LEANLAB Education gets $200K grant from Chan Zuckerberg Initiative for public schools research
A $200,000 grant to LEANLAB Education from Mark Zuckerberg’s philanthropic support will mark the Facebook founder’s first investment in the Kansas City education division.
“We are committed to growing partnerships throughout the country,” stated Katie Boody, LEANLAB CEO. “And with the support of [The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative] we aspire to write the playbook for how proven education innovations can most effectively and efficiently get into market and grow their impact.”
According to the Kansas City-based organization, LEANLAB is expected to tie up with CZI to research the complex processes that schools undertake to obtain new curriculum and technology tools. Research on procurement practices will support LEANLAB’s efforts to create a network of schools that can to collaborate on smarter purchases; and in turn, create the conditions for effective education innovations to spread quickly to schools throughout the region and positively impact more students, Boody’s team stated in a press release.
The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative earlier awarded a $1 million grant to Onward, a Washington DC-based member of Fountain City FinTech’s inaugural cohort at nbkc bank.
“We’re excited to support LEANLAB’s efforts to partner with local communities and entrepreneurs to co-create solutions that are based on evidence and address local challenges and needs,” evinced Katrina Stevens, director of Learning Science at the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative.
According to LEANLAB , A portion of the grant will support a study headed by the Tri-State Research & Evaluation Services and Kansas City Area Education Research Consortium (KCAERC) to understand deeply local district purchasing practices, and to assist schools work together to design a more efficient and collaborative procurement process.
“We want to understand the barriers that prevent evidence-based solutions from reaching more students and we’ve learned that Kansas City is the ideal place for this kind research,” stated Boody. “The sheer amount of school options, between districts and charters, creates a lot of structural obstacles for new products and technology-based solutions to scale. If we’re successful, this research could lead to significant cost-efficiencies for schools and can be used as a model throughout the country.”
Boody, a former teacher, initiated LEANLAB as way to bring innovative technologies and services to classrooms in Kansas City and do it in a way that empowered teachers, students, and parents to fully engage in the process — from identifying the problems to co-designing the solutions with researchers and education entrepreneurs.
In its initial five years, LEANLAB has emphasized on elevating community voice in the design process and providing entrepreneurs a way to validate and get feedback on their innovations in classrooms across Kansas City. The entrepreneurs in their fellowship have impacted more than 3.3 million students across the United States since 2013 and 19,786 students in Kansas City last year alone, as per to the organization’s report.
“We’re excited that funders on a national level are starting to take notice of both LEANLAB and the great work being done here in Kansas City,” stated Boody. “We’re ready to challenge ourselves to have an unprecedented next five years.”