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U.S. Department of Education: Investing in Innovation (i3) Development Competition

Deadline: April 14, 2014

The Investing in Innovation Fund, established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), provides funding to support (1) local educational agencies (LEAs) and (2) nonprofit organizations in partnership with (a) one or more LEAs or (b) a consortium of schools. The purpose of this program is to provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.

These grants will (1) allow eligible entities to expand and develop innovative practices that can serve as models of best practices, (2) allow eligible entities to work in partnership with the private sector and the philanthropic community, and (3) identify and document best practices that can be shared and taken to scale based on demonstrated success. The Department awards three types of grants under this program: Development, Validation, and Scale-Up Grants. These grants differ in terms of the level of prior evidence of effectiveness required for consideration of funding, the level of scale the funded project should reach, and, consequently, the amount of funding available to support the project.

Development grants provide funding to support the development or testing of practices that are supported by evidence of promise or a strong theory and whose efficacy should be systematically studied. Development grants will support new or substantially more effective practices for addressing widely shared challenges. Development projects are novel and significant nationally, not projects that simply implement existing practices in additional locations or support needs that are primarily local in nature. All Development grantees must evaluate the effectiveness of the project at the level of scale proposed in the application.

There are six Absolute Priorities for the FY 2014 Competition, representing a range of education topics including subparts under each priority that target specific needs. Applicants must address at least one of the following priorities:

  • Absolute Priority 1—Improving the Effectiveness of Teachers or Principals
  • Absolute Priority 2—Improving Low-Performing Schools
  • Absolute Priority 3—Improving Academic Outcomes for Students with Disabilities
  • Absolute Priority 4—Improving Academic Outcomes for English Learners (ELs)
  • Absolute Priority 5—Effective Use of Technology
  • Absolute Priority 6—Serving Rural Communities (if applicants address this priority, they must also address one of the other five priorities)

Amount: The estimated average size of Development awards is $3,000,000, with 10-20 awards expected nationwide.

Eligibility: Eligible entities include: (A) a local educational agency; or (B) a partnership between a nonprofit organization AND (i) one or more local educational agencies; or (ii) a consortium of schools. In addition, an eligible entity must:

(1) (A) have significantly closed the achievement gaps between groups of students (see section 1111(b)(2) of the ESEA (20 U.S.C. 6311(b)(2)); or (B) have demonstrated success in significantly increasing student academic achievement for all groups of students described in such section;

(2) have made significant improvement in other areas, such as graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and school leaders, as demonstrated with meaningful data; and

(3) demonstrate that it has established one or more partnerships with the private sector, which may include philanthropic organizations, and that the private sector will provide matching funds in order to help bring results to scale.

Link: https://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/applicant.html

Note: Applicants are strongly encouraged to notify the Department of the applicant’s intent to submit an application for funding by completing a web-based form by April 3, 2014. The form can be accessed at the following URL: http://go.usa.gov/BvuQ.

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