The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has selected the Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) to receive its “Balance the Equation — A Grand Challenge for Algebra I” grant. RIDE will work closely with Carnegie Math Pathways at WestEd and other partners to pilot an “Algebra Readiness Course” to better prepare multilingual learners in Providence for Algebra I.

“We know that algebra tends to be a hurdle for students’ long-term success, and with this innovative program, we are ensuring Rhode Island’s multilingual learners can get ahead,” Angélica Infante-Green, RIDE Commissioner of Education, said.

The new course will build upon a model created with Carnegie Math Pathways, piloted through its PrepareRI initiative in 2020. The proposed algebra readiness course will use student-centered pedagogy and a real-world curriculum to strengthen students’ pre-algebra skills while promoting their social and emotional growth.

With experts from the English Learners Success Forum, Carnegie Math Pathways will help provide targeted and timely supports for multilingual learners to excel in algebra. These include curriculum modifications and expanded professional development opportunities for educators to tailor instruction for multilingual algebra students.

“We’re delighted for the opportunity to build on the impactful work we’ve done with RIDE so far to strengthen students’ math skills and knowledge. Multilingual learners have unique needs, and we look forward to working with RIDE to provide them with the tailored support and attention necessary for their success in algebra,” Karon Klipple, Executive Director of Carnegie Math Pathways, said.

The “Balance the Equation” grant supports initiatives that make algebra more accessible, relevant, and collaborative for Black, Latino, and multilingual students and those students who are experiencing poverty. RIDE was selected along with 10 other grantees out of an initial pool of 416 applications from organizations across 26 countries and is the only government agency that won a grant. Other partners involved in developing this initiative include the Providence Public School District, English Learners Success Forum, Young Voices, and Parents Leading for Educational Equity.

To learn more about the Balance the Equation grant, visit Balance the Equation Grand Challenge: Phase II.