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Broad Foundation Invests Nearly $23 Million in Nonprofits Working to Empower Teachers and Parents with Educational Technologies That Personalize Learning for Every Student
Grants awarded to leading nonprofits working to modernize teaching and learning through technology, in public schools and at home
LOS ANGELES, March 13, 2013—The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation has awarded nearly $20 million over the last year to nonprofit organizations nationwide that are working to empower teachers, parents and students with “blended learning” technologies, the foundation announced today. These grants support the development, use and adoption of technologies that enable public school teachers and parents to adapt instruction to meet the personal needs of each and every student, thereby making dramatic academic gains possible. This recent set of grants brings the foundation’s total investments to date in personalized learning to nearly $23 million.
The following organizations received Broad Foundation grants over the last year:
- The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation ($10 million) funds the Education Achievement Authority of Michigan, a new system of schools that has 15 schools in its portfolio, serving more than 10,000 students who are in the state’s persistently lowest 5 percent achieving schools. The authority has created a set of stable, financially responsible public schools that provide teachers with the conditions, supports, tools and resources to help students make significant academic gains. This is the first statewide school system in the nation to offer a student-centered blended learning system that tracks students’ current progress in real-time and allows teachers to creatively tailor lessons and interventions according to each student’s learning needs. Early 2013 assessments showed that 40 percent of students in grades 9 and 10 have already achieved one or more year’s growth in mathematics, and 35 percent of students in grades 6 through 8 have already achieved one or more year’s growth in reading. The $10 million grant supports a technology infrastructure, student tablets and notebooks, instructional support and professional development for teachers.
- Khan Academy ($4 million) is a nonprofit organization that is working to provide a free, world-class education for anyone anywhere. Through the Khan Academy, online learners can access free educational materials that enable them to master concepts at their own pace. More than 80 million people have accessed more than 240 million academy lessons in 30 subject areas. Lessons are now used in more than 20,000 classrooms around the world. Students participating in a seventh-grade Khan Academy pilot program in Los Altos, Calif. – students who typically struggled in math – rose from 23 percent to 41 percent in reaching advanced or proficient levels on state exams in 2010- 2011, whereas non-pilot classrooms saw no significant change. In the next few years, Khan Academy hopes to expand to help hundreds of millions of learners around the world. This $4 million grant will help Khan Academy analyze what lessons are most effective and use the data to help learners and the field improve; personalize learning based on optimized algorithms; develop workshops and free online resources for teachers; work directly with schools to help teachers optimize instruction by using the academy in classrooms; and enable more people to use the academy.
- New Classrooms Innovation Partners ($1.35 million) is a nonprofit organization that operates a blended learning model called Teach to One, currently in its first year of operation. New Classrooms was launched by the team that created School of One, a New York City-based middle school math initiative that demonstrated promising outcomes with participating students showing gains that exceeded state gains on the state assessment and exceeded national mean scores on the Terra Nova assessment. Teach to One uses a combination of live, online, and collaborative learning to enable students to learn in ways that are personalized in real-time to their academic levels and learning modes. The model currently operates in New York City, Chicago, and Washington, D.C. The $1.35 million Broad grant enables research and development into the use of student data to better adapt teacher-led instruction and improve computer-based approaches. The funds also support efforts to expand the model to additional cities. School districts in several cities have expressed strong interest in bringing New Classrooms into their schools.
- Foundation for Excellence in Education (ExcelinEd) ($1 million) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan foundation that supports policy and advocacy efforts to initiate, advance and adopt reforms that improve the quality of education in classrooms across the country. Through initiatives such as Digital Learning Now! and resources that include the “10 Elements of High Quality Digital Learning,” ExcelinEd shares research, data and perspectives that assist in the creation of policy and regulatory environments to support quality online and blended learning models. This $1 million grant will, among other things, enable ExcelinEd to produce new informational resources to help illustrate how policies that advance digital learning create the conditions that enable students to make dramatic academic gains while empowering teachers. These resources will also bring attention to policies that ensure all children receive a high-quality personalized education and tools that enable digital learning policies to be data-driven.
- Alliance for College-Ready Public Schools ($1 million) is a non-profit public charter school management organization, which operates middle and high schools in areas of Los Angeles in historically underachieving low-income communities. One of the first successful charter school models to integrate blended learning at the scale of seven schools, as well as one of the first to integrate blending learning at the high school level, the Alliance operates some of the highest performing high schools in Los Angeles and has a 92 percent graduation rate, exceeding the state average by 20 percent. This new $1 million grant supports technology capital costs of the “Blended Learning for Alliance School Transformation” (BLAST) classroom model. Under the model, students learn in rotating, continuously evolving groups that are formed based on student learning style and need, providing students with opportunities to learn with adaptive digital content at a computer, as well as through teacher-guided instruction, and through project-based, peer collaboration. Teachers receive information on student progress in real-time and use it to adjust instruction and support.
- Silicon Schools Fund ($1 million) is a venture philanthropy fund that provides seed funding for new blended learning schools using innovative education models and technology to personalize learning. The fund supports the launch of new schools in the San Francisco Bay Area that represent the next generation of “blended learning” and hope to serve as national proof points of what is possible with new school models. This $1 million grant will increase the fund’s ability to recruit and support talented teachers, school leaders and other entrepreneurs, who will build the next generation of blended learning schools that advance innovation and personalized learning.
- iNACOL ($630,000), the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, is a nonprofit membership association that advocates for quality online and blended learning. iNACOL’s more than 4,400 members include school districts, state education agencies, universities, advocacy groups, and a variety of content and technology providers. The association works directly with teachers and district administrators and organizations to help them differentiate between high- and low-quality online and blended learning options for students. iNACOL also provides state leaders considering how to improve access to quality digital learning with expert testimony, policy analysis, and recommendations. This grant will help iNACOL meet the growing demand from state policymakers for information on online and blended learning.
- 4.0 Schools ($500,000) is a nonprofit that works to identify, develop and support innovative and entrepreneurial leaders who are committed to develop transformative solutions to the education crisis, including the development of education technology and tools. 4.0 schools identifies promising concepts and helps entrepreneurs launch new organizations by providing them with early-stage support, including space, coaching, resources, and access to capital, mentors, fellowships, and thought development. The Broad grant will enable 4.0 Schools to develop many more promising leaders and organizations.
- Innosight Institute, Inc., ($356,000) is a non-profit think tank dedicated to advancing innovative solutions to societal problems using Harvard Business School Professor Clayton M. Christensen’s theories on innovation. The Institute’s rigorous, non-partisan research is helping transform American public education into a student-centric system where teachers are empowered by digital learning to help every child realize his or her full potential. The organization educates policymakers and legislators and has released nearly two dozen case studies, white papers and policy briefs on blending learning. This grant will enable the institute to increase staff capacity for research and communications to meet the growing demand from state leaders for advice and counsel on formulating smart blended-learning policies.
- Intrinsic Schools ($155,000) is a Chicago-based public charter school management organization using a blended learning model that will open its first school serving low- income students in the fall of 2013. The school will start with seventh grade and add a grade each year until it serves students through high school. The model enables small group instruction to target each student’s development needs, employs adaptive educational software that tailors content exercises by using data analysis, and emphasizes goal-setting so that students develop ownership over their learning experience. This grant will support Intrinsic’s efforts to launch its first school.
“Although technology should never replace teachers, when used correctly, it can empower teachers and parents to personalize education in a scalable way that is not otherwise possible,” said Luis de la Fuente, a director of The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation. “We know of no better way to amplify the effects of great teachers and engage students and parents to become active partners in their own school experience. These organizations we are supporting are among those demonstrating the most promising results.”
The grants reflect the foundation’s growing portfolio of investments seeking to provide every student, regardless of background and income level, with access to high quality, personalized learning opportunities that are rigorous, engaging, collaborative, tailored and paced according to their individual needs, and based on content mastery.
Earlier investments of nearly $3 million in this personalized learning portfolio include Rocketship, a national network of blended learning schools seeking to eliminate the achievement gap in low-income neighborhoods, New York City’s School of One blending learning model upon which New Classrooms is based, and CFY, a national nonprofit organization that runs the acclaimed online learning platform, PowerMyLearning.com, which provides students, teachers, parents and school leaders with free online access to pre-screened digital learning activities produced by third parties, as well as consumer ratings.
Founded by entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive. For more information, visit www.broadeducation.org.
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