In the Learning Differences Programme, we envision a world where students with learning differences are agents of their own learning success and are supported by educators and environments that expect, embrace and respond to diverse learner profiles.
We support teacher development, student engagement and parental understanding to enable students to follow their own individual paths to lifelong learning success. We seek partners who design and create learning environments that are informed by student voices, neuroscience, personalised learning best practices and universal design concepts.
Approximately 20 per cent of children (10 million students) in United States public schools have learning profiles that are not aligned with the expectations and teaching methodologies prevalent in mainstream school systems; they learn differently. Students with learning differences include those who have dyslexia, attention issues and learning disabilities. As a result of this mismatch, students with learning differences are often perceived as not being capable of performing well in school, as unmotivated or as just not trying hard enough. These students often disengage from school, perform poorly and may not graduate. Those who graduate often choose not to pursue post-secondary educational opportunities. As adults, many are under-employed or can even end up in prison.
Individuals with learning differences can achieve to the same standards as their peers; however, they often struggle to reach their full potential because:
In the Learning Differences Programme, we envision a world where students with learning differences are agents of their own learning success and are supported by educators and environments that expect, embrace and respond to diverse learner profiles. Our hope is that students with a wide range of learning profiles achieve success within public schools, from kindergarten through to high school, and transition to and through college and other post-secondary opportunities.
We support partners who:
Through these strategies, the programme will continue its efforts to improve the lives of those with learning differences across the globe. Our hope is that students with a wide range of learning profiles achieve success within public schools, from kindergarten through to high school, and transition to and through college and other post-secondary opportunities.
The Learning Differences Programme: 2015 update to programme strategy
In our first five years, we made over 60 grants and invested more than USD 28 million in the field of learning differences. Today, the field is very different than when our programme began. There is: (1) greater focus on the “1 in 5” individuals with learning differences; (2) deeper coordination and collaboration across organisations; and (3) a greater connection between neuroscience and other research and the practices in classrooms and beyond.
We sought to refine our programme strategy in response to these changes. We undertook a nine-month process to learn about advances in relevant fields, review past grant-making, re-examine priorities and refine the programme strategy. The content on our website and in the strategic framework reflects these changes.
We support organisations in the United States and Europe as well as in a limited number of countries around the world. We aim to increase support to worldwide initiatives. Please see our grant database for a complete list of our grants and their locations.
In addition to the overall principles of Oak Foundation, our programme strategy is based on the following core beliefs: