i3 Validation Grant Update: April 2016

As reported in last month’s newsletter, the eMINTS National Center was awarded a $12 million “Investing in Innovation” (i3) grant from the U. S. Department of Education (DOE). Project teams have been energizing grant start-up activities. Here’s a report:

The DOE requires i3 program grantees to find matching private sector support. We are pleased to announce that eMINTS has secured more than the mandatory $3 million in matching funds through cash donations and in-kind contributions. Thanks for this support goes to KC Audio-Visual, Dropbox, Inc., SMART Technologies, Google Foundation and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE), and individual donors.

The recruiting stage of the project is in full swing. The management team is making calls, contacting high-need districts in Alabama, Arkansas and Utah to discuss participation in the five-year project. To date, 52 districts are in the pipeline to participate with more in communication with the recruiting and evaluation teams. The project will ultimately serve up to 56 schools with 450 teachers and over 24,000 students.

Thanks to careful planning by Brooke Higgins, eMINTS Instructional Specialist, the Springdale Arkansas school district recently hosted a visit from eMINTS’ Lorie Kaplan and Christine Terry and administrators from two Arkansas districts interested in participating in the i3 grant; with Severin Roberts, the Director of Advancement for the College of Education, Sherri Wilson, Executive Director for Advancement and Gina Sholtis, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Advancement, all at the University of Missouri Columbia. The MU contingency made the long trip south to learn about eMINTS PD first hand.

Guests attended a training session and observed math, science and language arts classrooms and talked with a PLC team. Teachers described how the eMINTS PD program made a huge difference for them, that the long hours were worth it because they always had something to take straight back to the classroom, and how their students and peers were waiting each day to see new PD from the day before. In one classroom, the teacher was interacting with students using online tools while off-site for the day.

The visitors said they were impressed with the caliber of learning in the classrooms, especially the way students were working together and deeply engaged in learning with technology. Christie Terry reports that “the visit was fabulous!”

And, looking forward, the i3 management team is planning an event, to be held in May and hosted by the MU News Bureau, to showcase the project. Details will be available soon, so stay tuned.