Designing Transformative Learning Experiences for a New Generation of Students Begins with Teachers

Foundation for Blended and Online Learning grants support entrepreneurial classroom leaders in the development of personalized learning opportunities

CASTLE ROCK, CO — The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning (FBOL) today announced the first cohort of teachers to receive support for the creation or expansion of personalized learning programs through their Innovative Educator Grant Program. From rural Maine to the base of Mount Rainier and inner-city Chicago, seven educator-led projects have been awarded grants to develop blended and online learning opportunities for students across the country. Winning proposals include an array of plans, including scaling a successful tutoring program using digital tools and content; leveraging community partnerships to build a blended learning course for students in rural Alabama that addresses real-world farming and agricultural concerns; further refining open science and math curricula that will be shared with all who would like to adopt or adapt them; and the execution of an infrastructure road map to allow Catholic schools in Maine to provide blended and online learning opportunities to their most remote students.

Amy Valentine, FBOL’s Executive Director, said, “The advancement of technology-rich learning environments should not be an exclusively top-down process. Entrepreneurial classroom leaders have always sown the seeds of innovative practice, inspiring new models of instruction that connect with students as individual learners and adapt to the tools and needs of an ever-evolving school and work environment. We are so proud to support these teachers as they design “what’s next” for students.”

Grantees participating in FBOL’s 2016 Innovative Educator Grant cohort include:

Vanessa Jimenez (Steubing Ranch Elementary School | San Antonio, TX) Development of a blended dual-language kindergarten literacy program utilizing online resources and technology tools in a progress-monitored environment that allows students to document and reflect upon their learning journey through digital portfolios

Micah Johnson (Headland Middle School | Headland, AL) Design and integration of a blended learning experience for geography students living in a low-income farming community that connects them to the land and their community through project-based modules

Julia E. Lyles (Heritage Elementary School | Waddy, KY) Expansion of an open, competency-based blended math model and curriculum for 3rd Grade

Joshua Miranda (City on a Hill New Bedford | New Bedford, MA) Evolving a highly-regarded numeracy- and literacy-focused tutoring program to a data-driven blended learning environment utilizing OER content and personalized instruction that effectively reaches students along a broad range of mastery

Anthony Schmidt (Schurz High School | Chicago, IL) Bridging the digital divide for inner-city students using a flipped classroom model and further development of an open physics curriculum for 11th Grade

Peter Servidio (Holy Savior School & Saint Dominic Academy | Rumford, ME) Implementation of a blended and online learning road map providing digital access to rural students and modeling a replicable program for use in Catholic schools throughout the state

Patricia Shelton (Eatonville High School | Eatonville, WA) Continued transition to online learning for a successful alternative learning center supporting at-risk and over-aged/under-credited students

Caroline Vander Ark, a member of FBOL’s Board of Directors and COO of learning design firm Getting Smart, said, “Creating learning environments that meet students where and how they learn and that mirror real-world application of technology is imperative to more fully support their future success. These pioneering teachers have identified holes in the traditional system and are developing solutions that will fill those gaps.”

Grantees will track and report on both progress and impediments over the next year and FBOL will work with them to share the curriculum and practice advancements they make in order to scale their efforts to classrooms and schools across the country.

For more information about the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning or the Innovative Educator Grant Program, please visit


About the Foundation for Blended and Online Learning

The Foundation for Blended and Online Learning was created to advance and improve the availability and quality of blended and online educational opportunities for students and teachers and to strengthen the outcomes of those programs through active academic, instructional, and technology support for personalized learning. The Foundation works toward these goals through its Student Scholarship and Innovative Educator Grant programs, the development and distribution of original research exploring emerging policy and practice, and ongoing collaboration with diverse leaders across the fields of education, business, policy, and philanthropy. Learn more at