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Colleges Take Note: New NGLC Grants for Secondary Ed

In the fall of 2013, Fayette County Public Schools, in Lexington, Kentucky, and the University of Kentucky will join forces to open a brand new high school in an effort to improve both college readiness and college completion. The STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) Academy will adopt a hybrid instructional pro­gram that includes self-paced, personalized online learning with real-time assessment data collected in e-portfolios. The university and the school district have received an “Innovation Waiver” from the state to allow flexibility in seat-time requirements and a competency-based approach. Some students may matriculate into the University of Kentucky after two years while others will need four years to truly be ready for college-level work. High school teachers will work closely with faculty members who will provide training across a range of instructional innovations including project-based learning, performance assessment, and online delivery.

This exciting, innovative partnership in Kentucky is just one of the recipients of EDUCAUSE’s Next Generation Learning Challenges grants for breakthrough models, which were awarded last year at both the secondary and postsecondary levels. This week, EDUCAUSE and NGLC are thrilled to announce that we will be awarding a fourth wave of grants totaling $12 million to help launch new, breakthrough secondary schools that propose bold models to deliver personalized, blended, and competency-based education. NGLC will award 20 Launch Grants of up to $450,000 for new schools planning to open in the Fall of 2013 or 2014. In addition, we will award 30 Planning Grants of $100,000 to school developers in the early stages of planning, intending to open new schools in the fall of 2014 or 2015.  For more detailed information, please see the NGLC Wave IV Request for Proposals (RFP).

NGLC is looking for new school developers such as school districts, charter management organizations, universities, non-profit and for-profit organizations, state agencies, and other individuals and institutions that propose innovative, bold models to dramatically improve student outcomes. We define a Breakthrough School as having the following characteristics:

  • Student-centered: To meet the diverse learning needs of each student every day and to empower students with skills, information, and tools they need to manage their own learning;
  • Competency-based: To enable students to move at their own optimal pace and receive credit when they can demonstrate mastery of rigorous material; and
  • Blended: to optimize face-to-face and technology-delivered instruction in group and individual work.

A key requirement of our Breakthrough School model is that after the start-up phase, schools will be able to be self-sustaining on recurring public revenue at current or lower spending levels.

In Wave IV of funding, with grant deadlines on April 22, 2013 and December 2, 2013, we are looking to encourage a diverse portfolio of innovators to apply for a grant, especially those who represent institutions of higher learning in partnership with local schools. We encourage EDUCAUSE members who are deeply involved in working with their local secondary schools to learn more and to consider applying for a grant. If institutions have already proposed and secured approval to open a new school, consider applying for a Launch Grant. For others who are earlier in the planning stages, we encourage you to apply for a Planning Grant.

While the STEAM Academy in Kentucky is still in the early stages of development, it holds great promise for addressing the critical issues of college readiness and completion and demonstrating a new model of how secondary and post-secondary institutions can work together.  Join us as we pioneer more personalized, mastery-based approaches to learning in order to dramatically improve outcomes for students.

The first grant application deadline is April 22. Apply today!

Posted by The League for Innovation in the Community College on 04/01/2013 at 9:38 AM | Categories: Press Release -