MVIFI R&D Grants

Advancing Teacher Leadership to Get Further Faster

MVIFI reinvests a considerable percentage of its revenues into R&D - Research & Design. Through a number of grants, MVIFI advances the future making, as well as the current thought and action leadership, of the Mount Vernon Presbyterian School faculty and staff. The MVIFI R&D grants are often highly concentrated in the summers, and they also include professional learning support throughout the academic year.

Summer 2016 MVIFI R&D Grants

Grant Type 1: MV Mindsets

Nurturing Deep Understanding in the Habits of Mind

How might we enhance our use of the MV Mindsets so that learners are even more able to advance and progress in these essential, developing habits of mind?

For Summer 2016, MVIFI is awarding grants to each of the four divisions of MVPS for R&D work to advance our use of the MV Mindsets. Grantees will work in 3-4 person teams by division, and a “team leader” from each division team will coordinate communication among the four division teams so that inquiry, innovation, and impact cross-pollinate across the whole-school effort.

This particular Mindset grant will concentrate on the “Four Cs” of our MV Mind: Communication, Collaboration, Creative Thinking, and Solution Seeking (which many educators elsewhere refer to as Critical Thinking).


  1. A version 1.0 collection of teaching tools and resources that faculty and facilitators can use to make more explicit the “component parts” of a Mindset’s development. For example, what are the essential sub-skills that one must exercise to grow as a collaborator? And how does the progression from Preschool to Lower School to Middle School to Upper School look for these sub-skills and component parts? Assembling and/or creating these tools and resources can and should draw on existing sources, such as EdLeader21, Buck Institute for Education (BIE), Lucy Calkins, 6+1 Writing Traits Rubric, etc. An analogous provocation: In a similar way that we have the MVIFI Design Thinking Playbook of tools, what would a set of tools look like for the 4Cs at Mount Vernon?
  2. A prototype for how we might better assess the MV Mindsets and include systemic feedback in our progress monitoring system (which includes components such as progress reports, conference forms and templates, comment writing, etc.).
  3. Co-facilitation of a session at Faculty Preplanning in August. More details about this will come later. The goal is to cascade the work accomplished and spread the tools and resources among the faculty.
  4. A blog post (or short series) to share on the MVIFI blog about the work and R&D advancement by the team.



The 21st Century Mount Vernon Mind

Grant Type 2: PBL Resident Experts

Providing In-House Expertise to Support Our Work

The MVPS Faculty and Staff Summer+ Learning for 2016-17 focuses on PBL. This focus will further our work as a School of inquiry, innovation, and impact, especially given our design principles and practices “Curiosity and passion drive learning” and “Learners apply knowledge to make an impact.”

To build additional capacity in several faculty leaders across the school, MVIFI is funding grants for PBL resident experts. These resident experts will go beyond the Summer+ Learning “minimum expectations” to dig deeper into research and practice behind PBL, BIE resources, especially the PBL Gold Standard, and facilitation for continued learning in how to design and implement PBL in our classrooms and learning environments.


  1. Concise, written briefings of the best resources that you identify related to PBL and specific implementation for your division.
  2. Prototype(s) of “lesson plans” for facilitation of PBL faculty session(s) at Pre-planning.
  3. Co-facilitation of a session at Faculty Preplanning in August. More details about this will come later. The goal is to cascade the work accomplished and spread the tools and resources among the faculty.
  4. Suggested sessions for ongoing PBL professional learning at faculty meetings during the year.


Summer 2015 MVIFI R&D Grants

Upper School R&D Grants 2015

  • Innovation Diploma Program Architecture
  • (i)Project Program Framework Advancement
  • Interdisciplinary Unit Designs
  • Advisory Program Development

Middle School R&D Grants 2015

  • Progress Monitoring: Badging
  • Progress Monitoring: ePortfolios
  • Progress Monitoring: Student-Led Conferences
  • Progress Monitoring: Formative Assessment

Lower School R&D Grants 2015

  • Student Progress Monitoring Redesign
  • (i)Project Mini / Interdisciplinary Unit Study
  • Lucy Caulkins: Literacy Unit Planning

Preschool R&D Grants 2015

  • Interdisciplinary Project/DT Project Starters 2.0
  • Progress Monitoring: Mindsets Infusion

Summer 2014 MVIFI R&D Grants

Global (All-School) R&D Grants 2014

For summer 2014, MVPS and MVIFI created a global (cross-divisional) R&D team to explore and determine enhancements for a collective set of school practices that all work interdependently to communicate more clearly a student’s learning and assessment map, as well as empowered engagement with the student’s own learning journey.

Instead of new initiatives, however, efforts focused on “tangible upgrades” to existing focus areas, such as parent teacher conferences, progress reporting, ePortfolio, and homework practices, just to name a few. By concentrating on the overarching topic of student-centered learning, expected practical and exciting iterations to our existing expressions of the student learning map. For example, how might we continue to develop things like:

  • Parent-Teacher-Student Conferences 2.0
  • Progress Reports 2.0
  • Homework 2.0
  • ePortfolio 2.0
  • MV Mind and Mindset Rubrics

Initial Challenge Statements:

  • How might we redesign the parent-teacher conference experience so that students take a more participatory role in those critical conversations? What are the developmental considerations to explore? What coaching and advisement would students need to set them up for success?
  • How might we go deeper with the ePortfolio as a self-reflection and communication tool for student learning and demonstrations of growth? In what ways could an ePortfolio be used in conjunction with student-parent-teacher conferences?
  • How might we design a “My Learning Dashboard” that weaves together threads of school-based learning, recreational sports, individual hobbies, homework experiences, online learning, etc., so that a student and his/her parents and teachers could see a more holistic picture of how the student is developing as a collaborator, ethical decision maker, etc.?
    • What is a dashboard?
    • How do we use a dashboard?
    • How does it inform students, teachers, parents?
    • How does it relate to the ePortfolio?

Special consideration and intentional connectivity should be created relative to our strategic vision, and sections of (i)Plan 17.

Upper School R&D Grants 2014

  • Innovation Diploma Program Architecture
  • Transdisciplinary and Capstone Project Development (TDed)

Middle School R&D Grants 2014

  • Innovator's DNA Study
  • Digital Life Program Development
  • Service and Service-Learning Opportunities

Lower School R&D Grants 2014

  • Curriculum Unit Planning and Annual Project Scope & Sequence

Preschool R&D Grants 2014

  • Project Plans - Authentic Learning
  • iExplore and Discovery Curriculum Integration