Skip to Content

i3 Grant

The Riley Institute at Furman and KnowledgeWorks won a highly competitive Investing in Innovation (i3) grant in 2011 for the development of STEM-focused New Tech schools in two of the nation’s most economically under-resourced rural communities.

The approximately $3 million grant provides the two project schools, Scott’s Branch High School in Clarendon School District One and Colleton County High School in Colleton County Schools, with five years of professional development and coaching by New Tech Network (approximately 600 hours), New Tech Network’s integrated online learning platform (Echo), some technology infrastructure, and staff support from the New Tech Network and the Riley Institute. Students will be prepared for college, career, and 21st century workplaces through the development of critical skills such as analytical thinking, critical thinking, problem-solving, and collaboration. This one-time federal investment makes possible a multi-level transformation that ensures long-term sustainability through systemic changes, ongoing resources, and stakeholder support.

The New Tech school model is based on four design pillars:

Culture that empowers: School-wide culture of empowerment for students and adults

Teaching that engages: Project and problem-based approach to instruction

Technology that enables: Use of technology for collaboration, access to information, and self-directed learning

Outcomes that Matter:  Student outcomes for college, career, and civic life readiness (see 2016 New Tech Network Outcomes Report)

The New Tech approach is working. New Tech Network (NTN) schools demonstrate high levels of student engagement and continued growth along several measures of academic progress. Results on Reading and Science achievement, high school graduation rates, college acceptance and persistence rates, and behavioral indicators point to strong performance levels among many New Tech schools. Data show that New Tech students are more engaged in their learning; have higher attendance, performance and graduation rates; graduate prepared for college; and are more likely to enter STEM fields than the average high school graduate, making New Tech an important tool for economic development in many of the communities in which they work.

As we near the end of the 5.5-year i3 project period, the schools have become training centers for expansion of New Tech schools across South Carolina. The Riley Institute continues to work closely with the New Tech Network to expand to other districts throughout the state.

For more information, see our i3 Grantee Profile and our i3 Grantee Spotlight at the i3 Community website.

Tim Presiado, NTN’s Chief Operating Officer, provides New Tech implementation overview


Innovating in i3: Why Innovation is Important in Schools