Strengthening the Nation’s Schools Through Technical Assistance

The Investing in Innovation (i3) program was a U.S. Department of Education (ED) competitive grant program. It funded local and state education agencies, universities, and nonprofits to improve student outcomes.

Grantees developed and implemented innovative, evidence-based education programs to

  • Close achievement gaps
  • Increase high school graduation rates
  • Improve college enrollment and completion rates

ED recently funded the Education, Innovation, and Research (EIR) program to continue to support these initiatives. 

ED tapped Westat to provide technical assistance (TA) to ensure i3 and EIR grantees

  • Implemented their projects successfully
  • Strengthen the education community’s ability to sustain and disseminate the evidence-based strategies supported by the program

Supporting i3 Grantees

Westat’s TA activities included

  • Assessing grantees’ needs and strengths, and developing comprehensive TA implementation plans
  • Providing individual and group project support (one-on-one direct assistance, workshops, grantee meetings, virtual support, tools and resource development)
  • Sharing news about the i3 projects through social media platforms, videos, weekly blogs, and newsletters
  • Developing Communities of Practice to help grantees connect, learn from one another, and collaborate
  • Creating a public website to disseminate news about grantees’ activities, progress, and successes, as well as tools and resources

Results

After 5 years, Westat had provided critical TA support to 150+ grantees nationwide. Our Communities of Practice helped grantees share knowledge with one another and work together. The website served as a repository of information about their progress, success, and lessons learned. Our communication channels disseminated grantee lessons with the larger education community.

Then, as a partner with Abt Associates, Westat provided TA support for the national evaluation of the i3 program. Our assistance ensured evaluations were well designed and implemented. We based our guidance on the What Works Clearinghouse Standards. The findings informed future ED grant decisions and policy.

Next Steps

Today, Westat is providing TA to i3 and EIR grantees through 2022 as we partner with Manhattan Strategy Group.

Working closely with i3 and the Education, Innovation, and Research grantees allows us to share innovations with the larger education community and continue to help bridge research and practice.

- Darcy Pietryka, a Westat Senior Study Director, Education Studies

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