Department Announces Highest-Rated Applications for Investing in Innovation 2013 Competition

(Nov. 8, 2013) The U.S. Department of Education today announced results for the fourth round of the Investing in Innovation (i3) competition, which will award the 25 highest-rated applications (HRAs) more than $135 million to expand innovative practices designed to improve student achievement. These 25 potential grantees, selected from 618 applications and representing 13 states and the District of Columbia, must secure matching funds by Dec. 11, 2013, in order to receive federal funding.

“In this era of rapid change, we must make sure that our students are keeping pace with the rigor, relevance, and changing demands of the 21st-century job market,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “I am encouraged by the innovative ideas to accelerate student achievement demonstrated in these applications.”

Of the 25 HRAs, 18 are in the “Development” category and seven are in the “Validation” category (see list of applicants below). This year, the Department did not identify any potential grantees for the “Scale-up” category, instead choosing to invest in promising projects in the other two categories. The Development category attracted the greatest participation similar to the past three years of the competition. With the 18 Development HRAs from this competition, there will potentially be a total of 77 Development i3 grantees nationwide implementing new, promising practices to improve outcomes for students.

As in the past, the HRAs this year address a variety of issues, including programs that develop and implement initiatives for training parents and families in the skills and strategies that support their children’s educational growth, and redesigning Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) course content and instructional practices to engage students and increase their academic achievement.

This year’s i3 competition used newly revised evidence standards and definitions that were established in the i3 Notice of Final Priorities, published in March 2013. Validation applicants had to meet the moderate evidence of effectiveness standard, and Development applicants had to choose to apply under evidence of promise or strong theory in order to be eligible for a grant. The Department is encouraged by the number of high-quality applications that were able to apply and meet these more rigorous evidence standards, and excited about the new evidence all i3-funded projects are expected to produce.

“The fourth round of the i3 competition continues to demonstrate that there are organizations across the country that are eager to implement a wide range of innovative and effective practices to improve educational outcomes for students,” said Acting Assistant Deputy Secretary for Innovation and Improvement Nadya Chinoy Dabby. “Each year, we are able to grow the portfolio of solutions and the body of evidence that supports these practices.”

The i3 competition requires all grantees to secure private-sector matching funds. This year, each HRA must submit evidence of 50 percent of the required private-sector match prior to the awarding of an i3 grant. The i3 grantees must then provide evidence of the remaining 50 percent of the required private-sector match no later than six months after the project start date. 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 2013 highest-rated applicants secure matching funds, in total the i3 program will encompass 117 grantees that are utilizing more than $1 billion in federal funds to address some of the most important challenges in education.

The 2013 i3 grant awards will be announced no later than Dec. 31, 2013. A list of the 2013 highest-rated applicants is below. More information about the i3 program can be found on the i3 website: More information about the 2013 highest-rated applications can be found at

Highest-Rated 2013 Applicants for Development and Validation Grants

Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound, Inc. (NY)
Jacksonville State University (AL)
Teachers College, Columbia University (NY)
The Regents of the University of California (CA)
Spurwink Services, Inc. (ME)
SRI International (CA)
Waterford Institute (UT)

Cabarrus County Schools (NC)
Carroll County Schools (GA)
CASA de Maryland, Inc. (MD)
Center for Applied Linguistics (DC)
Challenger Center for Space Education (DC)
ConnectED: The California Center for College and Career (CA)
Maricopa County Education Service Agency (AZ)
National Forum to Accelerate Middle-Grades Reform (IL)
NYC Leadership Academy, Inc. (NY)
Pennsylvania State University (PA)
Regents of the University of California, Los Angeles (CA)
Seneca Family of Agencies (CA)
Sonoma State University (CA)
The Children’s Aid Society (NY)
The Providence Plan (RI)
United Way of Greater Atlanta (GA)
University of Massachusetts Boston (MA)
University Public Schools, Inc. (AZ)

Cross-posted from the Blog