Deal announces first winner of the Innovation Fund Tiny Grant program

November 18, 2016

Gov. Nathan Deal today announced the first winner of the new Innovation Fund Tiny Grant program, a competitive grant opportunity for traditional public schools, charter schools and school districts. Coleman Middle School in Gwinnett County will receive funding to implement a project in which students will use drones to explore the waste inventory of the Chattahoochee River.

“The Innovation Fund Tiny Grant unites education leaders and students in order to provide Georgia’s students with the ability to engage in today’s most innovative academic areas,” said Deal. “Providing Georgia’s students with opportunities for growth and success is essential to ensuring our children reach new heights in educational achievement. Congratulations to Coleman Middle School on this award and we look forward to seeing the impact each Tiny Grant will have on the futures of its recipients.”

Programs and projects funded by Tiny Grants must align with one of three of the following priority areas: applied learning with a focus on science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) education, development and replication of blended learning school models, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development. The grants will provide eligible organizations between $1,000 and $10,000 to implement small-scale pilot programs that directly impact students.

Working alongside the National Park Service and Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, students at Coleman Middle School will study various aspects of the river including invasive species, temperature, pH balance and hazardous materials. This STEAM-focused project has the potential to impact both student achievement and the local environment and will provide students with a real-world, hands-on experience. 

The Governor’s Office of Student Achievement (GOSA) will accept and award Tiny Grants on a rolling basis. Each grantee will evaluate the project’s effectiveness and submit bi-annual updates to GOSA. 

About the Innovation Fund
The Innovation Fund invests in public education entities that aggressively develop and scale programs that enable Georgia educators to improve student performance and tackle our state’s most significant education challenges.  In 2011, the Innovation Fund began as a $19.4 million competitive grant competition created under Georgia’s Race to the Top (RT3) Plan. To continue the Innovation Fund’s work beyond RT3, Deal appropriated state funding for Fiscal Years (FY) 2015, 2016, and 2017. Since its inception, the Innovation Fund has invested over $31 million of state and federal funding through 78 grants to 50 school districts, charter schools, postsecondary institutions and nonprofit organizations to pilot innovative education programs, ranging in focus from teacher and leader induction and development to STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) applied learning, blended learning, and birth-to-age-eight language and literacy development.  More information about the Innovation Fund can be found on the Governor’s Office of Student Achievement website.