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Shabby Chic:

RISE Educator Innovation Fund Match Offer

The RISE Network supports teachers in preparing students for college, career, and life success.  In collaboration with our RISE district partners -- East Hartford, Meriden, Hartford, and New Haven Public Schools -- we are thrilled to invite RISE high school teachers to participate in the RISE Educator Innovation Fund.  The RISE Educator Innovation Fund invites teachers to design, test, and share ideas to support successful transitions to and through high school.  Specifically, we are asking teachers to design and pursue projects to advance our Network-wide goals to:

  1. Increase the proportion of Grade 9 students experiencing a smooth transition to high school and ending freshman year on-track for on-time high school graduation.
  2. Improve college and career readiness, access, and success.
  3. Strengthen data systems and practices to improve student outcomes.

Qualifying projects will receive a match offer from the RISE Network.  Teachers leading funded projects will be asked to share tools and learnings with colleagues in other RISE schools and districts, supporting a cross-district community of learning and improvement.  Teachers in RISE high schools are invited to apply.  RISE high schools eligible for the match offer include:

  •       Platt High School, Meriden
  •       Maloney High School, Meriden
  •       Career High School, New Haven
  •       East Hartford High School, East Hartford
  •       Nursing Academy, Hartford

Application Process

To submit a project, teachers in RISE high schools should:

  1. Register for an account if you are new to
  2. Create a project requesting up to $2,500 in materials.  Your project should request the materials you need to improve college and career readiness, access, and success for your students.  Please note: there is no limit to the number of projects you can submit!  If you need extra points to complete your request, just contact us and let us know you're a RISE educator.
  3. In your project essay, please make sure to:
    1. Identify and describe the problem you seek to address aligned to the RISE Network-wide goal of improving college and career readiness, access, and success.
    2. Provide a clear hypothesis explaining how your proposed project addresses the student learning needs you identified and advances the Network-wide goal.
    3. Detail a measurement strategy to evaluate your project’s impact.  Through implementing your project, please also identify tools and learnings you may be able to share with other RISE schools and teachers.  

Please find a couple of sample proposals below.

New Robotics Club

I serve as a Grade 9 and 10 science teacher at Nutmeg High School.  Year over year, our students struggle with STEM courses in high school, and the highest freshman course failure rates are consistently in science and Algebra I.  Students have minimal exposure to science in their K-8 schools, leading to challenges during freshman science.  As careers in the STEM fields increase in Connecticut and nationally, Nutmeg High School must do a better job building students’ math and science proficiency, while also cultivating students’ interests and passions in the STEM areas.

I am requesting supplies to launch a new afterschool Robotics Club.  I hypothesize that if we engage students in an afterschool Robotics Club, then we will develop students’ science skills and interests in a fun and interactive format.  Students will meet weekly for one hour after school to learn about coding and robotics.  Students will also develop valuable interdisciplinary skills around teamwork, communication, project management, and perseverance.  The new afterschool club will also foster strong peer and student-adult relationships.

To evaluate the impact of this new program, I will track student enrollment and attendance in the Robotics Club.  I will collect data around students’ interests in pursuing STEM fields after high school, while monitoring STEM course grades for participating students.  I also anticipate developing a toolkit for other STEM teachers interested in launching robotics/STEM clubs.


Freshman College Visit

Last year, 65% of Nutmeg High School’s graduating seniors enrolled in post-secondary intuitions within six months of graduating.  Many of our students are first-generation college students and need additional support building college-going aspirations and confidence.  By the time students reach their senior year, very few have even visited a college campus.  Students need early exposure to college to serve as motivation to pursue ambitious postsecondary goals.

I am requesting transportation and meal costs to take all freshmen to visit a Connecticut college campus during their freshman year.  The college visits would include a tour, mock college class, student panel, and lunch in the cafeteria.  I hypothesize that if we expose students to college opportunities early in their high school careers, then students will develop and pursue college aspirations.  Students will prepare for the college visit by researching the school and drafting questions to ask of students, professors, and tour guides.  Students will debrief the experience by discussing what they learned and how it informs their personal postsecondary plans.

To evaluate the impact of this initiative, I will track student participation in the college visits.  I will use a post-visit survey to monitor the impact of the program on students’ college knowledge and goals.  Ultimately, I will also monitor students’ college application and enrollment rates.  I anticipate developing and sharing a college visit guide.

  1.     Select “College & Career Prep” as one of your project subject areas before you submit the proposal.  You may select up to two subject areas; make sure that “College & Career Prep” is at least one of your subjects to qualify for the RISE Network match offer.   


If your proposal is complete and aligned to Network goals, you’ll receive an email when the project goes live informing you that you’ve qualified for a match offer from the RISE Network.  You’ll also see the RISE Network match offer logo on your project page if you’ve qualified:

Additionally, a team of RISE school and districts leaders will periodically review and fully fund particularly promising proposals.  Proposals will be evaluated for full funding using the following criteria:.

  1. Student Need:  Does the proposal identify and respond to a clear and data-driven student need?
  2. Project Description:  Does the proposal provide a clear hypothesis and an exciting and innovative idea to improve college and career readiness, access, and success?
  3. Network Goal Alignment:  Does the proposal offer a compelling description to advance Network goals?
  4. Measurement Strategy:  Does the proposal outline a plan to measure the impact and implementation of the proposed strategy?
  5. Replicability:  Is the proposal scalable?  Is it likely to support shared learning and replicability in other RISE schools and districts?

 RISE teachers, create your project now

About the RISE Network

The RISE Network is a partnership between East Hartford, Meriden, New Haven, and Hartford Public Schools to support educators in striving to ensure every RISE high school student graduates college and career ready.  We collaborate to increase our individual and collective impact.  The Dalio Foundation funds the partnership as a co-founder of the RISE Network.

As a networked improvement community, RISE mobilizes public and private resources, promotes innovative solutions, strengthens systems, and empowers educators to achieve breakthrough results for students.  We are collaborating to improve college and career readiness, access, and success by supporting successful transitions to and through high school.  We are committed to using data to pinpoint student needs, diagnose root causes, form and test hypotheses, measure impact, and pursue scale and improvement.