Cambridge Schools Awarded $295K to Uncover Root Causes of Educational Inequity

Educational Equity Grant
Posted on 02/07/2018
Cambridge Public Schools (CPS) has launched a plan to go deep into the heart of educational inequity, thanks to a $295,000 grant from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation (NMEF).

Funding will support the “Building Equity Bridges” project, a comprehensive and collaborative 13-month process aimed at identifying and understanding historical and systemic structures that create stubborn gaps in college and career readiness between student groups. It is hoped that through honest and authentic dialogue, the program will lay the groundwork for cross-sector interventions that build equity bridges to a better future for students.

This student-centered, stakeholder-driven process emerges naturally out of ongoing district improvement efforts led by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Kenneth Salim. Beginning with his entry plan in 2016, and continuing with a planning process launched in 2017, hundreds of stakeholders have contributed to identifying priorities within a shared vision for CPS: Rigorous, joyful, and culturally responsive learning + personalized support builds postsecondary success and engaged community members.

Explained Salim, “Our planning process was shaped by voices from every corner of the CPS community. Within our plan, we identified Equity and Access as our first Strategic Objective and our most pressing priority.”

He continued, “Cambridge is not unique in grappling with issues of race, class, and disability as we seek to provide students with an outstanding education. This grant will provide the time and space we need to facilitate brave conversations that will cut to the heart of these issues, uncover root causes of our challenges, and find a better way forward for all of our students.”

As primary partners in Building Equity Bridges, the Cambridge Education Association will work closely with CPS throughout the process. The CEA will be essential to creating safe spaces for educators to honesty reflect on equity barriers at the school and district levels and in their own classrooms. Other supporting partners include the Cambridge Family Policy Council, Agenda for Children Out of School Time Partnership, Department of Human Services College Success Initiative, Cambridge Community Foundation, and the Harvard School of Education Redesign Lab.

Cambridge was one of six public school districts to be awarded a Root Causes grant by NMEF, along with Waltham, MA, Manchester, NH, Danbury CT, Central Falls RI, and Manchester CT.

Media Contact:
CPS Communication Manager Rosalie Rippey
Office: 617.349.6516 | Cell: 857.331.4957 | Email: