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Brain Fitness Summit in Utah

utah brain fitness summitMore than 60 people from Utah's state legislature, school districts, and education organizations congregated in Salt Lake City recently to learn about literacy, neuroscience in education, and brain fitness at the March Brain Fitness Summit presented by Scientific Learning.

Dr. Martha Burns gave a presentation about brain plasticity and how boosting the brain's processing efficiency accelerates quality learning.  Guest speakers gave insightful and often emotional presentations about their experiences and how they funded and implemented Fast ForWord® and Reading Assistant™ software.

If you are a Superintendent, District/School Administrator, or Legislator and are interested in attending a Brain Fitness Summit, or if you wish to be placed on the mailing list to receive further information, email our Events team at brainevents@scilearn.com.

 

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Categories: Brain Fitness, Education Funding, Grants, and Stimulus, Education Trends, Fast ForWord, Reading & Learning, Reading Assistant

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What is the Investing in Innovation (i3) Fund?

what is the investing in innovation (i3) fund?

What is the Investing in Innovation Fund (i3)?

The Investing in Innovation Fund, known as i3, is a grant program developed by the US Department of Education as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act with $650,000,000 in funding. The purpose of the i3 program is to:

“provide competitive grants to applicants with a record of improving student achievement and attainment in order to expand the implementation of, and investment in, innovative practices that are demonstrated to have an impact on improving student achievement or student growth, closing achievement gaps, decreasing dropout rates, increasing high school graduation rates, or increasing college enrollment and completion rates.”(i3 Application)

 

Refer to the i3 RFP (Request For Proposal), also called the Application Packet, for more details on the i3 program and the application process.

The RFP, Frequently Asked Questions, a summary of the program and additional information can be found at: www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation

 

What is the timeline?

i3 has several key dates to note:

  • April 1, 2010 – Intent to Apply – not required but strongly encouraged
  • May 11, 2010 – Application due by 4:30 pm Eastern Time
  • Late Spring/Early Summer – Proposals reviewed
  • Early-Mid Summer – Matching funds must be secured by those projects to be awarded funding
  • September 2010 – All funds awarded
  • 2010 – 2015 – Funded projects may last 3 to 5 years

You are strongly encouraged to submit an intent to apply if you believe you meet the eligibility requirements and plan to submit a proposal for i3. This information will allow the Department of Education to create a more effective and efficient review process, and will allow for more adequate time for securing matching funds on the part of those projects identified for funding.


Who is eligible to receive i3 funds?

To apply for i3 funds, you must be one of the following:

  • local educational agency (LEA)
  • nonprofit organization in partnership with one or more LEAs 
  • nonprofit organization in partnership with a consortium of schools

LEAs include public schools and public school districts. Private schools, colleges and universities are not LEAs, but may be included in i3 projects as partners.

Non-profit organizations can include colleges and universities, afterschool program providers, and others. (See the i3 glossary and RFP.)

 

Additional Eligibility Requirements

To be eligible for i3 funding, projects must:

  • Maintain a Student Focus – “implement practices, strategies, or programs for high-need students”
  • Demonstrate Historical Success – provide evidence demonstrating your past success
    • For an LEA applying on its own, the LEA must have “(a) closed achievement gaps or significantly increased achievement for all groups of students, and (b) achieved significant improvement in other areas,” such as “graduation rates or increased recruitment and placement of high-quality teachers and principals, as demonstrated with meaningful data.”
    • For partnerships involving a non-profit organization, the nonprofit must have “a record of significantly improving student achievement, attainment, or retention through their record of work with an LEA or schools,” whether or not the LEA and school partners have a history of success.
    • Note: Without this history of success you will not be eligible to apply.
  • Address an Absolute Priority – address one of the four absolute priorities listed on page 5 of the Investing in Innovation (i3) Overview Booklet (PDF)
  • Partner with the Private Sector and Meet the Matching Requirement – secure matching funds from the private sector equal to 20% of the funds sought prior to program start date, or request a reduced matching level (to be granted in rare situations)
  • Provide Evidence – meet the evidence requirement of the type of grant for which you are applying; see types of grants below and evidence requirements in the Investing in Innovation (i3) Overview Booklet (PDF)

Checklists for eligibility and definitions of the above can be found on the i3 website.

 

What will be funded under i3?

i3 is looking to fund projects based on several priorities within three types of projects, as described in detail in the RFP. At least one absolute priority must be met by each proposed project. It is anticipated that most projects involving Scientific Learning products and services will be Validation-type projects.

Types of Projects (Proposals must identify one of the following types):

  • Scale Up - project designed to “scale up” practices, strategies, or programs for which there is strong evidence that the project will have a statistically significant effect in meeting the i3 goals. Scale-up projects are limited to $50 million/project and should scale up to a state, regional or national level.
  • Validation - project that shows promise, but for which there is currently only moderate evidence that it will have a statistically significant effect in meeting i3 goals. Validation projects may reach $30 million/project and should scale up to a state or regional level.
  • Development - project with high-potential and relatively untested practices, strategies, or programs whose efficacy should be systematically studied. Development projects range up to $5 million and should be able to further develop and scale up.

Points = the basis for evaluating each proposal. Think of a rubric in a classroom – points are given for each criteria met. Those with the highest points will receive funding.

Absolute Priorities (At least one required):

  • Innovations that Support Effective Teachers and Principals
  • Innovations that Improve the Use of Data
  • Innovations that Complement the Implementation of High Standards and High Quality Assessments
  • Innovations that Turn Around Persistently Low-performing Schools

Competitive Preference Priorities (Extra points awarded for each):

  • Improve Early Learning Outcomes (particularly K-3)
  • Support College Access and Success
  • Address the Unique Needs of Students with Disabilities and Limited English Proficient Students
  • Serve Schools in Rural LEAs

Examples of possible i3 projects from Scientific Learning:

  • Scale-up – Successful use of Fast ForWord® in a group of districts or state is “scaled-up” by implementing its use nationally
  • Validation – Promising success with Reading Assistant™ in a district is expanded to a larger region or state-wide to demonstrate broader effectiveness
  • Development – A school collecting data on use of Fast ForWord expands its use district-wide and implements a stronger program to document effectiveness

Learn more:

Find out how Scientific Learning products fit with the i3 Fund.

See our Investing in Innovation (i3) Overview Booklet (PDF) for detailed information on eligibility requirements, preparing your i3 application, and getting help with your i3 application.

 

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Categories: Education Funding, Grants, and Stimulus, Fast ForWord, Reading Assistant

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Do Teachers Give Students Math Anxiety?

fear of mathAs educators, we are accustomed to seeing our students get anxious on occasion—it’s a normal, healthy reaction to being asked to perform. It gives students that jolt of adrenaline that drives them forward. Some take a breath and work through the feelings, and some need a bit more coaching. Some experience tears, but with a bit of one-on-one help and caring, they can experience great success and learn how to overcome their perceived limits.

What about when that anxiety becomes a debilitating impediment to success, such as with true math anxiety? One recent investigation by Beilock, Gunderson, Ramirez, and Levine of the University of Chicago looked into how math anxiety in teachers can affect math achievement in students. (The full study report is available online, but for an easier read, a very nice, accessible write up appeared in the January 2010 Los Angeles Times.)

Their study went something like this: At the beginning of the second-grade school year, teachers were assessed as to their levels of math anxiety, and students were assessed for math achievement. At this time, the data showed no relationship between the teacher’s math anxiety and student math achievement.

By year’s end, study data showed that the more anxious the teachers were about math, the more likely the girls were to have lower scores than the boys upon assessment. Moreover, the girls were more likely to believe the gender-based stereotype that "boys are good at math, and girls are good at reading." The girls who held this belief "had significantly lower math scores than girls who did not and lower than boys overall."

As educators, we all understand implicitly that our opinions and emotions can deeply affect our students. With this study, we now have an even deeper understanding of the functions, as well as a perspective on the social and academic implications of teacher math anxiety.

If you know students or teachers (or anyone, for that matter) who struggles with math anxiety, there are some great resources online to help, such as Math.com (see study tips at http://www.math.com/students/advice/anxiety.html) and Math-and-ReadingHelp.com (see "Ways to Overcome Math Anxiety.")

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Categories: Reading & Learning

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Race to the Top Grant and the i3 Innovation Funding Webinar

Join us for a complimentary Live Webinar and learn about Race to the Top Grant and the i3 Innovation  Funding.   You will learn about grants available to your school district, as well as an introduction to grant writing.   

Fast ForWord and Reading Assistant educational software programs offer innovative and evidence-based programs and strategies—both criteria for successful i3 and RTTT grants.  We will also discuss what kind of support you can expect from Scientific Learning Corporation as you look and apply for these funding sources.  Information about the research behind the products and their proven abilities to help struggling readers and other struggling students can be found by clicking here.  

PRESENTER: Joseph Noble Ph.D
Manager, Grants and Proposals
Date: Tuesday, March 30
Time: 1:00pm PST / 4:00pm EST   

Updated 10/7/10: This event occurred in the past and a recording is not available.

 

 

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Categories: Education Funding, Grants, and Stimulus

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Success in School


success in schoolWhat advice can neuroscience offer a parent who would like to prepare their child to be successful in school, career and life?  Probably the most important advice is that success is a relative term that each parent must decide how to define.

Not all children can be valedictorians of their high school class, so if a parent decides that this is the academic goal for their child, most will be sorely disappointed. But there is no limit to the percentage of students who can graduate. Nor is there a limit to the number who can leave high school with a career goal in mind. Certainly, there is no limit to the number of high school seniors who can be accepted to a college or university of their choice. And finally, and perhaps the most important when the goal is perpetuating the species, the individual must be able to work with and sustain positive relationships with others.

In the United States today, high school degrees are no longer sufficient to guarantee financial stability and security, so pursuit of a career that necessitates some form of higher education is a worthwhile goal for parents. For a child to reach that goal there are specific requirements. First and foremost, an individual must be able to read fluently and adequately comprehend what they read. Unfortunately, however, learning to read is not easy for all children. There are prerequisite cognitive capacities that a child needs to be a fluent reader. Second, an individual must be able to handle numbers and understand basic numerical concepts so that he or she can earn and manage money, understand debt and monetary risk and balance a budget. Third, an individual must be able to get along with others, maintain intimate relationships and learn to manage other people to attain group goals.

Upon high school graduation, most parents would like their brain child to have a map for this future: career goals, security goals and relationship goals. Career goals will come through academic success and a work ethic, security will be achieved through ability to earn and manage money, and relationship goals will be attained through social skill attainment.

The valuable information that parents can glean from brain science is that each of these goals is attainable for all of your children. The remarkable thing is that the human brain is actually designed to achieve all of these. In most cases, a parent need only to follow his or her natural parental instincts and provide an environment rich in language and conducive to experimentation to achieve these goals.

In essence, raising a “brain child” simply requires talking to and playing with your infant. The magic here is that the human brain evolved under the circumstances that language and play actually build brain structures that support academic success and social success. Because the brain evolved over thousands of years, parents do not need, nor is it helpful, to expose very young children to television, or cell phones, or iPods or Baby Einstein. The brain is designed to develop very well when it is exposed to very simple and time-tested information like nursery rhymes, nursery songs, play routines, cuddling and play.

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Categories: Brain Fitness

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