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Twenty-Six Applicants Poised to Win Investing in Innovation Grants

Twenty-six nonprofit organizations, school districts, and/or universities are on track to win a slice of the nearly $130 million Investing in Innovation grant fund, which helps scale up promising ideas with a strong research base. The high-rated applicants will have to secure private matching funds by December 10 in order to claim their grants—something all previous i3 winners have been able to do, although it hasn't always been easy.

And now that Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress, this could very well be the last year of the i3 competition. The GOP hasn't been thrilled with pouring money into Obama administration competitive grant programs, although i3 probably stands a better shot than Race to the Top of surviving in the GOP Congress. More in this story

For the first time in three years, the department named a winner in the "scale-up" competition, which provides the largest grants —worth up to $20 million—to big proposals with a proven track record of success.

The winner: North Carolina New Schools, which helps train teachers, principals, and administrators, and is on track to receive $20 million in federal funding. Some background: i3 grants are divided into three separate buckets, depending on the breadth of the proposal and the size of an organization's research base. The other two categories are "development" grants, worth up to $3 million, for promising ideas with a limited research base and $12 million "validation" grants for proposals with some evidence to back them up. 

During the two years the Obama administration declined to award scale-up grants, the top scorer was Success for All. One potential reason: The school turnaround program had already gotten at least two i3 grants, worth more than $50 million combined, including a big scale-up award in the first year of the program. Plus, awarding less scale-up money gives the department the chance to fund far more programs, since the other two grant categories involve much smaller sums. But the lack of scale-up grants could discourage applicants from bothering with that category. 

So who else is on the verge of winning i3 this year?

Here's the list:

Development applicants, each poised to win about $3 million:

  • SRI International from Menlo, Park, Calif.
  • The University Corporation from Northridge, Calif.
  • University Enterprises Corporation at California State University San Bernardino.
  • WestEd in San Francisco, Calif. 
  • Northwest Colorado BOCES in Steamboat Springs, Colo.
  • American Institutes for Research in Washington.
  • Hillsborough County Public Schools in Tampa, Fla. 
  • Take Stock in Children, Inc. in Miami, Fla. 
  • Neighborhood Charter School in Atlanta
  • Erikson Institute in Chicago
  • Green River Regional Educational Cooperative in Bowling Green, Ky.—which must have some pretty good grant writers on staff.  It also won a Race to the Top for Districts grant.
  • Boston Plan for Excellence in the Public Schools Foundation in Boston
  • Education Development Center, Inc. in Waltham, Mass. 
  • College Possible in St. Paul, Minn.
  • The Curators of the University of Missouri in Columbia, Mo. 
  • Montgomery County Schools in Troy, N.C.
  • New Classrooms Innovation Partners, Inc. in New York City 
  • New Teacher Project, Inc. in the Brooklyn borough of New York
  • Urban Arts Partnership in New York City 
  • The Ohio State University in Columbus
  • Albemarle County Public Schools in Charlottesville, Va. 

Vaildiation applicants, who are on track to win grants of about $12 million:

  • WestEd in San Francisco—yes, the same organization that's also got a development grant. So kudos to its grant writers, too. 
  • Higher Achievement Program, Inc. in Washington 
  • National Institute for School Leadership in Washington
  • Literacy Design Collaborative in New York City
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