Read about the finalists from the 2014 SECU Emerging Issues Prize for Innovation contest!
Pennies for Progress | North Carolina State University
Pennies for Progress is an innovative funding platform for social good. We use emerging point-of-sale and payment processing technologies to provide a solicitation strategy for small businesses. Our program is simple: each time a customer makes a purchase they can round their bill to the next dollar and donate the difference. We target donations that are less than one dollar and locate high-volume transaction locations. Our goal is to decrease the barriers to entry for donating, which increases total donations at the point of sale. We provide businesses with a subsidized point-of-sale system running on an iOS based cash register, so whenever a customer makes a purchase they can round up their bill for schools. While this may seem like a small amount of money, implementing the system at high transaction-volume retailers in large scale can quickly raise a significant amount of funds. A popular coffee shop could raise $10,950 a year. Multiplying a single business’s contributions across North Carolina’s small businesses and retailers generates significant revenues for local schools. If half of North Carolinians donated just ten pennies each week, we could raise $50,000,000 to support local schools.
Parental Involvement | University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Our innovation is a process, tool and planning instrument that will empower schools to enter into a meaningful partnership with all parents. Think online dating; but instead of matching couples, our innovative technology matches the unique strengths and gifts of a child’s home with the strengths and gifts of the child’s school in an effort to improve the health and wellness of all school-aged children, Pre-K to 12th grade. Parents, students and teachers will each develop a unique profile. The computer does its magic and parents and teachers are left with an interactive tool providing unique resources and opportunities. Our tool will guide parents through a process of defining their strengths, describing their children, affirming ways they are currently engaged and ways in which they might like to be engaged, and providing useful information based on their strengths and current needs. Classroom teachers, resource teachers and school staff will also be guided through a similar process. Our tool will provide parents with resources and opportunities around areas of interest, strengths and child needs. This tool will allow teachers to tap into the strengths and interests of their parents, while addressing their specific concerns and needs. It will provide teachers with resources to work with parents of different backgrounds and different engagement levels, building teacher capacity to support meaningful parental involvement.
Conquest for a Healthy Life | Mitchell Community College
Our tool is an interactive website, Conquest for a Healthy Life. It will empower adolescents to be engaged, entertained and educated as they learn to master the fundamentals of sustainable good health. Through this website, an adolescent will be taken on a journey of fundamental decision-making about personal wellbeing and health. Through this odyssey, adolescents will discover the connection between food and nutrition, experience the benefits of physical exercise, learn of the importance of honing one’s spiritual and mental awareness, and come to appreciate the impact of this learning on their social experiences. This website will provide information about health and wellbeing for teachers and parents so that they may initiate conversations with the adolescents. The website will encompass the following: an interactive game covering different aspects of health; a parental information portal; a school portal; and a testimonial portal. We are addressing this issue because we feel that adolescents are not provided adequate tools to connect personal choices to life-long healthy wellbeing. One of our primary goals is to establish a lasting learning/teaching connection among the school, the parent and the adolescent.
My HealthEd | University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Currently, the state of North Carolina mandates that every public school teach a comprehensive health education curriculum including nutrition and comprehensive sexual education in 7th grade, 8th grade, and high school. As the NC Department of Public Instruction starts to assess the Healthy Living Essential Standards in the next few years, we are creating a tool for high schools in North Carolina to more easily and affordably comply with health education legislation. Our tool will provide a more well-rounded health education by facilitating collaboration and conversation between parents, teachers, and students. We are developing MyHealthEd, a comprehensive, online health education course that is tailored to the individual needs of each student. The goals of MyHealthEd are t0:
- increase health knowledge and skills among high school students in North Carolina
- decrease risky behaviors among high school students
- decrease rates of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections
- increase academic achievement
- provide a safe space for students to learn more about their personal health by delivering the intervention in the classroom
- provide a tailored and unique learning experience for each student
- provide a common platform for parents, teachers and students to educate themselves about ways to encourage healthy behaviors among students
Collaborative Coaching and Practice | North Carolina State University
Collaborative Coaching and Practice (CCaP) is a holistic, year-long program that addresses the emotional, procedural, and professional needs impacting new teachers as they take on the complex new role of “teacher.”
CCaP’s main mission is to retain initially licensed teachers (ILTs) beyond their first three years in the classroom by supporting them through continuous and differentiated professional development, coaching, and networking opportunities. CCaP’s initial involvement with the ILTs will begin with a three-day Summer Symposium (SS) prior to the beginning of the academic school year. One of the primary goals of the SS is to equip ILTs with strategies for a successful start to the school year, including setting up one’s classroom, becoming acquainted with faculty and staff, and familiarizing ILTs with the surrounding community, among others. CCaP will continue to provide differentiated support and networking opportunities to ILTs throughout the school year with bi-weekly L.E.A.D. (Learning, Educating, Assisting, Developing) seminars. The topics discussed during each seminar will vary to meet the individual needs of each participant. ILTs often say that they feel isolated in their first three years. This will be addressed, not only through support provided in the L.E.A.D. seminars, the online forum Edmodo, but also through a variety of networking opportunities that will take place after working hours in a non-evaluative environment.
The cornerstone of CCaP is coaching. CCaP will seek to provide highly-trained and highly-skilled coaches to all teachers. All coaches will have had extensive training in coaching and adult learning theories. CCaP will measure effectiveness through anecdotal data from teacher artifacts and quantitative data received from formal surveys concerning each participant’s intent to remain in the classroom. The final artifact from each teacher will be in the form of a video presentation outlining the participants’ overall growth throughout the year.
TeacherLoop | North Carolina State University
Our team aims to develop and implement an online, open-source, peer-reviewed platform for teachers to share all sorts of learning aids. The name of this tool is “TeacherLoop”. TeacherLoop is not just restricted to sharing teaching material. It also provides users with a community that is supported by teachers, and made for teachers. The advantages of this sort of system are numerous. When looked at in retrospect, a new teacher is faced with an already stressful introduction into their new school; it is difficult to create a lesson plan ad-lib in order to give a more suitable experience to their specific classes. With such platform-based, lesson plan sharing, new teachers can take tested, reputable lesson plans and add the finer details according to their style of teaching and the necessities of the students. With this system, we wish to optimize the workflow process for teachers by giving them a simple, frictionless environment to work in. The user, a licensed teacher, not only has the ability to upload their own work, but to also view other learning aids. Although the mentioned structure would prove valuable, it would only be the skeleton of TeacherLoop’s functionality. With features such as lesson plan ratings, adjustment suggestions, and blog type discussion, the teacher can expand his/her ideas to enhance the classroom experience beyond the typical staff meeting, and into the virtually limitless world of TeacherLoop.
Beginning Teaching Matters | University of North Carolina at Wilmington
The Beginning Teaching Matters (BT Matters) Project seeks to address issues of teacher retention by immersing beginning teachers in the culture of their local community and providing them with a community-based network of support. This support is offered in two ways: face-to-face through monthly meetings and online via a web portal. Through the project, beginning teachers with zero to three years of experience meet monthly in subject-specific or grade level groupings, guided by a professional learning communities model (PLC). These small groups, facilitated by local master teachers, work with major topics affecting teacher retention, learn about the culture of their local community, and explore resources that will support and enhance classroom instruction. During the time between each meeting, participants share and work online through a common web portal. The portal links all participants together and provides access to a wealth of resources for beginning teachers, as well as hosts the program materials for the BT Matters Project. Furthermore, beginning teacher participants will be provide relevant literature, classroom supplies, and other hands on materials related to the district’s community-based network of support.
thanks to all of our participants for their great work!
Winners were publicly announced at the 2014 Emerging Issues Forum, Teachers and the Great Economic Debate!