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Learning Differences Programme

Unlocking the creativity and power of every young person

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    From podcasts to progress: How stories are reviving the science of reading

    In 2017, journalist Emily Hanford began investigating how children are taught to read. The stories that followed would spark a movement that is bringing the science of reading to schools across the US – and improving the life prospects of millions 

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    Learning Differences Programme / Programme news / Video

    A coming together of the Learning Differences field

    In 2022, we brought together over 70 partners of the Learning Differences Programme for an in person conference, including students and educators. Some joined from across the United States such as Hawai’i; others joined from South Africa, Ethiopia, E 

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    Supporting research-based reading instruction

    Reading opens up new worlds of possibility for learning and exploration. And, research has shown that proficient readers are more likely to graduate from high school, find success in college, and experience greater economic mobility and opportunity i 

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    Teach For All – reaching students around the world during the Covid-19 crisis

    In 2020, as the Covid-19 crisis swept the world and school closures became a common tactic to help curb the spread of the virus, millions of students shifted to learning at home. But not all children have the opportunities, tools, or technological ac 

Overview

In the Learning Differences Programme, we believe that together we can build a world in which schools unlock the creativity and power of every young person and equip them to shape more just and equitable communities. We partner with and invest in not-for-profit organisations that improve education for all students, particularly those with learning differences who experience further marginalisation due to racism and poverty.

You can read more about how we work in our programme strategy paper.

 
Learning Differences Programme / Strategy paper

Programme strategy paper

Oak Foundation’s Learning Differences Programme strategically partners with and invests in not-for-profit organisations that improve education for students with learning differences. Read more about our strategy by viewing or downloading the PDF document.


Our programme grant-making in 2023

We made 33 grants totalling USD 32.4 million


Publications

 
Learning Differences Programme / General guidelines

Rethinking the way learning happens

Based on interviews with students, families, teachers, and leaders, the LDP identified several attributes we believe are critical to realising our vision of building a world in which schools unlock the creativity and power of students with learning differences – along with every young person – and equip them to shape more just and equitable communities. To learn more about these attributes, click on the document below. Within the document, you can find links to a Resource Library aimed at supporting practitioners working to build those attributes and an Assessment Library to identify metrics and assessments for monitoring student development of the attributes.

 
Learning Differences Programme / General guidelines

Partner Resource Guide

The Learning Differences Programme is committed to Oak-supported resources being freely available to help diverse learners thrive. In this resource guide you can learn of some of the tools and resources that support students with learning disabilities and learning differences and their educators and families. We hope you will find them useful.

 
Learning Differences Programme / Learnings / Research

Research to Action: Improving K-3 Literacy Instruction

Oak Foundation partnered with Education First, a national education strategy and policy consulting organisation, to research efforts to improve students’ literacy in the early grades of their schooling, with special attention to supporting students with learning differences.


Discover our partner stories

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    From podcasts to progress: How stories are reviving the science of reading

    In 2017, journalist Emily Hanford began investigating how children are taught to read. The stories that followed would spark a movement that is bringing the science of reading to schools across the US…

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    The Lesley Institute: Teaching educators to create trauma-sensitive schools 

    Did you know trauma affects self-regulation, social skills, and a child’s health and sense of wellbeing? Learn about how The Lesley Institute for Trauma Sensitivity (LIFTS) has helped more than 8,00…

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    Providing student-focused support from application to graduation

    This spring, as the latest cohort of graduates accepted their degrees at East Carolina University, the US, nine received an extra cheer as graduates of the college’s STEPP programme. Click below to…

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    Learning Differences Programme / Programme news / Video

    A coming together of the Learning Differences field

    In 2022, we brought together over 70 partners of the Learning Differences Programme for an in person conference, including students and educators. Some joined from across the United States such as Haw…

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    Understanding the unique needs of students

    To call Norris Academy “peerless” is not hyperbole. Norris is the only school in its 900-acre school district, which is the smallest district in the state of Wisconsin, and it primarily serves the…

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    Learning Differences Programme / Partner story

    Supporting research-based reading instruction

    Reading opens up new worlds of possibility for learning and exploration. And, research has shown that proficient readers are more likely to graduate from high school, find success in college, and expe…

Would you like to read more stories like this? Please visit our “Stories” page.


A coming together of the Learning Differences field
After more than two years of limited travel and virtual gatherings, the Learning Differences Programme (LDP) convened its grantee partners in person for three days of learning, reflection, and connection in September 2022. The Partner Convening, delayed twice because of the Covid-19 pandemic, was our first invitation to our partners for an in-person gathering since 2017. And, what a success it was – more than 70 of our partners joined us from across the US, including Hawai’i, as well as from South Africa, Ethiopia, England, and Switzerland.

Bringing educational opportunities to North Carolina
There is a growing awareness among teachers in North Carolina that a “one-size-fits-all” approach to teaching will not prepare students for success in school and in life. This is thanks, in part, to the work of EdNC, an online, daily, independent newspaper that works to expand educational opportunities for all children in North Carolina, increase their academic attainment, and improve the performance of the state’s public schools. EdNC elevates stories, tools and resources that equip teachers, principals and other education leaders to better understand and meet the diverse and unique learning needs of their students.

Helping to ease the transition to distanced learning
2020 was a most unusual year that brought unprecedented challenges for students and families alike, due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As schools were required to shift to distance learning nearly overnight, Oak’s Learning Differences Programme supported organisations that worked to: protect the rights of students who learn differently; support teachers and school leaders; and offer guidance on how to meet students’ needs remotely, and how to re-open schools in trauma-sensitive ways.

Would you like to see more videos? Please visit our YouTube channel.


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