Citizen Schools, a national educational nonprofit focused on extending the learning day for high-need students by providing direct instruction and project-based apprenticeships taught by volunteers, is pleased to announce it has received a $350,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to evaluate digital courseware designed to provide appropriately challenging content for middle school students.
Citizen Schools will develop the program at schools across four states that are currently using digital courseware during the expanded day. They are:
•Joseph A. Browne Middle School (Chelsea, MA)
•Eugene Wright Science and Technology Academy (Chelsea, MA)
•Greenleaf Elementary School (Oakland, CA)
•Joseph George Middle School (San Jose, CA)
•William L. Sheppard Middle School (San Jose, CA)
•Chase Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
•Carter G. Woodson South Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
•Theophilus Schmid Elementary School (Chicago, IL)
•Carter School of Excellence (Chicago, IL)
•Renaissance School of the Arts (East Harlem, NY)
Data gathered at the sites will examine barriers to experimentation with digital courseware while exploring ways to improve product efficacy, and develop the market for additional digital course offerings.
“Citizen Schools’ existing network of expanded day sites offers a unique setting to achieve this project’s goals by combining openness to innovation, access to a high-need student population, and channels for diffusion of learning back to the mainstream public school system,” said Steven Rothstein, CEO of Citizen Schools. “We are thrilled that the Gates Foundation has chosen to support this important initiative, as part of its interest in developing healthy and transparent market for highly effective learning technologies.”
The grant will also support training for Citizen Schools’ staff to ensure effective use of the digital tools. According to Rothstein, forty percent of all Citizen Schools sites are incorporating digital courseware or blended learning strategies into the learning day this school year.