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Ken Griffin invests $9 million in Miami schools to combat pandemic learning loss

University of Chicago Education Lab partners with Miami-Dade County Public Schools are collaborating on a project funded by Ken Griffin

The COVID-19 pandemic's impact on education continues to be felt across the country, with students from low-income backgrounds facing the most significant setbacks. To address this challenge, Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) has secured a critical partnership with a powerhouse trio: The University of Chicago Education Lab, Accelerate - The National Collaborative for Accelerated Learning, and philanthropist Kenneth C. Griffin. This collaboration is fueled by a generous $9 million gift from Griffin, founder and CEO of Citadel and founder of Griffin Catalyst.

The initiative focuses on implementing a high-dosage math tutoring program specifically designed to support Miami-Dade students in grades 6 through 8 who are recovering from pandemic-induced learning gaps.

Targeted approach for student success after the pandemic

The three-year partnership will kick off this spring, initially targeting nine M-DCPS schools. These schools will co-design, implement, and refine in-school tutoring programs to provide students with the extra support they need to excel in math. This targeted approach aims to benefit over 1,100 students in the 2023-24 academic year, with plans to expand the program to reach thousands more in the coming years.

"Every child can succeed when they receive support tailored to their unique educational needs, interests, and aspirations," stated Griffin. His investment in personalized learning empowers Miami-Dade students by providing them with the tools they need to reach their full potential and thrive in a rapidly changing world.

Research by the University of Chicago Education Lab suggests that high-dosage tutoring (HDT) holds significant promise. This initiative builds on that research and is part of the National Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI).

The PLI aims to help school districts across the country design, test, and scale HDT programs to effectively address pandemic learning loss. Through the PLI, the University of Chicago Education Lab and MDRC, a national research organization, are collaborating with states and school districts to engage tens of thousands of students in testing various HDT models.

The goal is to lower the cost and significantly increase the scalability of this powerful intervention. Early results from the PLI are promising, indicating that HDT programs are indeed effective in reversing pandemic-era learning loss in real-world settings.

M-DCPS: A national leader in educational advancement

M-DCPS has been a national leader in making strategic investments to address the pandemic's impact on education. This partnership with the University of Chicago Education Lab and Accelerate positions them to become a national leader in identifying and scaling practices that demonstrably advance student learning. The initiative has the potential to significantly impact policy and provide crucial support for the implementation of impactful educational interventions at scale.

"We have witnessed the impact the pandemic has had on our students and the toll it has taken on our school community," said Dr. Jose L. Dotres, Superintendent of Miami-Dade County Schools. "We are excited about this multi-year partnership and the opportunity it presents to refine and scale this high-dosage tutoring initiative. Our goal is to empower our students to achieve their full academic potential."

Jens Ludwig, Pritzker faculty co-director of the University of Chicago Education Lab, echoed Dr. Dotres' sentiment. "On our current trajectory, pandemic-induced learning loss will leave a long-term, life-altering scar for millions of American students," he said. He expressed his deep gratitude to Ken Griffin for his generous gift, emphasizing its potential to expand educational opportunities and improve social mobility.

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News Source: Miami Herald

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