News Releases » MPUSD to Strengthen Equitable Access to Standards-Aligned Math Curriculum Through Partnership Funded by Gates Foundation

MPUSD to Strengthen Equitable Access to Standards-Aligned Math Curriculum Through Partnership Funded by Gates Foundation


December 28, 2021


Marissa Schwartz, Communications Specialist


[email protected] 


MPUSD to Strengthen Equitable Access to Standards-Aligned Math Curriculum Through Partnership Funded by Gates Foundation


Monterey, CA – Educational opportunities are expanding for students within the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District thanks to a three-year plan aimed at creating equitable access to high-quality instruction and materials at the middle school level.


This month, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed a financial commitment of $5 million to Pivot Learning, its subsidiary CORE, and partner UnboundEd. This grant is paving the way for a plan to support teachers with math instruction to meet California Common Core State Standards through job-embedded training. 

“Educators at the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District are working hard to ensure all students have equal access to rigorous learning opportunities. This grant will only further our efforts to provide resources for our teachers who serve a diverse student population,” said Superintendent PK Diffenbaugh.

The partnership will benefit MPUSD students in 7th and 8th grade and students at Guilford County Schools based in Greensboro, North Carolina.


“We are very grateful to the Gates Foundation for funding us to work with MPUSD and GCS to improve the implementation of high-quality materials and aligned instruction,” said Allison Carter, Pivot Learning Vice President of Curriculum Adoption and Implementation. “We are thrilled to partner to ensure that their middle school students receive the most rigorous learning experience and achieve great outcomes.”


The Effective Implementation Cohort (EIC) Grant aligns with recent efforts by the Gates Foundation to fund coherent instructional systems (CIS) to improve students’ math readiness from high school to postsecondary education, focusing on students who are Black, Latino, English Learner-designated, and/or experiencing poverty.

“This grant opportunity will also provide MPUSD with a math consultant for grades K-8 to coach teachers in developing culturally responsive techniques. The goal is to develop lesson modeling to prepare students for a life-long connection to mathematics,” said MPUSD Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Cresta McIntosh.

According to The Education Trust, analysis of more than 1,500 classroom assignments in 2015 showed only 38% were aligned with grade-appropriate standards. For students in high-poverty schools, rates were lower with about 31% of assignments meeting grade-appropriate standards. The same research showed only 4% of all assignments challenged students to learn at higher levels.


“We understand how important being on track in middle school math is for a student’s success. We are excited to work with an amazing array of partners, including two of the leading school districts in the country, Monterey Peninsula and Guilford County,” said Arun Ramanathan, CEO of Pivot Learning.


Through this partnership, MPUSD will launch a cohort-based initiative to provide teachers with practical evidence and measures to use during planning and instruction. The district has already identified learning partners, including several MPUSD principals, to work alongside math teachers in the communities we serve in Monterey, Seaside, and Marina.


Pivot Learning is currently working with MPUSD on classroom walkthroughs to learn how math curriculum is taught. Information is being gathered to support teachers in improving their techniques through professional development and to train district staff to help build a stronger foundation of math achievement across MPUSD over time.




About Monterey Peninsula Unified School District


The Monterey Peninsula Unified School District is home to approximately 9,600 students in grades transitional kindergarten through 12th grade. The district also houses preschool and adult education. The district is built on a solid foundation of effective instruction, positive school culture, systems of support, and collaborative leadership. The district is nestled along the Monterey Bay, and stretches from the city of Marina to the north to the city of Monterey to the south, and encompasses the communities of Del Rey Oaks, Marina, Monterey, Sand City and Seaside.


About Pivot Learning


Pivot Learning partners with educators to co-design strategies for great teaching and learning that are rooted in evidence and tailored to your learner community. The organization’s mission is to partner with educators to design and implement solutions to their greatest challenges in achieving educational justice. Established in 1995, Pivot Learning evolved from the Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC) to acquiring CORE in 2017 to expand services to schools in California and across the nation.


About The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation


The purpose of The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is to empower leaders who are dedicated to making America’s public schools exceptional by sharing resources and key learnings gained through our collective work.