February 15, 2013

Lloyd A. Fry Foundation Education Program Update

Dear Fry Foundation Education Grantees,

The Foundation has decided to take a hiatus from funding in the Teacher Professional Development area. The Foundation came to this decision after considerable deliberation on how best to support teacher professional development during a time of transition in Chicago Public Schools.

The Foundation has been closely monitoring CPS’s emerging priorities on Common Core State Standards and the CPS Framework for Effective Teaching.  School principals are being encouraged to use the longer school day to provide common planning time and teacher professional development focused on these two new priorities. And, the CPS Office of Professional Learning has new guidelines for professional development partners.

The Foundation’s grantees in this area are strong organizations with good programs that contribute to improving teaching and learning. However, we have heard from a growing number of Teacher Professional Development grantees that they are experiencing increasing difficulty sustaining school partnerships and aligning their programs with CPS priorities. These uncertainties have made it difficult for some of our grantees to implement programs as designed.

Given the new priorities in CPS and the challenges our Teacher Professional Development grantees are experiencing, the Foundation believes a hiatus will provide an opportunity for the Foundation to review its teacher professional development grantmaking strategy in order to address the current professional development needs of CPS teachers and how to help our grantees do their best work.

In order to allow grantee organizations time to plan alternative funding options, current grantees which are supported for teacher professional development programs are invited to submit a proposal for a final year of support for these activities. Proposal reviews will take into consideration current agreements with schools and indications that programs will take place as proposed, as well as the ongoing stability and effectiveness of programs. An invitation to submit a proposal is not an indication of the likelihood of funding.

We will keep you apprised of our progress and will contact you when a new Program Officer for the Education program has been selected and when new guidelines for Teacher Professional Development grantmaking are in place. If you have questions about any of the information in this letter, please do not hesitate to contact the Foundation.