All Grantee Partners

Catalyst California

$500,000, Awarded 2022

The Stuart Foundation supported work to advance public education in California.

CORE Districts

$100,000, Awarded 2023

The Stuart Foundation supported CORE District's efforts to reimagine high schools and accountability systems aligned to equitable adolescent learning.

All Grantee Partners


All Resources


Expanding Horizons

Partnership for Children & Youth

A report that makes the case for investing in expaned learning for older youth, offers compelling evidence of their benefits, provides examples of what these programs look like in action, and charts a path forward for public policy advocates and education leaders.