With higher expectations, daunting challenges, and new technologies, it’s a good time to start over. Creating new schools from scratch–particularly high schools–is a timely opportunity. The good news is that Next Generation Learning Challenges is accepting applications for “new, personalized, blended, mastery-based schools capable of generating dramatically higher outcomes for students.”

The $12 million grant program, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, will “support educators, innovators, entrepreneurs, and forward-thinking policy makers who have a plan for a new school.

“If we want to confront the equity issue, we need to help districts design high schools that build on the evidence base we have and what is emerging from personalized technology space,” said NGLC judge and Carnegie Program Director Leah Hamilton. Yesterday, she launched a similar grant program and white paper, Opportunity by Design: New High School Models for Student Success .

NGLC will award twenty $450K grants (including matching funds) to districts, CMOs, or partnerships to launch new blended, personalized-learning, “breakthrough” school models; and thirty $100K grants to planners who are at an earlier stage in developing these kinds of models.

“Applicants may apply on behalf of a wholly new school, a restart of a persistently failing school, or the complete redesign of an existing, higher-performing school,” said

Program Director Andy Calkins. “These eligibility categories and the planning grants (which are both new features of this wave of investments) will, we hope, produce a very diverse pool of applicants and school models.”

In January I wrote a three part review of the 20 wave 3 grantees:

The NGLC program is so important I think Every State Should Run A Next-Gen Learning Challenge. The development of online curriculum makes it easy and affordable to create innovative small flex schools–in fact, there are 10 Reasons Every District Should Open a Flex School.

NGLC is hosted by EDUCAUSE, the IT in higher ed folks. They are hosting two Informational Grant Webinars on April 2. See the NGLC site for more information. You can view the one-minute video here.


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