The U.S. Department of Education announced today 23 highest-rated Investing in Innovation (i3) applicants as potential grantees for the 2011 grant fund of the $150 million. The finalists, selected from nearly 600 applicants, must now secure matching private funds equivalent to at least 5% of Scale-up, 10% of Validation, or 15% of Development awards by December 9, 2011, in order to receive their grant.
“Investing in these vital innovations across the country has the potential to dramatically enhance learning and accelerate student performance and to do so cost-effectively” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from early childhood interventions to school turnaround models that will prepare more students for college and career.”
This year’s competition required applicants to submit proposals focused on one of 5 absolute priorities, including two new priorities aimed at promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and increasing achievement and high school graduation rates in rural schools. The remaining three priorities focused on supporting effective teachers and principals, implementing high standards and high-quality assessments, and turning around persistently low-performing schools.
Competitive preference was also given to applicants that demonstrated support for improving early learning outcomes, increasing college access and success, addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students, or improving productivity or technology.
“With just 25% of the funding available in round one, i3’s 2011 competition attracted hundreds of innovators from schools, districts and non-profits across the country, addressing many of the most persistent challenges in education,” said Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement. “In just a few short years, i3 has the potential to provide educators with a rich catalogue of practical solutions that they can confidently use to help advance student achievement at every level – not just increase proficiency.”
This year’s applicants included school districts, groups of districts, and nonprofits in partnership with districts or a consortium of schools, competing for funding in one of the program’s three grant levels.
“Scale-up” grants of up to $25 million to support innovation projects with the strongest evidence and track records of success; “Validation” grants of up to $15 million to fund innovations with proven effectiveness supported by moderate levels of evidence; and, “Development” grants of up to $3 million to support promising but relatively untested innovation projects with high potential for positive impact.
The 23 highest-rated applicants include 1 Scale-up, 5 Validation and 17 Development.
Despite reduced funding, the Department anticipates awarding nearly half as many grants in 2011 as the 49 awarded in 2010, given extensive representation of “Development” projects among the highest-rated applications. Awards will be made in mid to late December.
The President’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposes continued funding education innovation with a request for $300 million to support a third round of i3 grants.
A complete list of the 2011 highest-rated applicants follows.
Aspire Public Schools
Baltimore City Public Schools
Boston Public Schools
The College Board
Del Norte Unified School District
Fresno County Office of Education
Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative
The Metropolitan Education Commission
National Math and Science Initiative
New York City Board of Education
New York Hall of Science
New Visions For Public Schools, Inc
North Carolina New Schools Project
Oakland Unified School District
Old Dominion University Research Foundation
Ounce of Prevention Fund
Success for All Foundation
Texas Tech University
University of Minnesota
University of Alaska Statewide Office of K-12 Outreach
To learn more about i3’s potential 2011 grantees visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.