LEAP Launch 

Sites and partners met in Baltimore, Maryland April 7-8, 2016 to share their LEAP vision, ideas, and areas of focus. Members of the LEAP communities, staff from the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Corporation for National and Community Service/Social Innovation Fund, School & Main Institute, Inc., and national LEAP partner organizations dug into critical LEAP goals and key aspects of implementation to build the LEAP Learning Community, and network. 

LEAP is made possible in part through a $4.5 million grant the Foundation received in August 2015 from the Social Innovation Fund, a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, the federal agency for volunteering and service programs. The Social Innovation Fund fosters public and private collaborations to evaluate and grow innovative community-based solutions that work.


Early Education & Care Leadership Task Force in Fall River

School & Main Institute will work with the Fall River Public Schools Director of Early Education and Parent Information (and her early child provider partners) to develop a comprehensive Strategic Plan designed to expand high-quality early education opportunities for children ages 2.9 through kindergarten in the city of Fall River by June 2016. This effort supported by the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care will develop specific steps and benchmarks for implementing recommendations that address the critical partnership between public school and early education and care programs, identifying the infrastructure needed to meet the elements of accountability and recognized high quality standards, and outlines the required investment strategy to fund, leverage and sustain exceptional services over the long term.

Click here for more information on the initiative. 

Click here for a news piece on Fall River and New Bedford.



LEAP Sites Announced!

As Project Manager for LEAP, School & Main Institute is happy to announce the selected sites: Alaska, Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska and New York. The LEAP grant program will help more teens and young adults complete high school and postsecondary education and build paths to careers. 

School & Main Institute will work closely with the selected sites, the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund and the Annie E. Casey Foundation to adapt two evidence-based models to meet the needs of youth. One model, Jobs for the Future’s Back on Track, prepares young people for postsecondary career pathways and supports them during their first year in college. The other, Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), helps youth earn a high school credential, develop professional skills and gain employment or enroll in postsecondary education. Through LEAP, the Foundation hopes to identify effective strategies for helping youth and young adults overcome challenges and succeed in school and at work.

For more on the selected sites, please click here.


Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential

In October of 2015, School & Main Institute, along with a group of national partners including, The Annie E Casey foundation, Jobs for the Future, Jobs for America’s Graduates and MDRC began working on a five-year Learn and Earn to Achieve Potential (LEAP) initiative. LEAP will focus on young people (14- to 25-year-olds) who are transitioning from the juvenile justice and welfare systems (or who are homeless) into education and employment. SMI will manage a partnership of the 5 national organizations (including SMI) and around the country who will serve 3000-5000 youth over the course of 3-5 years. Sites selected will utilize one or both evidence-based models provided by Jobs for America’s Graduates and Jobs for the Future. The JAG model helps targeted youth develop professional skills, obtain full-time employment, enter postsecondary education, and earn a credential. While JFF’s “Back on Track” model provides academic enrichment and other supports to help youth complete high school and build a career path.
SMI will be involved in managing all aspects of the initiative.
This national initiative is supported by a $7.5 million grant awarded to the Annie E. Casey Foundation by the Corporation for National and Community Service’s Social Innovation Fund. 



Fall River Parent Academy Kicks Off

On Saturday, November 21, the Fall River Parent Academy was launched with the help of fifty partner organizations, members of School & Main Institute’s staff, and a colorful clown marching band. About 150 members of the community attended the event, which was spearheaded by Barbara Allard, Director of Early Childhood Education and Parent Information in the Fall River Public Schools. Also in attendance were Meg Mayo-Brown, Superintendent of the Fall River Schools, along with members of the school committee and all of the district’s principals. The event offered samples of just a few of the many courses (Homework Help, Daddy Boot Camp, Healthy Families/Healthy Meals, Financial Fitness, Family Zumba, Tips for Shaping up your Family Budget)  which will be offered free of charge through the Parent Academy in early 2016. School & Main Institute has provided assistance in all aspects of planning and coordinating the SMI community centered approach to Parent Academy work. 
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In a Nutshell

Founded in 1985 at Brandeis University’s Heller School of Social Policy and Management, School & Main Institute (SMI) has grown into a nationally recognized, independent non-profit training and partnership development organization that has worked with organizations and state agencies in more than 35 states.


School & Main Institute staff and faculty have years of expertise as organizational leaders, program developers, trainers, and facilitators in the fields of education, workforce preparation, youth and community development.

Read more about what we are currently working on >

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