Announcement, News, Press Release

GreenLight makes math achievement a priority and invests in Blueprint Math Fellows

Sep 9, 2016

San Francisco Bay Area


September 9, 2016

Casey Johnson, Executive Director
GreenLight Fund Bay Area
101 Broadway
Suite 210
Oakland, CA 94607
[email protected]

Oakland, CA – After a year-long selection process, the GreenLight Fund Bay Area today announces a $600,000 grant to Boston-based Blueprint Math Fellows to bring their proven model to Oakland. Blueprint Math Fellows places highly trained math instructors into schools to work at the individual level to help students understand and learn the math concepts they need to succeed.  Blueprint Math Fellows was selected from dozens of organizations from across the country for their unmatched ability to address the middle school math achievement gap.

For this cycle, GreenLight focused on the low level of math proficiency in Oakland middle schools. In Oakland, student test scores in math decrease in proficiency from elementary to middle school and from middle school to high school. In 2010, only 44% of 2nd-7th graders in Oakland Public Schools tested as proficient or advanced in Math. The system is failing students of color, who fall far behind their white peers in both literacy and math scoring.  In 2014, 69% of white 7th graders in Alameda County met or exceeded standards in math while only 37% of Latino students and 27% of African American students reached the same goal.

After narrowing our focus to middle school math, we scouted the nation for programs that could fill this gap in Oakland. Along with our selection advisory council of over 30 members from across all sectors, including Brian Stanley (Oakland Public Education Fund), Phil Tucher (Oakland Unified School District), Steve Mankoff (TDF Ventures), Hector Preciado (LinkedIn), and Susan True (Rainin Foundation), we vetted organizations based on impact, scalability, and financial health.

Casey Johnson, Executive Director of GreenLight Fund Bay Area, explains “we were shocked to learn of this achievement gap and knew there must be an organization doing great work elsewhere that could offer a potential solution. That’s when we found the Blueprint Math Fellows program- an organization working in Boston, Denver, and St Louis. In the 2012-2013 school year, they saw an increase in the percent of students performing at or above grade level in mathematics by 30%.”

Blueprint Math Fellows partners with schools to offer high-quality tutorial instruction. Using daily student assessments to inform their work, fellows can purposefully target gaps in a student’s foundational knowledge and understanding of mathematics in order to ensure all students are able to achieve at and above grade level. Tutorial lessons are planned to ensure that each minute of tutorial time is utilized productively, maintaining a culture of high expectations for all students. All lessons are aligned to the Common Core State Standards and provide students with individualized opportunities to build the critical reasoning and communications skills necessary for post-secondary success.

Like a traditional venture partner, GreenLight Fund will play an active role in ensuring Blueprint Math Fellows brings impact to the students of Oakland and the broader Bay Area over the next several years. In addition to $600,000 in start up capital, GreenLight Fund will take a seat on the local advisory board, advise on business planning, and support connections to local partners and funders. In addition to GreenLight’s grant, Blueprint Math Fellows is also benefitting from Salesforce’s most recent investment in Oakland students.

Matt Spengler, Founder and Executive Director of Blueprint, states “We are thrilled this year to be asked to bring our nationally-recognized Blueprint Math Fellows program to the Oakland Unified School District. As we begin this new initiative in five middle schools, we acknowledge that a cornerstone of Blueprint’s success has always been our strong partnership with the GreenLight Fund. Like us, they are dedicated advocates of high quality educational opportunities for all students, regardless of geography or economic status, and we are immensely grateful for their continued support of our shared mission in Oakland.”

Blueprint Math Fellows is partnering with Oakland Unified School District to work in five Oakland middle schools for the 2016-2017 school year, serving 242 students. In the next five years, GreenLight will help Blueprint to continue growth in Oakland and within the Bay, serving over 1500 students, while achieving the highest fidelity to their model and creating sustainable impact for students.

About the GreenLight Fund:

The GreenLight Fund transforms the lives of children, youth and families in high-poverty urban areas by creating local infrastructure and a consistent annual process to: identify critical needs; import innovative, entrepreneurial programs that have a significant, measureable impact; and galvanize local support to help programs reach and sustain impact in the new city. Working in Boston since 2003, Philadelphia and the San Francisco Bay Area since 2012, Cincinnati since 2015 and Detroit since 2016, GreenLight aims to grow a national network of GreenLight sites that learn and work collaboratively to find and spread proven nonprofit solutions that achieve meaningful and measurable impact in our communities on the issues that matter most. GreenLight Fund Bay Area’s portfolio includes: Genesys Works, uAspire & Springboard Collaborative. Learn more

About Blueprint Math Fellows:

Blueprint Math Fellows is a program of the 501(c)3 nonprofit organization Blueprint Schools Network, based in Boston. Blueprint offers a variety of strategies to promote educational equity and improve life outcomes for students. They are currently working in Boston, Denver, St Louis and