Local Tech Wire STEM News

RALEIGH, N.C. – The U.S. Department of Education selected 49 applications out of more than 1,600 last week for potential funding through the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund. Three were in N.C.

The three North Carolina applications selected came from the North Carolina Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education Center (SMT Center), the Iredell-Statesville School System, and a partnership between Communities in Schools of North Carolina and Durham Public Schools.

The i3 Fund was created through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and is designed to support local efforts to start or expand research-based innovative programs that help close the achievement gap and improve outcomes for high-need students.

The competition was open to school districts, non-profit organizations, and institutions of higher education. In order for the organizations to receive the federal funding, the winning applicants must secure a commitment for a 20-percent match by Sept. 8.

The was submitted in partnership with the Smithsonian Institution and the National Science Resources Center. The goal of the application is to help district and school-based leadership teams support and promote hands-on, inquiry-oriented science instruction.

According to SMT Center President and CEO Sam Houston, this project will further the work that the SMT Center currently is doing in North Carolina.

“This research and validation grant is an opportunity for North Carolina to play a role in reshaping the future of science education in North Carolina and the United States while providing a wonderful opportunity for over 25,000 students, their teachers, and school leaders,” added Houston.

The will work with Harvard University and other partners to investigate innovative approaches to combating summer reading loss among low-income children.

is focused on innovations that support effective teachers and principals.

The 49 winning applicants were selected in three categories. The tiers include Scale-up Grants of up to $50 million each require strong evidence of effectiveness; Validation Grants of up to $30 million require moderate evidence of effectiveness; and Development Grants of up to $5 million are based on a reasonable hypothesis of effectiveness.

Unlike the higher-profile Race to the Top competition for states, there is only one round of competition for i3. The Department of Education received 1,698 applications – the largest response yet to one of its grant programs – and used more than 300 peer reviewers to judge them on a 100-point grading scale.

All Grants will be paid out for i3 by the end of September.

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