Just Three Weeks to Go: Looking for Bold Ideas in ELL Tools!

August 9, 2016

Nearly five million PreK-12 students in America are English Language Learners.  That’s a lot of students.   And, we’ve heard from teachers and researchers that there are not nearly enough high-quality instructional tools to meet their needs.  In fact, there’s a dearth of quality ELL tools, and the need has never been greater.

So, we decided to do something about it.  Our goal is to attract and support the best entrepreneurs with great ideas for addressing gaps in the ELL tools that can help teachers meet their students’ needs.  At NewSchools, we have a particular interest in tech tools.  We know they aren’t a silver bullet for addressing ELL needs, but we did hear loudly and clearly from educators that they can be one important resource for teachers and students.

That’s why we’re launching a new NewSchools Ignite challenge, and offering funding in the range of $50,000 to $150,000 to support the development of new ELL tools. Submissions are due by August 29, and interested entrepreneurs should visit our website to learn more.

Teenager working on laptop in classroomThe Tools & Services team at NewSchools invests in entrepreneurs who develop the sophisticated tools and services needed by today’s schools and students.  We’re looking for learning tools tailored to meet the aspirations of students, while also making the best use of teachers’ time and talents. There are a lot of great learning products on the market, and some segments of the ed tech market have grown rapidly in the last few years.  Unfortunately, ELL is not one of those areas, and that’s why we’re focused on it in this current funding challenge.

When designing this challenge, we spoke directly with ELL teachers and students.  They have the best insights, so it made sense to go right to them. We also conducted rigorous market research and talked with experts to help us understand the specific ELL needs. After the submission deadline, ELL educators will lend their invaluable perspectives on student needs to help us determine which ventures to fund.

We are looking for a diverse group of entrepreneurs with one important thing in common: They want to create exceptional ELL tools and services to support personalized learning for students.  If this sounds like you or someone you know, we want to know more.  Remember, submissions are due August 29, and ventures will be selected by mid-October.