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October 5, 2011

Innovation Fund to reward creative school programs

Applications are due by Nov. 10

INDIANAPOLIS — Schools and nonprofit groups that want to try or expand a creative or novel education program can now compete for funding from a new state Innovation Fund that is set to distribute $5 million over the next two years.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett announced Wednesday that applications are now being accepted for the fund, which was created earlier this year by the Indiana General Assembly.

It makes $2.5 million available this year and next for programs that help improve students’ academic performance through creative, effective and sustainable programs.

 “If Indiana is serious about educating children in the 21st century, we must support and encourage innovation in our schools,” said Bennett in a statement. “This competition accomplishes that goal by providing financial awards to our most forward-thinking local districts and other entities to help them implement or expand successful programs for students.”

State officials said applicants must present a program or approach that addresses educator effectiveness, college and career readiness, and/or school improvement.  Applications are not limited to new programs and may include established programs that are expanding or diversifying.

The amount granted to winning entities will depend on several factors, including the number of winning applicants, the size of proposed innovations, application quality and the potential effect of funding on student performance.

Applicants may apply for a one- or two-year grant and none can request more than $500,000 per year. Each application will be scored by multiple trained reviewers.

Complete applications must be submitted by Nov. 10 and winners are to be announced by the end of the year. Applications are available at news/2011/10-October/innovation_fund.html.

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