Michigan EdTech Pitch Contest awards $22,000 to five education innovators

LANSING, Mich. — Edtech innovators from Spelling Safari have been chosen as the winners of the second annual Michigan EdTech Innovation Pitch Contest, sharing $22,000 in business startup grants and legal and creative startup assistance with four other finalists. The concepts developed from the final pitches will be used to improve Michigan classrooms through innovation, technology and firsthand educator experience. 

“All of our groups did a great job and this wasn’t easy. Five minutes isn’t a long time to present and this was a difficult choice for our judges,” explained Matthew Okoneski, a contest judge from Red Cedar Ventures. “Startups are hard and I want to commend our participants for their decision to focus in this space to solve some of our communities’ biggest problems.” 

The first-place prize went to Jonathan Marceau, a teacher at Monfort Elementary in the Utica Community School district, who will receive $10,000 in business startup grant funding, plus branding and logo design support, and legal consultation for Spelling Safari. Spelling Safari is a spelling curriculum reinvention and software solution providing elementary students with fun and adaptive learning. …Read More

Biden announces $930M in grants to expand internet access, digital equity

Key points:

  • A new $930 million investment can help close digital equity gaps by expanding much-needed internet access across the nation
  • Middle mile internet infrastructure, which moves large amounts of data across vast distances, is an essential part of the grants
  • See related article: 5 strategies to tackle the homework gap

The Biden-Harris Administration has announced $930 million in grants aimed at expanding middle mile high-speed internet infrastructure across 35 states and Puerto Rico. The grants are part of President Biden’s Investing in America agenda. Under the Biden-Harris Administration’s Internet for All Initiative, the Enabling Middle Mile Broadband Infrastructure Program invests in projects that build regional networks that connect to national internet networks.

Middle mile internet infrastructure carries large amounts of data over long distances, increases capacity to local networks, boosts network resiliency, lowers the cost of bringing high-speed Internet service to unconnected households, and helps connect unserved regions to the Internet backbone.…Read More

One8 Foundation Announces $5.7m In Statewide Grants For Districts To Implement Ignite! Reading’s Virtual, One-On-One Literacy Tutoring Program

BOSTON – The One8 Foundation today announced it is providing over $5.7 million in grants to 13 Massachusetts school districts to implement Ignite! Reading’s one-on-one, virtual-powered literacy tutoring for 3,000 first grade students this fall.

The One8 Foundation is expanding schools’ ability to access programs like Ignite! Reading by providing grants to schools that offset the costs of adopting new programs. The 13 districts were selected after fulfilling several criteria, including the use of high-quality literacy materials, alignment to Science of Reading principles, and strong practices related to progress monitoring of students.

Ignite! Reading provides school districts with one-to-one virtual tutoring that teaches every student the foundational skills they need to become confident, independent readers. Ignite! Reading pairs developing readers with expert tutors who deliver daily, 15-minute, Science of Reading-based instruction to target specific decoding gaps. During the last school year, students in the Ignite! Reading program recorded an average of 2.4 weeks of reading progress for every week in the program with no achievement gap for students of color, students with IEPs, multilingual learners or students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

“We strongly believe in the Science of Reading’s power to unlock learning opportunities and that first grade is the critical point for students to garner the necessary phonics skills they need to unlock independent reading to succeed in school and beyond. That’s why we’re excited to connect school districts serving thousands of students with Ignite! Reading, an innovative and effective model that is transforming literacy outcomes in Massachusetts and across the country. This work has the power to transform the academic trajectory of students who participate, rapidly accelerating their progress to becoming independent readers,” said Joanna Jacobson, a trustee and President of the One8 Foundation.

“We are grateful to the One8 Foundation for investing in evidence-based literacy programs that will supercharge learning outcomes for thousands of students throughout Massachusetts. And we’re thrilled to partner with school districts across the Commonwealth that are eager to deliver results,” said Jessica Reid Sliwerski, Co-Founder & CEO of Ignite! Reading. “With students learning to read at twice the rate that would be expected in a traditional classroom, our one-on-one, high-dosage tutoring model is not just transforming how kids are taught to read, but also how literacy instruction is being operationalized in schools. One8’s support will help accelerate this progress and ensure the students who need this intervention are reading by the end of first grade.”

Ignite! Reading first started working in Massachusetts early in 2022 through a pilot program with Worcester Public Schools. Since that time, Worcester Public Schools has expanded its work with Ignite to reach over 350 students during the 2022-23 school year. Students in Worcester receiving Ignite! tutoring have, on average, progressed at over twice the typical rate of progress for students not receiving tutoring. “This type of highly differentiated support has been totally game-changing for our students who struggle most with reading, allowing them to build their skills and confidence,” said Sam FanFan, Principal at Burncoat Prep Elementary School, one of the Worcester schools that is participating in the program this year.

The following districts were awarded grants:

  • Boston Renaissance Charter Public School
  • Chelsea Public Schools
  • Clinton Public Schools
  • Fall River Public Schools
  • Hoosac Valley Regional School District
  • Leicester Public Schools
  • Milford Public Schools
  • Pittsfield Public Schools
  • Quaboag Regional School District
  • Randolph Public Schools
  • Revere Public Schools
  • Waltham Public Schools
  • Westfield Public Schools

In addition to Massachusetts, Ignite! Reading is currently partnering with schools and districts in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Indiana, Louisiana, New York, Ohio, and Oregon, with further plans to expand nationwide.

About One8 Foundation
The One8 education team identifies, supports, and scales high-impact applied learning programs that engage students actively in their learning and prepare them for success in a rapidly changing, data-rich world. One8 is committed to building a future where high-quality applied learning opportunities, oriented around STEM and 21st century skills, that make learning relevant, stimulating, and rewarding, are a regular part of the student experience, driving impact for all students. Learn more at: www.one8.org

About Ignite! Reading
Ignite! Reading’s mission is to ensure that every student is an independent reader by the end of first grade. The organization was co-founded by CEO Jessica Reid Sliwerski and Evan Marwell, Executive Chairman of Ignite! Reading and CEO of EducationSuperHighway. Ignite! Reading pairs schools with a dedicated literacy specialist and a team of virtual reading tutors, all highly trained in the Science of Reading, who deliver 1:1 daily instruction to students focused on their specific decoding gaps. Ignite! Reading’s data-driven approach, provided by caring and skilled tutors, gives kids the know-how and confidence they need to thrive as fluent readers. The Ignite! Reading program, delivered 15 minutes per day during the school day, takes the burden of differentiated instruction off of teachers and has an impact immediately. For more information about Ignite! Reading, visit: www.ignite-reading.com…Read More

IBM grants $5 million for cybersecurity, enhanced skilling on AI

Key points:

  • With cyberattacks on the rise across schools, IBM Education Security Grants have already benefited more than 350,000 students globally
  • Now in its third year, grants are expanding to offer students and teachers access to cyber and AI skills through IBM SkillsBuild

In response to the growing threat of ransomware attacks against schools around the world, IBM will provide in-kind grants valued at $5 million to help address cybersecurity resiliency in schools.

Since its creation in 2021, the IBM Education Security Grants program has expanded globally, and this year will also include enhanced offerings from IBM SkillsBuild on topics including AI and cybersecurity. …Read More

3M and Discovery Education Name 10 Grant Recipients Supporting Nation’s Young Scientists 

St. Paul, Minn. and Charlotte, NC. – 3M (@3M) and Discovery Education (@DiscoveryEd) today announced the 10 recipients of the inaugural 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Network Alumni Grants Program. Launched in 2023, the program supports past participants and future scientists as part of the 3M Young Scientist Challenge ( #YoungScientist).  

As the nation’s premier middle school science competition, the annual 3M Young Scientist Challenge invites students in grades 5-8 to compete for a mentorship with a 3M scientist, a $25,000 grand prize, and the chance to earn the title of “America’s Top Young Scientist.” The new Alumni Network and Alumni Grants Program offers previous participants networking opportunities, resources, events, and funding for existing science projects. Former finalists must be registered members of the 3M Young Scientist Alumni Network to apply. 

The Alumni Grants Program awarded a total of $25,000 in funding to ten 3M Young Scientist Challenge alumni. The 2023 3M Young Scientist Challenge Alumni Grants Program recipients across three funding areas are as follows:  …Read More

Paycom Donated Nearly $300,000 To Local Public School Districts

OKLAHOMA CITY – Paycom Software Inc. (NYSE:PAYC), a leading provider of HR software, celebrates the end of the 2023 school year by awarding grants to four local public school foundations. These two-year commitments will provide Edmond, Millwood, Oklahoma City and Putnam City with funds needed to support ongoing and new educational programming specific to each district.

“Partnering with the public schools in the area is an important way Paycom supports our communities,” said Tiffany Gamblin, director of human resources business services at Paycom. “We know the power these programs can have on children and young adults. We’re grateful to play a part in helping tomorrow’s leaders shine.”

Each school district has a unique plan for the donations they received from Paycom.…Read More

Awardees Selected for Inaugural Vernier Science Education Inspiration Grants

BEAVERTON, Oregon — Vernier Science Education has named the 10 recipients of its inaugural Vernier Science Education Inspiration Grants. These STEM educators will each receive $1,000 in Vernier technology of their choosing, an annual license for the Vernier Graphical Analysis ® Pro app, and three hours of virtual professional development to further support their teaching as they foster students’ STEM literacy.

“There are so many educators who are passionate about bringing exciting, hands-on STEM learning opportunities to students,” said John Wheeler, CEO of Vernier Science Education. “Our Inspiration Grants were designed to provide some of these educators with data-collection technology and professional development to help them offer hands-on, socially relevant STEM learning in their classrooms.”

The 10 grantees were selected from more than 400 submissions by a panel of fellow educators and Vernier employees. The panel considered how the grantees will implement the $1,000 worth of Vernier technology in their classroom or laboratory, their educational institution’s needs, and how the funding and professional development will enhance their instruction and engage their students.…Read More

Cook Center for Human Connection Offers up to $100,000 in Matching Grants for School Calm Rooms

Salt Lake City — The Cook Center for Human Connection, a nonprofit dedicated to mental health and suicide prevention, launched today at the Mental Health Summit, co-hosted with the America Association of School Administrators, the Calm Room Grant to enable schools to create an in-school safe space for students to reset when they feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated.

The Cook Center is offering a nationwide matching grant of up to $5,000 per school for up to 20 schools to create a Calm Room in their building. A calm room is a supportive therapeutic environment for students to go where they can focus on self-calming efforts and learn to self-regulate their bodies and their emotions. An important component of an overall mental health approach, calm rooms feature quiet spaces with low-stimulation decor and fixtures, soft furniture and carpet, and other materials that reduce stress and foster positive coping techniques.

“More and more schools are developing calm rooms as part of a strategy to improve student well-being based on new psychological research,” said Cook Center CEO Anne Brown. “We are thrilled to offer the grant program to expand these efforts to more schools across the country and help them address student mental health, which has become one of the most critical issues of our time.”…Read More

Fill personnel gaps with federal grants

Hiring additional reading and math coaches, counselors, school psychologists, and other support staff is a key strategy for meeting students’ academic and social-emotional learning needs.

When school systems use federal funding for personnel expenses, they must have a plan in place for tracking and reporting the time and effort that employees spend on grant-funded activities to protect current and future student support funding.

Join eSchool News and a panel of experts, including Kecia Ray, Ed.D, and Janet Hagood of Jefferson County Schools, to learn best practices and key strategies for completing this process successfully in your own district.…Read More