New round of grants target education innovation

Grant recipients will be required to secure private-sector matching funds of 5 percent, 10 percent, or 15 percent, respectively.

For the second round, ED has included two new priorities focusing on high school graduation rates in rural schools and promoting science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education. The three priorities that remain from last year’s competition include supporting effective teachers and principals, implementing high standards and high-quality assessments, and turning around persistently low-performing schools. All applicants must address one of these five key areas of reform.

“Smart [education] innovation and entrepreneurship has the ability to dramatically accelerate student achievement and attainment,” said Education Secretary Arne Duncan. “The next round of i3 grants will add to the growing portfolio of new and emerging successful practices in education and invest in ideas that help supply teachers and students with the tools they need to be successful.”

Competitive preference will be given to grantees that demonstrate 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.

“Extraordinary work is happening throughout the country with the potential to not only transform our education system but invest in our economy and ensure equal access to a high-quality education for thousands more students,” said Jim Shelton, assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement. “The Investing in Innovation fund will continue to support promising and proven projects that elevate student performance, close achievement gaps, increase graduation rates, and attract, support and retain high-quality teachers and principals.”

To help schools apply for i3 grants, ED will offer pre-application workshops in the coming weeks, along with several webinars on key i3 topics.

Projects that received i3 grants last year included an initiative that uses data to promote summer reading programs for low-income children in North Carolina; training to help school and district leadership teams implement and support an inquiry-based approach to science instruction; and the School of One, a New York City charter school that provides personalized learning paths in mathematics for every student.

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