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U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Announces Highest-Rated Applications for Investing in Innovation (i3) 2014 Competition

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan announced today the 26 highest-rated applications, including one from Ohio, for the U.S. Department of Education's $129 million Investing in Innovation (i3) 2014 competition aimed at developing innovative approaches to improving student achievement and replicating effective strategies across the country.

These 26 potential i3 grantees selected from 434 applications and representing 14 states and the District of Columbia, must secure matching funds by Dec. 10, 2014, in order to receive federal funding. All highest-rated applications in previous years have secured matching funds and become grantees.  To date, the Department’s signature tiered-evidence program has funded 117 unique i3 projects that seek to provide innovative solutions to pressing education challenges. 

“These programs are changing the landscape of education in this country by supporting innovative ideas and scaling up what works,” said Secretary Duncan. “This round of i3 grantees is poised to have real impact in areas of critical need, including STEM education and rural communities, on projects ranging from enhancing students’ non-cognitive skills to serving English learners to personalized learning opportunities that will prepare more students for college, career and life.”

Secretary Duncan made the announcement today at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he visited with high school students in the North Carolina New Schools program, a 2011 i3 grantee that was also selected this year as a highest-rated application for an additional grant this year. This new grant will expand North Carolina New Schools’ successful approach to four new states and help students from mostly rural schools prepare for college. This is the first i3 Scale-up grant the Department has awarded since 2011.

The i3 competition requires all grantees to secure private-sector matching funds. This year, consistent with last year, each highest-rated application must secure 50 percent of the required private-sector match in order to be awarded an i3 grant. The i3 grantees must then provide the remaining 50 percent of the required private-sector match in the first six months of their projects.

Of the 26 highest-rated applications, 21 are in the “Development” category (maximum of $3 million each), four are in the “Validation” category (maximum of $12 million each) and one is in the “Scale-up” category (maximum of $20 million each; full list of highest-rated applications is below). The Development category, which supports promising new ideas for further development, attracted the greatest participation this year. Including the 21 Development highest-rated applications, the i3 portfolio will include a total of 98 Development i3 grantees nationwide implementing innovative practices to improve outcomes for students. The Validation category funds the expanded implementation of established approaches with moderate evidence of effectiveness. Scale-up applicants must demonstrate strong evidence of effectiveness in order to grow their models.

These 2014 i3 highest-rated applications aim to serve nearly 750,000 students through their projects. Such projects include creating a support system for novice middle school principals that accelerates their path to excellence, leading to significant learning gains for students. Another initiative creates a literacy program based in science that extends beyond the classroom through home kits and state science center sponsored events, and in another project, a team of scientists will build a virtual, three-dimensional game to help students understand the principles of physics.
  
The 2014 i3 grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2014. More information about the i3 program can be found on the i3 website: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html. More information about the 2014 highest-rated applications can be found at http://www.data.gov/education.

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