Innovation in the Field
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Call for Peer Reviewers for FY 2012 Promise Neighborhoods Competition

The U.S. Department of Education, Office of Innovation and Improvement (OII), is seeking individuals to serve as peer reviewers for the FY 2012 Promise Neighborhoods planning and implementation grant competitions. Promise Neighborhoods is a competitive grant program that supports cradle-to-career services designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes for students in distressed urban and rural neighborhoods.

Schools, Districts, and States Transform Seat-based Requirements into Competency-based Pathways to College- and Career-Readiness

Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, in addressing the "new normal" schools are facing – tight budget times that call for doing more with less and finding ways to innovate, increase efficiency and effectiveness, and accelerate reform – released promising practices last March to help states, districts, and schools meet this extraordinary challenge. The Department, in furthering the Secretary's efforts, offered a set of additional innovative approaches and best practices, Increasing Educational Productivity, last May.

Twenty-three Investing in Innovation Applicants Named as 2011 Grantees Pending Private Match

(November 10, 2011) The U.S. Department of Education announced today 23 highest-rated Investing in Innovation (i3) applicants as potential grantees for the 2011 grant fund of the $150 million. The finalists, selected from nearly 600 applicants, must now secure matching private matching funds equivalent to at least 5% of Scale-up, 10% of Validation, or 15% of Development awards by December 9, 2011, in order to receive their grant.

The Arts Education Partnership: Helping to Realize the Potential of the Arts for Every Child

Inventor and artist. A genius of “hip.” These have been some of the words used to describe Steve Jobs – a 21st-century visionary and innovator whom the world lost on the heels of National Arts and Humanities Month. His iPods, iPads, iTunes, Macs, and apps unleashed exciting new ways of communicating and learning for millions of students, who find history lessons coming to life in the palm of their hands, discover their fingertips as virtual paintbrushes, and create musical compositions at the touch of a screen.

The Arts Education Partnership (AEP), along with many others, is asking the questions: “Who will be the next Steve Jobs?” “What will be the next breakthrough to revolutionize our lives?” That’s because at the heart of AEP’s purpose is this question: “How do we harness the potential in every child and nurture a Jobs-like spirit of ‘curiosity seeker’ in each of them?” With this purpose in mind, AEP galvanizes the power of partners across many sectors to promote the essential role the arts play in helping all students succeed in school, life, and work. Unfortunately, as much as arts are a part of a complete and well-rounded education, their place in America’s P-12 education system is still threatened by narrowed curricula, conflicting policies, and budget shortfalls.

Back-to-School Bus Tour Highlights i3 Early Childhood Efforts

The research is clear: Children who are not able to read by third grade and who are not prepared with foundational math skills are at a significant risk to fall behind and not graduate from high school. Recognizing the importance of early learning, the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund made it a competitive priority in its first round of 49 grants in 2010. As the Department’s “Education and the Economy” Back-to-School Bus Tour stopped in Wisconsin, i3 grantee the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee reported on the first-year progress of the Milwaukee Community Literacy Project, a three-prong – school, community, and family – effort to ensure that students are reading by grade three. An “innovation roundtable” was held at the Brown Street Academy Elementary School, one of seven Milwaukee elementary schools participating in the early literacy project.

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