Silicon Schools Fund Awards $1.7 Million in First Grant Round

The Silicon Schools Fund, which launched in October, has announced grants totaling $1.7 million to two Bay Area charter school organizations working to provide a combination of traditional teaching and cutting-edge technology at new and existing schools in the region.

The grants, which were made as part of a long-term initiative to establish up to twenty-five blended-learning schools in the region, include $1.4 million to Summit Public Schools, which will use the funds to open two new schools, and $300,000 to Alpha Public Schools. SSF also will facilitate connections among these and future blended-learning schools that it funds to help all grantees share best practices and resources.

Summit Public's two new schools, Denali — for students in grades 6 through 12 in Santa Clara County — and Shasta — for students in grades 9 through 12 in the Jefferson Union High School District — will use an educational model in which students direct their own learning using a combination of technology and individualized support and mentorship from teachers. Alpha will use its grant to enhance the blended-learning program at Blanca Alvarado Middle School, where a significant proportion of the curriculum is online and students are assigned to the same teacher for all core academic subjects, rotate between computer-based learning and small-group instruction, and have their online learning performance analyzed by their teacher, who then tailors their instruction accordingly.

SSF is in the process of selecting its next round of grant recipients and welcomes letters of introduction from district and charter schools with a successful track record in blended learning.

"We are thrilled to be providing our first grants to these incredible organizations," said Brian Greenberg, CEO of the Silicon Schools Fund. "Both Summit and Alpha are doing remarkable work to create a highly personalized learning experience for students through the combination of great teaching and technology. We are excited to see their innovation continue to evolve as they grow."