Investing in Innovation Fund

The U.S. Department of Education recently announced grant winners from its Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund. A total of 49 school districts, nonprofits and higher ed institutions have been selected to share $650 million in i3 grants. Learn more about this government-sponsored incentive program. Schools offering Finance Investments & Securities degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Investing in Innovation grant education

Funding Opportunities in Education

In recent years, American schools have struggled to provide acceptable learning outcomes for students. Many efforts have been made to improve the quality of education in the U.S., including projects that feature partnerships with organizations outside of the schools. The Investing in Innovation Fund was established to help support school reform efforts by public-private ventures that have been successful in raising achievement.

To be eligible for i3 grants, applicants were required to produce evidence of having closed achievement gaps or improved progress toward proficiency standards. Schools could also apply for awards if they were able to show increased graduation rates or an ability to hire/retain high-quality teachers and administrators. Applicants were required to secure a 20% matching funds commitment from the private sector.

As might be expected in these cash-strapped times, the Investing in Innovation Fund drew massive participation. Nearly 1,700 applicants made proposals for funding, with 49 districts, nonprofit organizations and higher education institutions ultimately securing grants. A total of $650 million will be distributed at three levels: 'Scale up' grants of up to $50 million, 'validation' awards of up to $30 million and 'development' grants of up to $5 million. The stronger a program's track record of success, the more funds were awarded.

Investing in Innovation education grant

A Commitment to Change

Investing in Innovation Fund grants are intended to support local reform efforts that employ innovative research-based strategies with struggling learners. While announcing the grant winners, the U.S. Secretary of Education said, 'All across America, innovative entrepreneurs are finding solutions to our most pressing educational challenges.' I3 grants 'will support creative thinkers who test good ideas and take proven approaches to scale so that more children can benefit.'

An example of an i3 grant-winning program is Reading Recovery, which works to identify and assist first-graders who are struggling with reading. Students receive daily one-on-one time with a teacher who is specially trained to teach reading. Learners participate in these sessions for 12 to 20 weeks, at which point they will have caught up with peers or demonstrated that they need more rigorous reading help. School districts that employ Reading Recovery often partner with area universities or education nonprofits to get adequate training for teachers - an effort the i3 grant will go far toward supporting.

Reading Recovery focuses on helping the lowest-performing learners. This is true of many Investing in Innovation Fund award winners. More than half of grants are intended to provide additional support to students with disabilities and limited English skills.

Rural districts are another area of concentration for the awards. Some 37 percent of grant winners provide services in schools located outside of urban centers.

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