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NewSchools Venture Fund: NewSchools Ignite English Language Learning Challenge

Deadline: August 29, 2016

NewSchools Ignite supports entrepreneurs working to address the most pressing gaps in K-12 education technology. To catalyze product growth in areas important to teachers and students where innovation is lagging, NewSchools runs national challenges that mobilize entrepreneurs to bring their best ideas forward. It makes grants to the most promising teams (for-profit and nonprofit) to advance their product roadmaps and test their solutions with teachers and students. It also provides grant recipients with targeted support and feedback from researchers, educators, investors, and other experts.

NewSchools Ignite’s English Language Learning Challenge will support entrepreneurs developing engaging, technology-enabled learning experiences, assessments, and other digital tools that support English Language Learners in Kindergarten through 12th grade. The Challenge is looking for companies and nonprofits developing products that:

  • Ignite students’ curiosity and facilitate deeper learning
  • Address one or more of the critical student needs identified by educators, including: making rigorous academic content accessible to students of all language levels, addressing social and emotional aspects of language learning, enabling language learning experiences that are more authentic and culturally relevant, and increasing opportunities for engagement with parents and families. See more at: http://www.newschools.org/ignite/ell-challenge/#critical
  • Are accessible and usable by a wide range of children, especially underserved student populations
  • Are designed to help students take ownership of their own learning
  • Support teachers’ delivery of tailored instruction
  • Have potential to achieve wide distribution and generate sustainable revenue
  • Align with the NewSchools’ diligence and investment criteria, including focusing on underserved students, aligning with active investment strategies, and supporting entrepreneurs in early stages of ideas with potential to dramatically improve student learning, and supporting existing ventures led by mission-driven entrepreneurs who demonstrate passion, personal integrity, and the ability to execute and get results. See detailed background about investment criteria at: http://www.newschools.org/about-us/our-model/core-investment-criteria/

Amount: Grants ranging from $50,000-$150,000 will be awarded depending on the product stage. Winners will also receive:

  • Participation in NewSchools Community of Practice Day and Summit
  • Participation in a two-day interactive retreat featuring high-value content and networking opportunities
  • Product feedback and guidance from best-in-class entrepreneurs, educators, researchers, and other experts
  • Research partnership with WestEd to provide formative product feedback and execute a small-scale study on usability or feasibility
  • Advice and best practices on user testing, accessibility, and designing for classrooms/schools
  • Digital resources including access to a virtual entrepreneur community and web-based presentations on topics including fundraising and monetization

Eligibility: The program is open to entrepreneurs (companies and nonprofits) working to develop engaging, technology-enabled learning experiences, assessments, and other digital tools that support students’ academic and social development.

Link: http://www.newschools.org/ignite/

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