Decision Education Incubator: Exploring Decision-Making through Media Literacy

Supporting students to become better decision makers.

About the Incubator

Middle school is a time of tremendous growth and transformation. Students explore their identities and values, develop increased independence and responsibility, and begin to navigate complex social issues. As these changes are happening, students are inundated with information, ads, and social media designed to influence their thinking. Media literacy teaches students the skills to understand and deeply process different types of communication and information. Decision Education develops the skills and dispositions for students to determine for themselves what they value, what is true, and what to do. Together, media literacy and Decision Education can support students to become better decision makers.

We are excited to announce the launch of our second Decision Education Incubator: Exploring Decision-Making through Media Literacy, a fully funded opportunity for schools to design and pilot new instructional models that can be scaled nationally.

The application for the Incubator is now closed.

The Opportunity for Schools

Each school accepted into the Decision Education Incubator receives:

  • An opportunity to move the needle on ensuring their students have the skills and strategies to become strong decision makers.
  • $25,000 in funding provided over 18 months to support professional learning, new instructional model design, and student implementation.
  • Individualized coaching, partnership, and support from the Alliance.
  • Collaboration with other schools in the Incubator Network.
  • Potential media coverage, including features on school projects, participating teachers, and the student experience.

The Incubator Experience

School Requirements

Beginning in January 2024, all team members:

  • Attend the two-day Network Retreat in Philadelphia, PA the weekend of March 1-3, 2024.  (Travel and accommodation costs will be covered by the Alliance.)
  • Engage in our online learning community.
  • Participate in virtual monthly coaching sessions with the Alliance.
  • Complete our online, asynchronous Introduction to Decision Education course.
  • Work as a team to design, draft, and share an instructional model that teaches Decision Education skills and concepts to develop students’ media literacy.

During the Fall of 2024 and Spring of 2025, team members:

  • Implement the instructional model with at least one grade level of students.
  • Participate in virtual monthly coaching sessions with the Alliance.
  • Collect relevant student and teacher data and artifacts to document learning, implementation strategies, and the student experience to share with the Alliance and, eventually, other schools.

Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome applicants from across the United States from district, charter, and independent middle schools. School teams should include 3-5 people and be made up of at least one school administrator, and a combination of teachers, media specialists, and/or counselors. All team members must be able to fulfill the 18-month commitment.

The Incubator has four phases over the course of 18 months:

  • Learn: January-February 2024
  • Design: March-August 2024
  • Implement: September 2024-June 2025
  • Scale: May-June 2025

Throughout each of these phases, the Alliance will support your team through monthly coaching sessions, Network meetings, and a Network Retreat. Click here to see a detailed calendar.

Each team will be matched with a coach from the Alliance, who will support your team’s learning about Decision Education and serve as a thought partner throughout the design and implementation of your instructional model.

Location depending, coaching will be provided in-person and remotely.

The goal of the Incubator is to develop instructional models for implementing Decision Education nationally at a diverse set of schools.  Your focus will be on figuring out the best way to teach Decision Education concepts, skills, and strategies at your school, for your students.  This will be an iterative process— you’ll have opportunities to hear from your students and their families, evaluate the strengths and challenges of your current programming, and think flexibly about new possibilities. We’ll kick off the design process together at our annual Incubator Network Retreat in March to ensure you have the tools and support you need to move forward as a team.

  • Student Impact: Success stories and positive impact will be identified through student interviews, focus groups, and surveys.
  • Scalable: Incubator teams develop and share Decision Education models that can be disseminated across schools and districts nationally.
  • Sustainable: Incubator teams continue or expand implementation of their Decision Education models after the Incubator is complete.

Up to $25,000 in funding will be distributed to your school in three installments, corresponding with the first three phases of the Incubator process: Learning, Design, and Implementation.

Installment 1: January 2024

The first funding installment to the school is intended to compensate team members for their time during the learning phase of the Incubator (online course participation, meetings and planning that require staff overtime, etc.)

Installment 2: April 2024

Your team will submit a budget request in March 2024 to cover staff overtime and/or coverage for the design of your instructional model.

Installment 3: October 2024

Your team will submit a budget request in September 2024 to cover staff overtime and/or coverage for instructional planning and other expenses related to implementation.

Please note: Incubator funding may not be used to reimburse other organizations or to pay for staff base salaries.

We aim to learn as much as possible about the student experience. We rely on participating schools to occasionally administer student surveys as well as document and share student artifacts related to the project.

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