2020 Call for Applications

Based upon the continuing success of the Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement program, the Carnegie Foundation once again seeks applications from enterprises that have achieved measurable improvement in outcomes and can also share a compelling narrative of how they used improvement principles to achieve those outcomes. Applicants should fall in one of the following categories:

  • School Districts, Local or State Education Agencies, and Charter Management Organizations that run or manage schools and use improvement methods and tools to make significant progress on a well-specified aim.
  • Improvement Networks made up of individuals, teams, or organizations working together to make significant progress on a shared improvement aim. They may be operated by a variety of different entities including intermediary organizations or some federation of schools and/or districts.
  • Professional/Technical Assistance Organizations that support the efforts of educational organizations in making progress on specified aims while also applying improvement methods and tools on their own practices to improve the support they provide to schools and/or districts.

We recognize that this work takes time and that evidence of student outcome improvements may lag behind other measures. Nonetheless, if you cannot yet point to clear student level outcome improvements, we encourage you to wait and apply when you do have that evidence.  When we say student level outcomes we are not referring only to test scores but also to outcomes such as changes in literacy levels, ELL classification, chronic absenteeism, FAFSA completion, etc.

Of particular interest are applicants that have used quality improvement approaches to attack longstanding disparities grounded in race/ethnicity or income and advance ambitious student learning goals through school and educational attainment.

Why Apply?

For each spotlighted group, this is a remarkable opportunity to:

  • Be publicized nationally as leaders in the field of education improvement
  • Inspire others to take up these continuous improvement approaches with similar rigor
  • Learn from and develop colleagueship with other Spotlight honorees
  • New for 2021: Be featured in a webinar as part of the Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement Webinar Series scheduled for January/February 2021
  • Be showcased in their own session of at the 8th annual Carnegie Foundation Summit on Improvement in Education scheduled for April 25–27, 2021, in San Diego, CA
  • Receive complimentary travel, lodging, and registration for two colleagues to attend Carnegie’s 2021 Summit

Expectations of Spotlighted Enterprises

Leadership from spotlighted enterprises will be expected to participate in the following activities:

  • A presentation in the Spotlight on Quality in Continuous Improvement Webinar Series, scheduled for January/February 2021
  • A presentation at the Summit on Improvement in Education, scheduled for April 25–27, 2021, in San Diego, CA

Important Dates

September 4, 2020 All applications are due on or before this date.
October 30, 2020 All notifications will be sent by this date.

Application Process

To apply for the 2020 Spotlight, please follow these three steps.

  1. Download your category-specific application:
  1. Complete your responses for each of the three sections of the application directly into the Word document. Be sure to include a separate response for each of the sub-questions within each section.
    • Qualifying Consideration: Evidence of Improvement
    • Work of Improvement
    • Context for Improvement
  1. Submit your application by providing the following information via this online form.
    • Applicant’s enterprise name
    • Completed application
    • Submitter contact information

Submit your application by September 4.


Review the Spotlight FAQs to learn more about the Spotlight initiative, the application process, and related events.