News Release – NewSchools Ignite Announces “Middle School & High School Math Challenge”

February 16, 2016

NewSchools Ignite, an initiative of NewSchools Venture Fund, a nonprofit venture philanthropy firm, is now accepting applications for its Middle and High School Math Learning Challenge, which will offer grant funding to edtech startups addressing market gaps in secondary mathematics.

“Right now, one of the toughest math problems is figuring out how to get innovative new tools into the hands of students who need it most. That’s what we’re hearing from math teachers. While edtech has improved many aspects of teaching and learning, pockets of the industry crave innovation,” said Stacey Childress, CEO of NewSchools Venture Fund. “Our goal with this challenge is to further the work of those building tools with real promise to help students succeed.”

Open to for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations in both the early and growth stages, NewSchools Ignite will award $1.5M in funding to up to 15 winners developing digital tools with the potential to improve math learning outcomes for students in grades 6-12. Challenge winners will receive individual grants ranging from $50,000 to $150,000 as part of the edtech accelerator’s unique program, with no equity asked in return.

“We’re focused on math now because the need is tremendous. Despite the array of products already on the market, teachers are telling us these tools don’t meet their needs,” said Tonika Cheek Clayton, Managing Partner of NewSchools Ignite. “Based on any measure you want to use, American students are struggling in math, with low-income students and students of color struggling most. By helping entrepreneurs build truly effective math learning tools, we’re hoping to provide better resources to boost student success and dramatically reduce the 60 percent of students enrolled in developmental education courses each year.”

In partnership with education research nonprofit WestEd, NewSchools Ignite’s virtual accelerator—which does not require participants to relocate—will provide cohort members with highly customized, ongoing support and guidance through product development and growth. Access to valuable small-scale research studies, feedback from edtech experts, and field testing opportunities and evaluations are all part of the six-month long program.

This is the second in a series of national challenges, and follows last summer’s Science Learning Challenge, which formed the organization’s first cohort. Later this year, NewSchools Ignite will open applications for its English Language Learning Challenge.

Applications for this competition must be received no later than March 14, 2016, with the program running May through October. To apply for the Middle and High School Math Challenge, learn more at NewSchools Ignite.

About NewSchools Ignite

NewSchools Ignite, an initiative out of the NewSchools Venture Fund, is a uniquely focused education technology accelerator that supports entrepreneurs tackling the most pressing gaps in K-12 education technology. NewSchools Ignite cultivates high-impact, sustainable and scalable innovations meant to improve academic and social outcomes for millions of students nationwide by catalyzing product growth in academic areas where innovation is lagging. Through the organization’s national challenges, NewSchools Ignite mobilizes entrepreneurs to bring their best ideas forward—and into the classrooms that need them most.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that seeks to transform public education so that all children have the opportunity to succeed – especially those in schools that do not currently work for them. To achieve this goal, NewSchools identifies the most promising and innovative education entrepreneurs and helps them effectively accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the children and educators they serve. Through our investing, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reinvent K-12 education to help students graduate high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans.

About WestEd

WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.