GVSU expands reach in K-12 schools, announces idea accelerator
Grand Valley State University and innovation have become synonymous when it comes to student equity, learning and success. President Philomena V. Mantella introduced a new accelerator for K-12 students and showcased the success of a virtual tutoring program at the university’s February 26 Board of Trustees meeting.
Mantella announced NextEd Accelerator, which will house programs designed to address issues around equity and opportunity, such as the university’s K-12 Connect. This GVSU program was implemented last summer and has already served more than 1,800 learners with more than 7,500 hours of virtual tutoring.
“NextEd Accelerator will create space and synergy for initiatives such as K-12 Connect, which is a great model of a low-cost, high-impact program,” said Mantella. “These initiatives deserve to be supported and scaled, and not just the project of the moment. The learning gaps created by COVID will deepen inequality and have devastating impacts for years to come, unless we move quickly and boldly.”
The university’s bold move is to build an infrastructure dedicated to meeting the mounting needs of the nation’s K-12 students. NextEd Accelerator will provide support to education entrepreneurs who want to create programs that will quickly impact students who need help the most.
“NextEd Accelerator is designed so innovative ideas that push public education forward can be implemented,” said Mantella. “Its programs will use novel ways to engage vulnerable students and enable equity in education. NextEd aligns with our deep commitment to inclusion, our communities and social justice. We will be able to test ideas and rapidly expand those that work, so we can have a profound impact on access and learning outcomes. This concentrated effort will advance the public good in Michigan and around the country.”
Grand Valley is a proven leader with innovations that change lives. The drivers of the K-12 Connect initiative are fielding inquiries from other institutions and those who want to replicate the success of GVSU’s statewide virtual tutoring program.
Associate Vice President Rob Kimball will expand his role to oversee NextEd. He believes the space to launch new ideas is the best way to ensure equity and student success, as well as the future of higher education.
“Our students’ diverse and evolving needs compel us to activate ideas across our communities and region,” Kimball said. “NextEd Accelerator is one way GVSU can further distinguish itself and provide leadership to support diverse learners in these increasingly complex times.”
GVSU’s College of Education will be a key partner in NextEd’s work, as programming evolves to better support educators and learners.
“Our faculty and staff are committed to keeping learners at the center of our work,” said Sherril Soman, dean of the College of Education at Grand Valley. “NextEd provides an incredible opportunity for us to strengthen existing K-12 partnerships, create additional alliances, and support faculty interested in design thinking, social justice and a project-based approach to learning.”
Grand Valley is working on scaling up programs and securing meaningful partnerships, both with education leaders and the philanthropic community. No tuition dollars will be used in this initiative.