Toolkit to Support Capacity Building Initiatives for Strategic Learning Initiatives
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
From May 2020 to September 2021, Mathematica and Catalyst:Ed partnered with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and a set of nine K–12 education grantees for the Capacity Building for Strategic Learning (CBSL) pilot initiative.
The partnership defined equity-centered strategic learning as the set of efforts that enables organizations to set goals that contribute to increased educational equity for Black and Latino students and students experiencing poverty; establish hypotheses on how to reach their goals; build strong organizational culture, practices and systems that support implementing and testing those hypotheses; and use information to improve their model on an ongoing basis. Critically, the partnership believes that strong equity-centered strategic learning is demonstrated when equity is considered in not only the organization’s goal but also in its learning and decision-making approach. The initiative’s goal was to strengthen grantee capacity for equity-centered strategic learning by helping grantees scope projects in their area of need, matching grantees with providers that could help build organizational capacity, delivering cohort learning activities, and offering thought partnership.
As a facilitator of a strategic learning initiative, you can use this document to launch and sustain an intermediary-led cohort of strategic learning grantees. The toolkit includes guides on designing and facilitating meetings and templates for theories of change, meeting design, data collection, and data synthesis. All the resources in the toolkit are free to use and adaptable to meet the needs of users.