Highest-Rated Investing in Innovation (i3) Applicants: High School STEM Focus

Though many of the i3 grants have important implications for high school, this week we are discussing those that are most specifically high school focused.[1] Today we summarize the winning projects designed to increase skills, achievement rates, and participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. More details about the applications are available in the abstracts linked below.

Applicant:  Bellevue School District Project:  Re-imagining Career and College Readiness: STEM, Rigor, and Equity in a Comprehensive High School Type:  Development Amount: $4,149,813 Application Abstract:  http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/14567 Summary:  Bellevue School District is planning the development and implementation of a scalable, sustainable, 21st century skills-based program with three key elements: (1) the design and enactment of problem-based curricula in both AP and non-AP courses, using problem-based learning (PBL) as a framework to support student growth in key cognitive strategies and academic behavior; (2) the implementation of a series of specific supports for underserved students, focusing on increased mathematics literacy; and (3) professional development to help teachers implement and evaluate new problem-based curricula.

Applicant:  George Mason University Project:  Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) Type:  Validation Amount: $28,455,346 Application Abstract:  http://www.data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15151 Summary:  The Virginia Initiative for Science Teaching and Achievement (VISTA) is a partnership among 47 school districts, six universities, and the Virginia Department of Education that proposes building a comprehensive professional development model to improve K-12 science teaching and increase student performance.  Secondary science teachers will be given on-the-job and graduate-level classroom professional development, supported by online resources. Applicant:  Smithsonian Institution - National Science Resources Center (NSRC) Project:  The LASER Model: A Systemic and Sustainable Approach for Achieving High Standards in Science Education Type:  Validation Amount: $25,581,105 Application Abstract:  http://www.data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15187 Summary:  The Leadership and Assistance for Science Education Reform (LASER) model, developed by the NSRC, currently  helps district and school-based leadership teams in many states create the infrastructures that are required to support and promote high-quality, inquiry-oriented science instruction in every classroom. The NSRC plans to use its grant to further test, evaluate, and refine the LASER Model in Indiana, North Carolina, and Texas to gain a better understanding of the factors at every level of the system (from the state government to the classroom) that are critical to the success of a subsequent national scale-up.

Applicant:  Education Connection’s Center for 21st Century Skills & Partners Project:  Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Education for the 21st Century (STEM21) Type:  Development Amount: $4,473,481 Application Abstract:  http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/15555 Summary:  STEM21 builds on the success of prior NSF-funded work and the state-supported Connecticut Career Choices (CCC) Program to more fully develop, implement, and evaluate a rigorous grade 9-12 STEM Academy model with strong potential to increase high-need students’ STEM interest and achievement. Courses will be delivered in a blended learning environment, engaging students in a progression of innovative online coursework guided by teachers in classrooms and augmented by experiential learning. To foster STEM21 participation, high-need middle school students will be involved in STEM preparatory programs. STEM21 students will be eligible to earn up to 15 college credits prior to high school graduation. Robust research and evaluation will assess the model’s effectiveness in engaging high-need students in secondary and post-secondary STEM coursework, improving student achievement and growth and identify strategies for high-fidelity replication and scaling.

Applicant: California Education Round Table Intersegmental Coordinating Committee Project:  STEM Learning Opportunities Providing Equity (SLOPE) Type:  Development Amount: $4,982,527 Application Abstract:  http://data.ed.gov/grants/investing-in-innovation/applicant/14560 Summary: SLOPE builds upon the California Education Round Table’s current project-based, STEM-focused pre-algebra and algebra curriculum, college readiness curriculum, experience with English language learners (ELLs), and teacher reflective collaborative coaching model. It will deliver a three-tiered intervention for high school students: (1) summer accelerated project-based pre-algebra plus college readiness; (2) academic-year enriched algebra; and (3) after-school support. SLOPE will increase Algebra I passing rates in 8th grade for underrepresented students.

We will continue tracking the i3 grants as implementation begins.  

Note: This blog post was originally authored under the auspices of the National High School Center at the American Institutes for Research (AIR). The National High School Center’s blog, High School Matters, which ran until March 2013, provided an objective perspective on the latest research, issues, and events that affected high school improvement. The CCRS Center plans to continue relevant work originally developed under the National High School Center grant. National High School Center blog posts that pertain to CCRS Center issues are included on this website as a resource to our stakeholders.


[1] Click here to see other parts of the Highest-Rated i3 Applicants series: Introduction; Graduation & College Readiness; High School Improvement, Personalization & Curricula

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