Department Announces Highest-rated Applications for Investing in Innovation 2012 Competition

(November 8, 2012) The U.S. Department of Education today announced results for the third round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) competition, which will award the 20 highest-rated applications more than $140 million to expand innovative practices designed to improve student achievement. These 20 potential grantees, selected from 727 applications, must secure matching funds by Dec. 7, 2012, in order to receive federal funding.

“These potential grantees have innovative ideas to accelerate student achievement and address some of our biggest challenges in education,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “Identifying these applicants and having them foster partnerships with private donors will support promising approaches to tackle these issues, such as engaging parents as essential partners in their children’s learning and improving student academic growth in math and science.”

Of the 20 highest-rated applications, eight are in the “Validation” category and 12 are in the “Development” category. This year, the Department did not identify any potential grantees for the “Scale-up” category, instead choosing to invest in promising applicants in the other two categories.

Validation grants provide up to $15 million to fund innovations with moderate levels of evidence of their effectiveness, and grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 10 percent of their federal award. Development grants provide up to $3 million to support promising but relatively untested projects with high potential for impact on student achievement. Development grantees must secure private matching funds equivalent to at least 15 percent of their federal award.

The Development category has attracted the greatest participation in each of the three years of the i3 competition. In order to improve the application process and attract a broad range of proposals this year, the Department used a pre-application for Development grant applicants. The pre-application reduced the initial burden for applicants, provided timely feedback about the competitiveness of their applications, and helped ensure a high-quality pool of applications.

Applicants for the 2012 i3 competition submitted proposals focused on one of six absolute priorities: supporting effective teachers or principals; promoting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education; supporting the implementation of high academic content standards and high-quality assessments (Scale-up and Validation competitions only); increasing parent and family engagement (Development competition only); turning around persistently low-performing schools; and increasing student achievement and high school graduation rates in rural schools. Competitive preference also was given to applications focused on other key reform areas: improving early learning outcomes, increasing college access and success, addressing the unique needs of students with disabilities and limited English proficient students, improving productivity, or using technology.

As part of its efforts to support potential grantees as they secure private matching funds, the Department has been encouraging applicants over the past few months to reach out to potential private-sector donors. In addition, the Department has provided resources on its website to help potential i3 grantees in their efforts to secure a private sector match. If these 2012 highest-rated applicants secure matching funds, in total, the i3 program will encompass 92 grantees that are utilizing nearly $1 billion in federal funds to solve challenges in education.

2012 i3 grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2012. A list of the 2012 highest-rated applications is below. More information about the i3 program can be found on the i3 website: More information about the 2012 highest-rated applications can be found at

Validation Grants

Board of Regents of the University of Wisconsin System
Jobs for the Future, Inc.
LEED Sacramento
National Writing Project
New Leaders, Inc.
New Teacher Center
Texas A&M University

Development Grants

AVID Center
California Association for Bilingual Education
California League of Middle Schools
Central Falls School District
Citizen Schools, Inc.
Clark County School District
Columbia College Chicago
Intercultural Development Research Association
Internationals Network For Public Schools
National Board for Professional Teaching Standards
Virginia Advanced Study Strategies, Inc.

Cross-posted from the ED Blog.