February 13, 2012 (Washington, DC) – Today Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC) announced $750,000 in pre-launch grants to five middle and high school developers that will open new schools in Fall 2012. Each organization will be awarded $150,000, and is eligible for another $300,000 in matching grants, to support their launch of new, blended whole-school models that will help students, especially low-income students and students of color, develop skills and knowledge to be successful in postsecondary education and the workforce.
These grants represent the first of three cycles of funding in NGLC’s $12 million third investment wave. Wave III seeks to identify and support fundamentally redesigned and scalable learning models that effectively use technology to increase college readiness and completion while maintaining affordability to students and to the education system. Wave III grantees must clearly demonstrate that their instructional models incorporate technology to personalize students’ learning experiences and their business models can support sustainable expansion or adoption plans. In this first cycle, NGLC is awarding five grants at the secondary level:
- Alpha Public Schools: opening Alpha Middle School, the first of a network of charter schools serving East San Jose, CA. Alpha will incorporate an integrated curriculum combining online content with small-group instruction and self-contained classrooms (one teacher across curriculum areas, to enhance student/teacher relationships), all intended to serve as a model for other high-poverty, high-minority communities;
- KIPP Chicago: opening KIPP Create College Prep Middle School in Chicago, which will blend instructional technology with high-quality teaching methods to empower students to develop academic and character strengths necessary to create a path to higher education;
- Leadership Public Schools: opening LPS Oakland, in conjunction with the Oakland Public Schools. LPS Oakland will be a grade 9-12 charter school designed to serve as an R&D incubator for powerful, cost-effective and scalable solutions to urban secondary education;
- Touchstone Education: opening Newark Prep Charter School in New Jersey, serving grades 6-12. This model will provide students and teachers with differentiated content and real time data, empowering students to take unique, individualized learning paths focused on mastery, all in a space resembling a modern workplace, where adults and students learn to work with and around each other at all times; and
- University of Southern California: opening USC Hybrid High School in Los Angeles, a school designed to accommodate the 34% of students who normally drop out of high school to care for families. Hybrid High will be open 10 hours per day, 7 days per week, year-round and deliver curriculum online while students work at school in subject-specific spaces with subject experts and spend significant time on hands-on projects tied to college and future careers.
“We were very pleased to see the high quality of responses to this RFP,” said Ira Fuchs, NGLC Executive Director. “The laser-like focus on student success, including a major emphasis on college and career readiness, coupled with smart and sound strategic and financial planning for long-term growth and success signals the commitment that these organizations are making to students and the communities they will serve.”
NGLC will be awarding Wave III grants in two more cycles, with opportunities for both secondary and postsecondary applicants. Wave IIIa, Breakthrough Models for College Readiness, seeks whole-school solutions that aim to radically improve student performance across grades 6-12. Wave IIIb, Breakthrough Models for College Completion, will identify innovations that stimulate the development of new, next generation online and blended programs that lead to the highest quality associate or bachelor degrees.
Secondary and postsecondary winners of cycles two and three will be announced in May and September. Information on the RFPs and application process may be found at http://nextgenlearning.org. Funding for Wave III is being provided by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
“NGLC seeks to support and accelerate technology-enhanced solutions that change the way education is designed and delivered,” said Fuchs. “We know that, around the nation, technological tools are transforming students’ ability to master concepts and basic knowledge at their own pace, giving educators more time to focus on one-on-one learning. We see from these grantees, as well as the proposals coming in for cycle two, that there are visionary leaders with groundbreaking ideas capable of transforming education and dramatically improving outcomes for disadvantaged students. We’re eager to provide additional support and thinking to help them succeed.”
About Next Generation Learning Challenges
Next Generation Learning Challenges is a collaborative, multi-year initiative created to address the barriers to educational innovation and tap the potential of technology to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States, especially among low-income and minority students. NGLC is guided by the belief that providing investment capital to expand the use of proven and emerging learning technologies, collecting and sharing evidence of what works, and fostering a community of innovators and adopters will result in a robust pool of solutions and greater institutional adoption which, in turn, will dramatically improve the quality of learning experiences in the United States. NGLC is led by EDUCAUSE in partnership with the League for Innovation in the Community College, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL), and the Council of Chief State School Officers (CCSSO).