The U.S. Department of Education released today the 2012 notice inviting applications for new "Scale-up" and "Validation" grants available through the Investing in Innovation (i3) fund.
"This next round of i3 projects will build on the fund's growing portfolio of promising education programs that help close achievement gaps, personalize learning, and accelerate student achievement," said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.
School districts and nonprofit organizations in partnership with school districts or schools are eligible to compete for nearly $150 million. Grant awards will be made to those with the strongest proposals for expanding promising or effective educational practices to improve learning for high-need students.
This is the third i3 competition, and the Department expects that this year's funding opportunity will draw hundreds of applications. As Assistant Deputy Secretary for the Office of Innovation and Improvement Jim Shelton said, "The interest in i3 proves there is widespread need for new approaches to help students reach greater levels of achievement, and that a wealth of ideas exists for how to do so. We are pleased to support new efforts to increase student learning and enhance our collective knowledge of how to tackle persistent challenges in public education."
Grants of up to $25 million, termed "Scale-up" grants, will be awarded to projects with strong evidence of improving student achievement, and up to $15 million in "Validation" grants will be available to those with moderate evidence.
The i3 fund also provides smaller grants--up to $3 million--for "Development" projects that support promising practices to improve student learning that merit further exploration and research. A pre-application for this category was announced last month.
The 2012 Scale-up and Validation competitions will fund projects across five priority areas: supporting effective teachers and principals; promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; supporting the implementation of high academic content standards and high-quality assessments; turning around low-performing schools; and improving graduation rates in rural schools.
In addition, competitive preference will be given to applications that focus on up to two of these priorities: improving early learning outcomes, increasing college access and success, addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and those with limited English proficiency, improving productivity, or using technology.
Applications for the Scale-up and Validation grants are due May 29. Pre-applications for i3 Development grants are due April 9. Peer reviewers will determine the highest rated applicants in all three categories.
The Department plans to announce highest rated applicants in the fall. Each potential grantee will then be required to secure a private sector match of 15% for Development grants, 10% for Validation grants, and 5% for Scale-up grants in order to receive an i3 award. Awards will be announced no later than December 31, 2012.
To access the Scale-up application package, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-27/pdf/2012-7362.pdf.
For the Validation application package, go to: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2012-03-27/pdf/2012-7365.pdf.
To learn more about the Investing in Innovation Fund, visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.