Yesterday, the Department of Education announced the winners of the highly competitive Investing in Innovation, or i3, grants. There were 49 winners from a pool of 1698 applicants nationwide. New Orleans own New Schools for New Orleans (NSNO) is a winner! And they will receive over $28 million to support school turnarounds in New Orleans, Memphis and Nashville.
The selection of NSNO out of thousands of applicants is a validation of New Orleans education reforms since Katrina. The federal government looked closely at the success we are having and the improvement in student achievement, and decided to invest significant funds to expand our work in other parts of the country.
The $650 million i3 fund was established under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to expand the implementation of and investment in innovative practices demonstrated to have a positive impact in education.
Four groups won Scale Up awards worth up to $50 million, 15 groups (including NSNO) won Validation awards worth up to $30 million, and 30 won Development awards worth up to $5 million. All recipients must secure a 20% private-sector match before September 8 or they risk losing the grant. (For NSNO that means a match of $5,660,000.) For more information on all the winners, view this article from Education Week.
New Schools for New Orleans, in partnership with the Recovery School District (RSD), requested $28 million over five years to invest in proven charter school operators than can work to turn around the lowest performing 5% of schools in New Orleans annually. The idea is to solidify the reforms begun in New Orleans and spread this success to Nashville and Memphis.
NSNO will partner with the departments of education in Louisiana and Tennessee and will serve as the intermediary for the implementation of the grant. The majority of the funds will go directly to charter schools. For more information, view the NSNO Project Description online.
Educate Now! congratulates New Schools for New Orleans and the Recovery School District for their successful application. In a decentralized system of schools, it is essential to have an organization like NSNO be both a national advocate for New Orleans reforms and an organization that draws resources to schools through opportunities where no single school could access funds.
Educate Now! also congratulates the national organizations Teach for America, KIPP, Diplomas Now, The New Teacher Project, and The Achievement Network for their successful applications. Kudos to all!