PHOENIX (October 15, 2020) – In a continuation of the work to replicate what works for students, it was announced today that A for Arizona will receive a $500,000 grant from the Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund to increase high quality education options through small learning communities. The GEER Funding was allocated in the Federal CARES Act this past spring. A for Arizona will distribute the dollars out through our Expansion and Innovation Fund to eligible partners creating effective small learning models and pursuing community partnerships targeted at high-need populations in the state.

The announcement follows a roundtable with U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, Governor Doug Ducey, local school leaders, parents, and students discussing innovative models allowing Arizona’s highest need students to access a high-quality education this school year.

“Throughout Arizona, school leaders are turning to innovative approaches to meet the needs of families and keep students engaged and learning,” said Arizona Governor Doug Ducey. “A for Arizona’s Expansion & Innovation Fund is at the forefront of identifying and supporting education models that have proven results for working families. The small learning community grants will help foster additional community partnerships to create student centric, personalized learning options for high-need students.”

The demand for small learning communities has increased recently as parents are shifting toward individual and personalized learning models and smaller learning environments. Traditional district, charter, magnet, and private schools, as well as community not-for-profits, have implemented small learning communities. These include pods, micro-schools, learning hubs, and other small school concepts.

“At A for Arizona, we are committed to providing quality learning options for every student in the state regardless of where they live,” said A for Arizona Founder and CEO Emily Anne Gullickson. “For far too long, the status quo has not served Arizona students and it is time to support new models that can better ensure students and families thrive. The need is particularly acute now and these dollars can help education innovators act quickly to meet increasing parent demand. In keeping with our mission of replicating what works for students and leverages our best educators, we are thrilled to give our communities the opportunity to create, scale, and deliver these small learning community models to their families.”

A for Arizona is partnering with Love Your School to build awareness about small learning community models and educate parents about local options.

“Love Your School is grateful to A for Arizona for the opportunity to partner on this exciting and innovative grant program for our community,” said Love Your School Executive Director Jenny Clark. “COVID-19 has made it abundantly clear that we need to rethink the way our children are educated. We look forward to coming together to help Arizona families increase the access they have to educational options that best fit their child’s unique needs.”

In 2018, with philanthropic support by The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation, Burton Family Foundation, Pharos Foundation, and other generous donors, A for Arizona launched a first-of-its kind, statewide Expansion & Innovation Fund. The Fund is designed to provide seed funding for schools and innovative partnerships, including with postsecondary institutions and district-charter strategic initiatives, to reimagine and better serve more students in their communities. To date, the Fund grantees represent over two dozen Arizona district and charter school systems.


About A for Arizona
At A for Arizona, we firmly believe that expanding excellence is our best chance to rapidly increase the number of children that have access to a high-quality school and classroom proximate to them. We imagine a day where excellence has spread, and failure has fallen away, leaving only the best learning options available for all students.