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Ed. Dept. Doles Out New Grants for Learning ‘Mindsets’

By Alyson Klein — October 14, 2015 1 min read

Three urban school districts, plus a network of charter schools, will split nearly $2 million in one-time grants aimed at helping students develop the kind of “mindsets” and skills that will help them learn.

What exactly are “learning mindsets”? They’re often a broad synonym for a swath of “softer” skills, including social and emotional abilities, or character education. Essentially, they are about how students think about and approach learning, rather than about the content itself. (At least that’s how the department sees learning mindsets. Others define them somewhat differently.) Read a great overview of “growth mindest” in this story.

The term “learning mindset” might be relatively new, but it’s a popular idea. These new “Skills for Success” grants, which range from nearly $400,000 to nearly $585,000, attracted a ton of interest. There were more than 100 applicants, according to the Education Department.

The winners include: Chicago public schools, KIPP Houston Public Schools, Long Beach Unified School District, and Los Angeles Unified School District. Fun fact: Two of those districts—Long Beach and L.A.—are part of the CORE network, which is experimenting with holding schools accountable for helping students improve their social and emotional skills (like “grit”) through a No Child Left Behind waiver.


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