Norwalk Public Schools awarded $1.4 million to establish research and data evaluation program


Nearly $2.7 Million in Philanthropic Funding Identified This Year To Help Support Norwalk Students and Educators

Norwalk, CT – Norwalk Public Schools is pleased to announce that the district will receive a total of $1.4 million dollars from private funders to establish a comprehensive research and data evaluation program. The new award is funded by the Ritter Family Foundation, Per and Astrid Heidenreich Foundation, Grossman Family Foundation and Be Foundation.

The new research and evaluation program will support the district in establishing in-house data systems, including a data warehouse, data analysis solutions and data visualization tools. By establishing these capabilities within the district, NPS will be able to better use data to inform instructional practice and improve outcomes for all students. Educators will be able to collect and evaluate data in real time to improve daily instruction. Funds will also enable NPS to hire faculty to help with implementation of data driven improvement processes.

The new funding comes in addition to other awards and grants that the district has identified for the next school year. Every year, Norwalk Public Schools works closely with private foundations and corporations to identify opportunities for grants and other awards. For the 2022-23 school year, NPS has already identified an estimated $2,727,500.00 in philanthropic funds. This amount includes funds that are both direct to the district, as well as indirect funding, such as grants that provide internet service to students and families. Philanthropic funds are frequently dispersed in phases to align with the timing of programs and new initiatives.

“Norwalk Public Schools has established excellent relationships with private funders, who appreciate the district’s emphasis on execution, data-driven instruction and professional development,” says NPS Superintendent Dr. Alexandra Estrella. “These organizations recognize that innovation in essential to make sure students are future ready, but that gaps in public school funding can limit a district’s ability to meet evolve. We deeply appreciate the commitment they make to supporting our students, staff and families.”

Funding secured through private sources supplements the local and state operating funds needed each year to meet the district’s basic needs.

Last year, three NPS middle schools joined Verizon Innovative Learning (VILS), Verizon’s education initiative to address barriers to digital inclusion. VILS is a key program under Citizen Verizon, the company’s responsible business plan for economic, environmental and social advancement. The value of VILS equates to approximately $1.6 million dollars this year. Thus far, every student and teacher in the participating schools has been equipped with a device and up to a four-year data plan. The initiative also provides extensive teacher professional development to support powerful learning that leverages technology in and out of the classroom.

Other funding includes support from The RISE Network, which partners with urban public school districts to improve student outcome. RISE granted NPS $210,000 this year via the Dalio Family Foundation. This grant assists in keeping students on track for graduation through staff funding and data support.

In addition to applying for annual State and Federal grants, the district also searches for new grant opportunities such as the AccelerateCT Education Task Force. Supported by the Connecticut State Department of Education, this grant helped to fund a partnership with the Maritime Aquarium, which supported summer enrichment programming for K-2 students.

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