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25 New i3 Winners to Split $135 Million

By Michele McNeil — November 08, 2013 3 min read
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Twenty-five districts and their nonprofit partners are slated to share $135 million in the latest round of the federal Investing in Innovation competition, the U.S. Department of Education announced today.

This marks the fourth round of one of the Obama administration’s signature initiatives—a competition designed to find and scale up some of the most innovative ideas for improving education. The largest grants go to the promising ideas that have the strongest evidence base, with smaller awards set aside for more experimental ideas. (There is a private-match requirement; more on that later.)

Individual awards will range from $3 million to $12 million, according to early estimates. The department hasn’t provided individual award breakdowns yet.

Only two traditional school districts were winners: the Cabarrus County school system in North Carolina and the Carroll County schools in Georgia. Both won the smallest development awards.

One charter school operator, University Public Schools in Arizona, was a development winner, as was the Maricopa County Education Service Agency, also in Arizona.

“In this era of rapid change, we must make sure that our students are keeping pace with the rigor, relevance, and changing demands of the global job market,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement announcing the awards.

Just as in previous rounds, the new recipients--representing 13 states and the District of Columbia--will have to secure matching funds of up to 15 percent from the private sector by Dec. 11 before they can get their money. Technically, the Education Department calls them “highest-rated applicants” rather than winners until they’ve secured their matches.

This year’s contest marks the second time the Education Department has decided not to award any grants in the “scale up” category, which carried the largest potential funding, $20 million, and required the most evidence of past success.

From a pool of 618 applicants, outside judges helped the department select seven “validation” winners, which could get up to $12 million each, and 18 “development winners, which stand to get up to $3 million.

“Each year, we are able to grow the portfolio of solutions and the body of evidence that supports these practices,” Nadya Chinoy Dabby, the acting assistant deputy secretary for innovation and improvement, said in a statement.

With the latest development-grant winners, there are 77 such winners in the department’s portfolio that are implementing new, promising practices, federal officials said.

The regents of the University of California won both a development and a larger validation award.

Here’s the full list of winners:

Validation grants

Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Inc. (NY)

Jacksonville State University (AL)

Teachers College, Columbia University (NY)

The Regents of the University of California (CA)

Spurwink Services, Inc. (ME)

SRI International (CA)

Waterford Institute (UT)


Cabarrus County Schools (NC)

Carroll County Schools (GA)

CASA de Maryland, Inc. (MD)

Center for Applied Linguistics (DC)

Challenger Center for Space Education (DC)

ConnectED: The California Center for College and Career (CA)

Maricopa County Education Service Agency (AZ)

National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform (IL)

NYC Leadership Academy, Inc. (NY)

Pennsylvania State University (PA)

Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles (CA)

Seneca Family of Agencies (CA)

Sonoma State University (CA)

The Children’s Aid Society (NY)

The Providence Plan (RI)

United Way of Greater Atlanta (GA)

University of Massachusetts Boston (MA)

University Public Schools, Inc. (AZ)

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