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The KDK-Harman Foundation works to break the cycle of poverty through education in Central Texas. We believe that in the United States, the key to opportunity is education—that education is the great equalizer. We also believe that graduates are made, not born. KDK-Harman Foundation’s long-term desired impact is to close achievement gaps for low-income students in Central Texas, preparing them with 21st Century skills and access to quality careers, and therefore, breaking the cycle of poverty for them and future generations. We seek to do this by improving student achievement beginning in the primary grades and particularly in math and science, raising graduation rates, and ensuring students are prepared for post-secondary success.
The KDK-Harman Foundation believes that if we want Central Texas students to excel academically, explore careers, and develop the 21st century skills necessary to thrive in today’s global society, we need to start thinking and talking about education differently by re-imagining how, when, and where young people learn. We seek to integrate in-and-out-of-school learning by supporting efforts to reimagine and expand learning time during the traditional school day and year as well as during the summer months in order to meet students where they are.
The Foundation believes that we must give students hands-on experiences in their schools and communities, access to technology, and exposure to a broader range of possibilities in order to re-design student learning. This is a vision for learning that builds on a foundation of core academics by leveraging community resources to incorporate strategies such as hands-on learning, working in teams, and problem-solving. Before, afterschool and summer programs are a few of the places in and out of the classrooms that are already using these learning approaches to engage students and increase their chances for success.
As a result, in 2011 the Foundation honed its grantmaking strategy to focus on the following three grantmaking areas:
• Projects that focus on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) and integrating technology into teaching and learning;
• Improving the quality of and access to out-of-school time programs;
• Enabling and supporting systems-level change and collaboration to support an excellent education for all Central Texas students.
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Ultimately, as we strive to achieve a more coordinated and integrated grantmaking strategy that incorporates technology in teaching and learning and the optimization of expanded learning time—all with a priority focus on programs that specifically address STEM—we look to connect our work at the local and state levels and elevate the voices and priorities of grantee partners committed to accessible, quality education for all students. In this effort, we hope to serve as a catalyst for transformative change of the education system, its delivery and support to produce economically, self-sufficient life-long learners.