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The Innovation Fund Foundation announced the grant awardees for the 2020 Innovative Education Fund Grant Program. The grant opportunity application period opened to public schools, school districts and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations in Nov. 2020. Thirty-six grant applications were submitted with innovative project designed to engage students in an inventive way demonstrating the potential for lasting impact on the academic environment.

The grant applications were peer reviewed by a board of individuals representing the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement and the Georgia Department of Education. The Innovative Fund Foundation’s board of directors reviewed the final rubric of scores and chose six applicants from six Georgia school districts to receive grant awards of between $2,500 and $10,000 each: Fulton County Schools, Early County Schools, Pelham City Schools, Richmond County Schools, DeKalb CSD, Whitfield County Schools.


Amana Academy of Fulton County Schools, $10,000.00
Priority Points: Schools/School Districts Identified as Minority Majority

Amana Academy will implement sensory stations throughout the school designed to decrease the number of discipline referrals for minor incidents and thereby increase the amount of time students are in the classroom receiving instruction. Teachers will receive training on how to effectively use the sensory stations to address positive and negative student behavior in the classroom and throughout the school. The school will provide training from Action Based Learning to instruct teachers on appropriate techniques and benefits of action-based learning for student outcomes.

Early County High School of Early County School System, $10,000.00
Priority Points: High-Need, Rural Schools/School Districts

Early County’s Department of Career, Technical and Agricultural Education will use the Innovative Education Fund grant to implement a program where students will learn skills that allow them to be more marketable in the workforce by emphasizing real-world science experiences with an agriculture focus, Early County’s largest industry. Specifically, the program will train students to use unmanned drone devices to survey farmland and collect data for local farmers. The new agricultural pathway project will expand the technical skillset of students while simultaneously addressing workforce needs of local farmers.

Pelham Elementary School of Pelham City Charter Schools, $10,000.00
Priority Points: Schools/School Districts Identified as Minority Majority

Students at Pelham Elementary School will provide kindergarten through fifth grade students with intensive support in decoding and phonics. Specifically, the school will expand the Seeing Stars Program, which assists students in creating mental imagery for sounds and letters within words, which improves word recognition, spelling and reading fluency skills. The program will target over 225 students showing deficiencies in decoding and phonics, as well as 30 teachers and 15 paraprofessionals serving students in kindergarten through fifth grade. The main goal of the program is to improve reading proficiency and build a strong foundation in the elementary grades.

Richmond County School System, $10,000.00
Priority Points: Schools Identified in the Bottom 5% of Performance

The Richmond County School System (RCSS) serves over 30,000 students, the majority of whom have opted for virtual learning during the 2020-2021 school year. In addition, district schools temporarily close when they experience significant impacts from COVID-19, at times making RCSS a fully virtual district. With the help of local, CARES Act and philanthropic funds, RCSS provided laptops and Wi-Fi hotspots to students participating in virtual learning. However, students need additional academic instructional support to complement their virtual learning. This program will provide 24/7 on-demand and live instruction for kindergarten through twelfth grade students, allowing students the opportunity to receive tutoring services both aligned with their needs and family schedules. With the help of this additional instruction outside of regular school hours, the district aims to curb the COVID-19 learning slide.

Stone Mountain Elementary School of DeKalb County School District, $9,500.00
Priority Points: Schools Identified in the Bottom 5% of Performance

Stone Mountain Elementary School will use the grant to provide kindergarten through fifth grade students access to high-quality fluency, phonemic awareness and vocabulary skills outside of classroom hours. Specifically, the school will develop a parent university that will equip its parents and caregivers with the necessary tools to provide support to students inside the home environment, ensuring that students are receiving education and literacy skills outside of formal instructional time. The goal of the program is to bridge the education gap between the school and home to prepare students to read on grade level by the end of elementary school.

Whitfield County Schools, $10,000.00
Priority Points: Schools/School Districts Identified as Minority Majority

To date, Whitfield County Schools (WCS) has provided a range of innovative out-of-school programs to meet the educational needs of its students and families, but challenges persist in combating the educational summer slide. The district’s Summer Power Lunches provide free reading materials to students and their families but are targeted to students from birth through fifth grade. WCS will use the Innovative Education Fund grant to expand the program to approximately 100 middle and high school students. The Summer Power Lunches will incorporate the Summer Silent Book Clubs, which are currently aimed at middle and high school grades, to ultimately increase student engagement and combat summer slide in reading and comprehension. The district will use grant funds to purchase books for distribution, flexible seating to create an inviting space in the libraries, and incentives for participation in the book clubs.