The pace and quality of innovation in K-12 education may increase and improve, thanks to a significant new initiative funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and led by Chicago’s LEAP Innovations.
Around the nation, organizations aim to transform teaching and learning to better prepare students for the 21st century, often by personalizing learning and leveraging education technology. Edtech helps teachers differentiate instruction more powerfully than ever before. Its promise has spurred an $8.4 billion edtech boom, but little beyond marketing hype is known about how well the products work.
In response, LEAP Innovations helped start a movement to evaluate edtech, piloting products and techniques that personalize instruction to each student’s level, interests, and goals so districts can quickly scale effective innovations. This new grant enables LEAP to drive collaboration among a growing number of edtech evaluators from across the country, creating much needed national industry standards and sharing of best practices.
“In 1987, then Secretary of Education Bill Bennett called Chicago’s public schools the worst in the nation,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Today, I am proud to say we are leading the country in education innovation. Thanks in large part to LEAP Innovations, Chicago is becoming the national hub for education technology and personalized learning. We are leading a national movement to develop and scale education innovations that work.”
LEAP Innovations announced today that 16 Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will join seven schools previously selected in 2014 to be eligible for $4 million in philanthropic funding and professional development to create next-generation, personalized learning schools. The schools are located throughout the city and are a mix of traditional, magnet, selective enrollment, alternative and charter elementary and high schools. (Learn more about our schools here.) Each will undergo a complete transformation led by their principal and key teachers to create sustainable, 21st century school models that personalize instruction to meet each student’s needs, goals and learning styles.
“Breakthrough Schools Chicago reaches public schools all across our city to prepare our kids to succeed with 21st century skills,” said Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “These educators are leading the way forward, paving a path for how our schools can thrive in the future.”
Last week, Allan Golston, president of the United States Program at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, visited Chicago to see next-generation learning in action! After spending some time with the phenomenal students and educators at CICS West Belden, an innovative elementary school on Chicago's west side, Golston met with LEAP leadership and staff at our offices at 1871. A special thank you to West Belden for hosting, and to the Gates Foundation for their continued support!