Funding, Grants & Awards

Alliance for Excellent Ed Looks for High School Exemplars

An organization whose goal is to make sure every student graduates has called for submissions from secondary schools that show how they're meeting success. The Alliance for Excellent Education said the "exemplars" they choose will receive "national recognition" and opportunities to participate in online and in-person events during the school year.

To qualify, schools and districts must meet three criteria:

  • At least 50 percent of students are eligible for free or reduced price lunch;
  • At least 60 percent of the student population is made up of students of color; and
  • Submissions must show evidence of at least three of the following criteria: use of personalized learning strategies; use of project- and work-based learning; use of data to inform instruction; evidence of deeper learning outcomes; evidence of thoughtful technology integration; or evidence of the innovative use of time.

In return, exemplars play a highly visible role in national "Digital Learning Day" and "Future Ready Schools" events, both of which are run by the Alliance. The schools will also be profiled in videos, case studies, reports and webinars.

One recent exemplar is the Houston Independent School District (TX), which is running "PowerUp," an initiative to train educators in personalizing instruction and distribute a laptop to every high school student by 2016. A second one is Saint Paul High School of Arkansas, a school in a small, rural district that underwent a dramatic digital learning turnaround that included overhauls of instructional practice and classroom design and creation of an online learning lab to expand access to college-level courses. The school transformed from being a Phase II turn-around school in 2010 to an Arkansas top 10 percent performance school in 2013.

The deadline for submitting applications is October 5. Finalists will be notified by October 9. Detailed submission information is available at

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.