*NEWS: Education Software Startup Receives Grant

A startup that created software to increase literacy achievement for students in grades K-3 announced a grant of close to $15 million from the U.S. Department of Education.

Learning Ovations, with HQ in Irvine, announced in a press release that it received a five-year Education Innovation and Research expansion grant, which will enable its professional support system to roll out in schools this Fall.

The startup will work in partnership with three other entities as part of the United2Read project, whose mission is that all children read at or above grade level by the end of third grade. It will work with UCI;  Digital Promise, created with the mission to accelerate innovation in education; and MDRC, which designs interventions, evaluates existing programs and provides tech assistance to improve the lives of low-income individuals, families, and children.

Learning Ovations’ A2i Professional Support System integrates school districts’ existing assessments and curriculum to help teachers take the guesswork out of differentiating reading instruction for each child.

The A2i software uses research-validated algorithms to analyze student assessment data and let teachers know about the type and amount of instruction needed to maximize reading growth for each student.

The software also indexes a school district’s core curriculum and points teachers to the best learning activities to use for whole-group, small-group and individual instruction.

The A2i team provides customized training and support and said it holds itself  accountable for the districts’ results.

Learning Ovations’ software will make its debut as part of the United2Read project in more than 100 schools across four states, including California, this Fall. Three hundred schools and 100,000 students in K-3rd grade will be served over the course of the five-year grant.

Over the past 13 years, A2i has been developed, evaluated and scaled by researchers with over $10 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. Department of Education, in preparation for putting it in classrooms across the country, according to the release.

The software has been validated in seven randomized control studies in multiple school districts, according to the release.

Jay Connor is the founder and CEO of Learning Ovations.

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