Computers for Youth receives $1 million grant

Juliana D. Norwood | 11/7/2012, 5 p.m.

Computers for Youth (CFY) is a nonprofit organization that helps students, teachers and parents use digital learning to improve educational outcomes. CFY's approach addresses the learning students do, not only in their classrooms but in all environments, including the home. The organization is unique in that it operates both "in the cloud" (through PowerMyLearning.com, a free K-12 online learning platform) and "on the ground" (through its Digital Learning Program, a whole school/community initiative that works hands-on with all three of the constituents that impact student achievement: teachers, parents and students).

CFY's PowerMyLearning platform recently received significant support from three of the nation's most prominent funders: the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Additionally, CFY's Digital Learning Program has grown to be one of the largest programs of its kind, having served more than 50,000 families from more than 100 high-poverty schools nationwide. The program has demonstrated significant impact on student achievement, student engagement, parental involvement, and broadband adoption.

CFY recently announced it has received a $1 million grant from Carnegie Corp. of New York to further develop, implement, and study blended learning instruction in a whole school/community model.

This whole school/community model leverages CFY's groundbreaking free K-12 learning platform, PowerMyLearning.com, which helps K-12 students, teachers, and parents locate and use high-quality online digital learning activities--videos, simulations, academic games, and more--to propel student achievement. The platform has received more than $7 million in funding from the Gates, Broad and Kellogg foundations.

The model also includes support for school leaders, professional development for educators, innovative family learning workshops, and home technology support for families. With this grant, CFY will implement the model in four schools in New York and Los Angeles and study its effect on math achievement.

"CFY's success in enabling out-of-school learning will be used to inform school design that enables next generation learning," said Leah Hamilton, program director, Urban Education at Carnegie Corp. of New York. "Their record of using digital learning to improve educational outcomes makes CFY an ideal organization to develop and study blended personalized approaches that result in any time, anywhere learning and better academic outcomes for all students."

"This investment will allow CFY to demonstrate the impact of blended learning in multiple schools in the two largest school districts in the country," said Elisabeth Stock, CEO and co-founder of CFY. "We are grateful for this grant from Carnegie Corp. of New York, which is a national leader in supporting innovations in education."

The grant will fund CFY's work in four schools, two each in New York and Los Angeles, over a two-year period and will fund research on the impact of the work. Services for the schools include teacher coaching on using digital learning to differentiate instruction; support for school leaders; family learning workshops where parents attend with their children to learn about PowerMyLearning and how to create a stronger home learning environment; and home technology support for families, including a free Internet-ready home computer and 24/7 bilingual help desk support.

For more information about the organization, visit the website at www.cfy.org