National education nonprofit CFY (www.cfy.org) today announced an initiative to help K-12 students, teachers and parents locate and access high-quality online digital learning activities—videos, simulations and other educational software— to propel student achievement in subjects including math, English, science and social studies. The funding for this initiative comes from three of the nation’s most prominent foundations—the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has awarded $5 million to enhance the content and capabilities of CFY’s K-12 learning platform, PowerMyLearning.com; The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is providing $1.2 million focused on evaluating the effectiveness of various digital learning activities; and the W.K. Kellogg Foundation has granted $1 million targeting K-3 students and their families.
CFY is a nonprofit organization that runs the nationally acclaimed online learning platform,PowerMyLearning.com. The platform provides students, teachers, parents and school leaders with instructional tools and free online access to pre-screened digital learning activities for students— engaging academic games, instructional videos, interactive simulations and more—that have been created by software developers large and small and are aligned to Common Core Standards.
“We are proud to partner with CFY on this project to bring greater and more effective use of technology to the students who need it most,” said Stacey Childress, deputy director of education at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. “CFY has a strong track record of helping public schools in low-income communities innovate to provide all students—especially low-income and students of color—with the opportunity to realize their full potential.”
With these new grants, CFY will be able to:
- Make PowerMyLearning.com the go-to source for digital learning for students, teachers and parents nationwide.
- Provide teachers and parents with more content, search tools and features to help them personalize learning according to each student’s needs. For example, with support from the grants, the site will offer them the ability to build, assign and share customized playlists, rate activities and understand how, when and how often students are using the site for learning.
- Help educators and parents understand which of the online learning activities are most useful in improving student achievement by developing a framework to measure student outcomes over time and make that information available to users.
“This investment will allow CFY to build on our track record of evaluating digital learning activities, which has been key to our efforts to help educators, students and parents improve educational outcomes over the last 10 years,” said Elisabeth Stock, CEO and co-founder of CFY. “PowerMyLearning.com is already generating terrific feedback from students, parents, teachers and administrators, and is being used in more than 100 schools in low-income communities nationwide. We are grateful for the support from the Gates, Broad and Kellogg foundations.”
The web-based PowerMyLearning.com platform was developed in 2010, drawing on CFY’s decade of experience identifying and delivering educational software to parents, teachers and students through CFY’s technology access and training initiative, the Digital Learning Program. Through the Digital Learning Program, families receive broadband-ready home computers pre-loaded with educational software, and students, parents and teachers are trained to use digital learning to create powerful learning opportunities in class, after school and in the home. More than two-thirds of families served have annual incomes of $35,000 or less, and approximately 90 percent of the students are either black or Hispanic, with about half from Spanish-speaking homes.
“We are very excited about PowerMyLearning.com’s potential to offer more equitable opportunities for digital learning in low-income communities and communities of color to improve student learning,” said Arelis Diaz, program officer at the Kellogg Foundation. “In my prior role as a school district leader, I have seen the promise of CFY’s platform, and I’m delighted that the foundation is making this investment.”
Among the results CFY has achieved to date:
- Promising student academic results. The Digital Learning Program had a statistically significant impact on standardized math test scores, according to a study by Educational Testing Service (ETS).
- Students engaged and motivated to learn more, at home and in the classroom. In a recent CFY survey, 80 percent of parents reported that participating children watched less television and instead spent that time learning on the computer. In addition, a CFY comparison study found that participating students made a greater effort to learn in the classroom as reported by their teachers.
- Teachers better able to personalize learning and extend learning time. Teachers can easily find and use digital learning activities that are aligned to the Common Core Standards using PowerMyLearning.com. The platform is also designed to help teachers improve student learning inside and outside the classroom by incorporating digital learning into homework and lesson plans. Teachers can also create customized playlists to personalize learning according to individual student needs.
- Broad impact. CFY has served more than 50,000 students and their families nationwide to date, including 17,000 new families last year.
“When parents and teachers can quickly find free learning activities that they know are effective—amidst the thousands of learning resources that are currently available on- and off-line—it is possible for them to help students make major learning breakthroughs,” said Luis de la Fuente, director at The Broad Foundation. “ThePowerMyLearning.com platform may become the most important site yet for teachers and parents looking for quality online learning resources.”
is a national nonprofit that helps low-income students, together with their teachers and families, harness the power of digital learning to improve educational outcomes. CFY pursues this mission through the combination of its innovative K-12 learning platform, PowerMyLearning.com, and its on-the-ground direct service initiative, the CFY Digital Learning Program. To date, CFY has served more than 50,000 families and more than 100 schools in low-income communities nationwide, and has demonstrated significant impact on student achievement, student engagement, parental confidence and broadband adoption. To extend the impact of its work nationally, CFY operates an Affiliate Network of over 30 organizations in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia. The organization was founded in 1999 as Computers for Youth and recently changed its name to CFY. On the web atwww.cfy.org.
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people’s health with vaccines and other life-saving tools and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to significantly improve education so that all young people have the opportunity to reach their full potential. Based in Seattle, Washington, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and Co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Founded by self-made entrepreneur Eli Broad and his wife Edythe, both graduates of Detroit Public Schools, The Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation is a philanthropy that seeks to ensure that every student in an urban public school has the opportunity to succeed. Bringing together top education experts and practitioners, the foundation funds system-wide programs and policies that strengthen public schools by creating environments that allow good teachers to do great work and enable students of all backgrounds to learn and thrive.
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF)
Founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Mich., and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.