Empowering Educator Voice in the Innovation Process

In 2019, we’re expanding our K12 Fellowship to include 10 teams and up to10 partner schools with the support of our recently acquired funder, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. In 2018, we became the only education accelerator in the country to partner our entrepreneurs with pilot schools to validate their innovations in real classrooms and this year, we’re expanding these pilot sites to form the Visionary School Network and will award honorariums to educators implementing innovative solutions.

“This year we’re prioritizing feedback from educators in real school settings,” said Katie Boody, LEANLAB CEO. “Our entrepreneurs will work closely with educators to validate their products and make sure they’re really working for students. We believe that this process will create better innovations that are working to solve our schools’ most pressing problems.”

A portion of the $76,500 planning grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will go towards providing $2,500 honorariums for teachers and administrators at the pilot schools. During the fellowship, teachers and administrators will help design and implement pilot tests with the entrepreneurs in the K12 Fellowship and provide meaningful feedback on the impact of the classroom tools.

"We believe in recognizing the input and expertise of the teachers who give their valuable time and support to our fellows,” said Stephanie Campbell, Director of Innovation Programs. “They have years of experience in education and compensating them for that with an honorarium of $2500 is the least we can do."

We’re also expanding the program to include 10 teams this year. The top six companies are chosen by school leaders at the pilot sites and will receive a $10,000 honorarium. The next four, top-rated teams will work alongside the other fellows in the intensive curriculum portion of the fellowship, focusing on K12 sales strategy and business viability.

In the past five years, 34 entrepreneurs have been through the K12 Fellowship. They have gone on to raise over $6M in investment and have impacted over 1.9 million students across the United States since 2013 and 19,786 students in Kansas City last year alone.