School Design for Individualized Learning

Accepting Grant Applications

The Bush Foundation, together with 2Revolutions, is proud to present School Design for Individualized Learning, an education design experience that will inspire, equip and connect educators who want to reimagine the purpose and structure of school. 

Principles of Individualized Learning

Education is critical to making our region better for everyone. Our education system should help all kids reach their full potential. The Bush Foundation believes this requires a more individualized approach to learning, one that makes education more relevant for all students in terms of who they are (cultural relevance), how they learn (instructional relevance) and what they want to do (career relevance). Individualized learning models are defined by the following characteristics:

  • Deep, Individualized Learning — students learn in ways that match how they learn, who they are and where they aspire to go in life. Students receive academic content when and how they need it to move forward in their learning;
  • Focused on Building Student Agency — the learning model promotes and builds student agency (aka, initiative and motivation) for life-long learning and problem-solving;
  • Authentic Experiences & Assessment — learning experiences and assessments of understanding are interesting, engaging and connected to the real world;
  • Tech “Enabled” — learning is supported by technology, but “tech” by itself is not the solution; and
  • Serving All (Equity) — there is a commitment to serve all learners, especially students from traditionally underserved populations.

About School Design for Individualized Learning

Presented in partnership with 2Revolutions, a national education design lab, School Design for Individualized Learning will prepare and support educators who want to develop and implement individualized learning plans that meet the unique needs and potential of all students.

In April, teachers, administrators and staff had the opportunity to explore the power and possibility of individualized learning at orientation sessions across Minnesota.

Some decided to continue their journey and design teams, made up of partners from their school or district, to engage in an individualized learning plan design process, led by designers from 2Revolutions. Design teams developed a vision for individualized learning in their schools and then created a plan to make it a reality.

Now, teams will have the opportunity to apply for funding from the Bush Foundation to help implement their plan with support from 2Revolutions.

Process Overview: From Idea to Implementation

Orientation Phase

We hosted two-hour orientation sessions in Moorhead, Rochester and the Twin Cities on April 10, 11 and 12. At each session, learning designers from 2Revolutions introduced attendees to the principles of individualized learning and shared examples of successful efforts from around the country. Orientation sessions were open to teachers, administrators and staff who want to learn more about individualized learning.

Those who attended the orientation could then submit a very short letter of intent indicating they wanted to move on to the next step. 

Design Phase

Next, educators could choose to participate in a facilitated design process. Our blended approach consists of virtual and in-person supports, and included two 1-day Design Sessions and an immersive 2-day Design Institute, where participants built “design muscle,” honed their vision, developed an individualized student learning experience, and expanded their vision to a schoolwide plan to move toward individualized learning.

These trainings took place on May 1, May 22, and July 17-18 in St. Paul, Minn. 

Implementation Phase

Based on readiness and capacity, school design teams have the opportunity to apply for funding from the Bush Foundation and receive ongoing support to bring their designs to life during the 2017-18 school year and beyond.

Applications will be accepted starting August 1, 2017. All proposals submitted by October 1, 2017, at 5 pm, will be reviewed by November 15, 2017, and announcement of the first round of funding decisions is expected in December 2017. Applications will continue to be accepted between October 1, 2017, and May 30, 2018; decisions for applications received during this time period will be given within 90 days from the date of submission.

Existing schools, school systems or soon-to-be new schools (public, charter or independent schools) operating or intending to operate in Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota or the 23 Native nations that share the same geography are eligible to apply. Preference will be given to teams that participated in the school design process offered by 2Revolutions from April to July 2017. Applicants will be selected based on the funding criteria on 2Revolutions' website.

Apply at

2Revolutions will administer the application and selection process. If you have questions about the School Design for Individualized Learning program, please email Elizabeth Stephens at

About the Bush Foundation's education initiative

The guiding goal for our education initiative is to make our region the national leader in providing individualized education that meets the abilities, backgrounds and aspirations of all students. To that end, we make a handful of big investments each year to help make education more relevant to all students in terms of how they learn, who they are and what they want to do.

School Design for Individualized Learning is designed to help achieve this goal by giving educators a unique opportunity to develop and implement individualized learning plans in their schools. 

Visit the education initiative webpage to learn more about our work.