Highest-Rated Investing in Innovation (i3) Applicants: High School Improvement, Personalization, and Curricula Focus

Though many of the i3 grants have important implications for high school, this week we are discussing those that are most specifically high school focused.[1] Today we discuss the remainder of high school grants which cover a diverse range of high school topics, including high school improvement, personalization, and curricula. More details about the applications are available in the abstracts linked below.

With recent national attention focused on School Improvement Grants (SIG), it’s no surprise that we would see multiple i3 grants designed to validate or develop school improvement models:

Applicant: Johns Hopkins University – Center for Social Organization of Schools
Project: Validating the Talent Development-Diplomas Now Secondary School Turnaround Model
Type: Validation
Amount: $30,000,000
Application Abstract: http://www.data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15275
Summary: The Johns Hopkins University Center for Social Organization of Schools applied for a validation grant to evaluate their Talent Development Secondary Model.  With funds from this grant, the Center will enlist MDRC to conduct a randomized control trial on the conditions under which the Center’s Diplomas Now program (TD-DN) is effective in schools across the country.  TD-DN seeks to enable successful turnaround, transformation or restart models in low-performing middle and high schools.

Applicant: Jefferson County Board of Education DBA Jefferson County Public Schools
Project: Making Time for What Matters
Type: Development
Amount: $4,999,458
Application Abstract: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15912
Summary: The Jefferson County Board of Education in Louisville, Kentucky intends to use its funds to develop a specific model for high school improvement. Jefferson County will implement a trimester model, entitled “Making Time for What Matters” at six persistently low-performing high schools.  This trimester schedule will allow for a 30 percent increase in learning time.  As a result students will have time to catch up with peers and enroll in more advanced courses, schools will develop small group time designed to promote college access, and teachers will have more time to collaborate across disciplines.

Two additional i3 applications tackled personalization, applying for development grants targeted at keeping high school students invested in school and meeting individual non-academic needs:

Applicant: Search Institute
Project: The Building Assets-Reducing Risks Program: Replication and Expansion of an Effective Strategy to Turn Around Low Achieving Schools
Type: Development
Amount: $3,608,880
Application Abstract: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15010
Summary: The Search Institute will be using its development grant to expand and replicate its Building Assets-Reducing Risks (BARR) program in four low-performing schools across the country.  BARR uses targeted intervention to reduce non-academic barriers to learning and increase thriving behavior.  BARR traditionally focuses interventions on students in their first year of high school, but will be using i3 funds to expand, offering services for 10th-12th grade students as well.

Applicant: Plymouth Public Schools
Project: New England Network for Personalization and Performance (NETWORK)
Type: Development
Amount: $4,992,945
Application Abstract: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/14603
Summary: Plymouth Public Schools in Plymouth, Massachusetts will be working with high schools across the New England area to establish the New England Network for Personalization and Performance (NETWORK).  NETWORK facilitates collaboration between schools in an effort to develop personalized, inquiry-based tasks for students and assessments rubrics to measure mastery through performance.  These innovative tasks will be designed to keep students engaged in schools and to promote college- and career-readiness.

Finally, two applications focused on curriculum in an effort to provide innovative designs to help close the achievement gap:

Applicant: Corona-Norco Unified School District – Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Services
Project: Write to Learn!
Type: Development
Amount: $5,000,000
Application Abstract: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/14702
Summary: The Corona-Norco Unified School District in Riverside County, California is targeting district-wide writing skills with a program called “Write to Learn.”  Grant funds will be used to invest in online writing programs, audio and visual technology, and professional development for teachers to ensure proper implementation. The district will work to develop online lesson plans to support particular areas of high school writing deficits.

Applicant: St. Vrain Valley School District – Priority Schools
Project: St. Vrain Valley School District i3 Project
Type: Development
Amount: $4,999,711
Application Abstract: http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15010
Summary: The St. Vrain Valley School District in Longmont, Colorado will use funds to address the needs of Hispanic and English Language Learner (ELL) students in Skyline High School and its feeder schools.  The development grant will be used to provide a literacy and mathematics foundation to students in elementary and middle school respectively.  This early emphasis will provide the basis for the development of a STEM certification track in high school that will allow ELL students an alternative to the traditional high school route.

We will continue tracking the i3 grants as implementation begins.

 

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.


[1] Click here to see other parts of the Highest-Rated i3 Applicants series: Introduction; STEM; Graduation & College Readiness

 

 

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