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Alaska Program Recognized for Education Innovation

Statewide University Program In Line for Innovation Grant

U.S. Sen. Mark Begich today announced an Alaska education organization has been chosen among the 23 highest-rated Investing in Innovation (i3) applicants as potential grantees for the 2011 grant fund.

Michael Dunleavy, the Director of the University of Alaska Statewide Office of K-12 Outreach, is among the finalists selected from nearly 600 applicants nationwide who could receive an i3 award of nearly $15 million if a 10 percent private sector match can be found by December 9.  The proposal for the Alaska Statewide Mentor Project will expand its mentoring of Early Career Teachers to help increase teacher effectiveness and student achievement.

Begich is a major supporter of i3, having introduced his Investing in Innovation for Education Act earlier this year. The legislation moves this program into permanent law and includes improvements to help rural education organizations compete for funding.  Begich was pleased to see this program included in the recently proposed bill rewriting the No Child Left Behind law.  The legislation promotes innovative ideas proposed by school districts and organizations showing a record of improved student achievement.

"I'm thrilled, but not surprised, that an Alaska organization was selected in this competition to help expand professional development and improve retention of high-quality teachers," Begich said.  "We know one of the best ways to improve education is to support and expand innovative ideas coming from local educators who know their communities and students best."

To learn more about i3's potential 2011 grantees visit: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/innovation/index.html.

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