News Release: NewSchools Venture Fund Announces New Ed Tech Challenge 

February 12, 2019

$1.5 million in funding for ed tech tools to support an expanded definition of student success

(Oakland, CA, January 12, 2019) – How can ed tech tools help students acquire a strong academic foundation and other mindsets, skills and habits they need for success? NewSchools is looking to find out. The organization’s latest ed tech challenge targets entrepreneurs who want to improve academics by focusing on social-emotional learning, school culture and climate, and creating a nurturing learning environment. The Expanded Definition of Student Success Challenge is open for applications from February 12 – March 12.

“Social-Emotional Learning is an area ripe for innovation,” said Tonika Cheek Clayton, managing partner at NewSchools Venture Fund. “There are so many factors that impact a student’s overall success. Teachers are telling us they want technology-enabled solutions that tightly integrate core academic content and build better outcomes for students, looking at a range of academic and non-academic supports.”

A total of $1.5 million is available for entrepreneurs who are focusing on one or more of the following areas of critical student need: 

  • Promoting school readiness and skills that enable successful school transitions;
  • Integrating social-emotional development into core academic learning;
  • Enabling new ways to measure and analyze an expanded set of student outcomes; and
  • Building teachers’, parents’, and communities’ capacity to support an expanded definition of student success.

Each NewSchools Ed Tech Challenge begins with market research to determine current market gaps. Educators, thought leaders, and entrepreneurs are interviewed to help determine the greatest area of need. For the Expanded Definition of Student Success Challenge, conversations with educators and researchers began to uncover several ways that technology might enhance efforts to increase equity and improve academic outcomes by supporting the development of social-emotional competencies as well as improvements in school culture and climate.

Past challenges include: ScienceMiddle and High School MathEnglish Language LearnersSpecial EducationEarly LearningFuture of Work, and Special Education.

In addition to grant funding, winners of NewSchools’ ed tech challenge will receive management assistance and participate in a virtual accelerator, NewSchools Ignite. The organization also provides challenge winners with targeted support and feedback from researchers, educators, investors and other experts. The challenge closes on March 12, and winners will be selected in May.

About NewSchools Venture Fund

NewSchools Venture Fund is a national nonprofit that supports and invests in promising entrepreneurs and teams of educators who want to reimagine learning. We help them accomplish their missions to achieve outstanding results for the schools, students, and educators they serve. We are committed to helping students graduate high school prepared and inspired to achieve their most ambitious dreams and plans. Through our investments, management assistance, network building, and thought leadership, NewSchools helps to reimagine PreK-12 education. To learn more, visit, or follow us on TwitterFacebook, and Instagram.