U.S. Department of Education Selects Citizen Schools To Receive “Investing in Innovation” Award
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One of 12 Winners of 2012 Development Competition, Pending Proof of Match
The Department of Education recognized Citizen Schools with the highest ratings from peer reviewers in the Investing in Innovation (i3) Competition. The grant of up to $3 million would be awarded once Citizen Schools can obtain a match of 15% of the total grant from the private sector.
Three hundred rigorously selected and trained peer reviewers gave Citizen Schools’ proposal the highest score in our category. Citizen Schools was selected from 654 applications in the Development category, endorsing the organization’s “record of improving student achievement and attainment” and “innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, [and] increasing college enrollment and completion rates.”
The winning proposal, called Closing Inspiration and Achievement Gaps in STEM with Volunteer-Led Apprenticeships, describes Citizen Schools’ plan to recruit, train, and support thousands of volunteers to lead apprenticeships that build students’ skills in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). This 3.5-year project, the cornerstone of Citizen Schools’ Catalyst initiative, will hone a promising innovation with the potential to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups who are prepared for advanced education and careers in science and technology fields.
“The critical innovation of the apprenticeship model is that it directly addresses the barriers that prevent high-need public school students from accessing the STEM experts in their communities,” the winning proposal explains. “Schools, which often lack the capacity to recruit, train, and support volunteers, can use the well-defined apprenticeship model as an umbrella for community engagement; as the Assistant Principal of Elmhurst Community Preparatory Academy in Oakland, California, has said, ‘Citizen Schools being on our campus allows us to work with folks who want to work with our kids.’”
Employees in the private sector benefit as well. “While students and schools benefit from the presence of STEM experts, apprenticeship volunteers benefit from a structured, focused opportunity to share their passion for STEM and to witness impact on students.”
According to the Department of Education, the announced winners now “have approximately four weeks to secure the required private sector match and provide the Department with adequate documentation of such by December 7, 2012.”
Education Department Announces Highest-Rated Applications for Investing in Innovation 2012 Competition
“These potential grantees have innovative ideas to accelerate student achievement and address some of our biggest challenges in education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Identifying these applicants and having them foster partnerships with private donors will support promising approaches to tackle these issues, such as engaging parents as essential partners in their children’s learning and improving student academic growth in math and science.”
Of the 20 highest-rated applications, eight are in the “Validation” category and 12 are in the “Development” category. This year, the Department did not identify any potential grantees for the “Scale-up” category, instead choosing to invest in promising applicants in the other two categories.
Validation grants provide up to $15 million to fund innovations with moderate levels of evidence of their effectiveness, and grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 10 percent of their federal award. Development grants provide up to $3 million to support promising but relatively untested projects with high potential for impact on student achievement. Development grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 15 percent of their federal award.
The Development category has attracted the greatest participation in each of the three years of the i3 competition. In order to improve the application process and attract a broad range of proposals this year, the Department used a pre-application for Development grant applicants. The pre-application reduced the initial burden for applicants, provided timely feedback about the competitiveness of their applications, and helped ensure a high-quality pool of applications.
Applicants for the 2012 i3 competition submitted proposals focused on one of six absolute priorities: supporting effective teachers or principals; promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; supporting the implementation of high academic content standards and high-quality assessments (Scale-up and Validation competitions only); increasing parent and family engagement (Development competition only); turning around persistently low-performing schools; and increasing student achievement and high school graduation rates in rural schools. Competitive preference also was given to applications focused on other key reform areas: improving early learning outcomes, increasing college access and success, addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students, improving productivity, or using technology.
As part of its efforts to support potential grantees as they secure private matching funds, the Department has been encouraging applicants over the past few months to reach out to potential private-sector donors. In addition, the Department has provided resources on its website to help potential i3 grantees in their efforts to secure a private sector match. If these 2012 highest-rated applicants secure matching funds, in total, the i3 program will encompass 92 grantees that are utilizing nearly $1 billion in federal funds to solve challenges in education.
2012 i3 grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012. A list of the 2012 highest-rated applications is below. More information about the i3 program can be found on the i3 website:http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html. More information about the 2012 highest-rated applications can be found at http://www.data.gov/education.
Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Jobs for the Future, Inc.
National Writing Project
New Leaders, Inc.
New Teacher Center
Texas A&M University
California Association for Bilingual Education
California League of Middle Schools
Central Falls School District
Citizen Schools, Inc.
Clark County School District
Columbia College Chicago
Intercultural Development Research Association
Internationals Network For Public Schools
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Inc.