Reimagining Integration: Diverse and Equitable Schools (RIDES) has received a $1.6 million grant from the Walton Family Foundation to support future leaders who are preparing themselves to take leadership roles in starting and sustaining racially and economically diverse and equitable schools and systems, as well as organizations that support them. Foundation resources will also be used to conduct new research on school integration and develop coaching for educators and administrators.
“We have to ask, what story do we want the American classroom to tell? We want to see a buzzing classroom of students from a wonderfully diverse set of backgrounds, where the next generation of Americans are all challenged academically, feel genuinely included, appreciate their own and other cultures, and understand systemic racism," said Lecturer Lee Teitel, faculty director of RIDES. “The Walton Family Foundation’s dedication to efforts for transformational change around school integration dovetails with our efforts at RIDES. We are thrilled to have them as a partner to be recognized for our efforts in this arena.”
First conceived in 2015, RIDES was awarded $120 thousand by Dean James Ryan, to establish its groundwork. The project provides research and practice-based resources and tools to help diverse schools, districts, and charter management organizations become better integrated; seeks to understand and shape how people think and talk about integration and integrated schools; and promotes environments that enable, incentivize, and sustain integrated schools.
Now, two years later, the Walton Family Foundation is helping to fund the project’s expansion. Over the next three years RIDES will:
- Share high-quality educational practices with a variety of stakeholders in order to help schools and systems integrate;
- Help stakeholders customize and apply the RIDES tools, diagnostics, practices, and resources;
- Prepare at least 10 fellows to take on leadership roles in starting and/or sustaining integration work in schools, systems, and partnering organizations; and
- Measure the progress of schools and districts in order to identify influential strategies and share best practices.
RIDES has three main pillars – practice, perception, and policy – that guide its efforts to change how Americans live together by improving the way our children learn together. Through research, coaching, and field testing, RIDES’ aim is to equip individuals with the tools and knowledge they need to shape the quality of the schools around them.
“This grant extends our practice arm, so that RIDES can help develop and train leaders who can implement strategies and support the transformation of schools from the inside-out,” said Teitel. “In the fellowship, we are looking for a diverse cohort of applicants who are enthusiastic about bringing their own professional and personal experiences in leading these important efforts that address race, equity, diversity, and inclusion in schools.”
The RIDES fellowship is a two-year commitment. In the first year, fellows will focus on cultivating skills for starting, leading, and improving schools and systems related to their coursework in their master’s or doctoral programs. They will also engage in coaching and networking opportunities, and conduct research and other RIDES-related projects focused on diversity, equity, and integration, supported by a $20,000 award for each fellow. In their second year, fellows will take their skills into the field and work in a school, school system, or organization, implementing and overseeing high priority initiatives.
For more information, visit rides.gse.harvard.edu.