By Rebecca Bittner
Since 2011, Social Venture Partners’ annual Fast Pitch competition has helped socially-minded innovators make a positive impact in Puget Sound. This year, over 100 applicants entered the competition, but only 20 semifinalists remain—3 of whom are pioneering new solutions to ensure that all students receive a quality education. The semifinalists will face the judges tomorrow, October 29. From there, only fourteen will move on as finalists to the SVP Final Showdown on November 13 at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall.
Actively Learn is an online literacy platform that empowers educators to transform reading and writing so students understand more, think critically, and build lasting skills. Educators can customize instruction with media and questions embedded directly in a text. They can understand exactly where students struggle, accessing analytics on student performance along the Common Core Standards. Students are motivated with timely feedback and peer interaction, making reading and writing active and collaborative. Actively Learn has been supported by the Gates Foundation and Pearson as one of the new age tools that could radically change literacy.
—Jay Goyal, Co-Founder and CEO of Actively Learn
Educurious has an innovative learning solution that fundamentally changes the K-12 educational experience. An important and unique aspect of our strategy is that students receive ongoing personal feedback on their work from volunteer subject matter experts, who contribute to students learning through an innovative social networking application, the Educurious Expert Network. These connections provide students with the support they need to create informed career trajectories and build powerful networks for their future. As the Educurious strategy is taken to scale and successfully reaches students across the country, it will contribute greatly to the rethinking of the American education system.
—Michael Golden, Founding Partner and CEO of Educurious
During the school day, the most important factor of a child’s success is the person in front of their classroom. Teachers United was founded by teachers in the Puget Sound area who believe in the immense power of teaching and strong schools, and the belief that all of our kids should have access to teachers who hold high expectations for them. So, we find those teachers and bring them together to become a force of what is possible for our students and for the teaching profession. We are starting a movement of excellence from the front lines.
—Chris Eide, Co-founder and Executive Director of Teachers United
After months of preparation and mentorship facilitated by SVP, semifinalists will face the judges tomorrow, October 29. From there, only fourteen will move on as finalists to the SVP Final Showdown on November 13 at Seattle Center’s McCaw Hall.
League of Education Voters board member Janet Levinger, who also serves on the board for SVP, will be a judge at the Final Showdown. LEV and SVP have a long-standing relationship. In 2010, LEVF received a three-year SVP grant, which helped LEV pass and support essential education reform in Washington.
Come out and support these remarkable innovators and their work to improve the quality of education for all students! Tickets are still available and all proceeds help fund the 2013 Fast Pitch prizes.
Rebecca Bittner is a freelance writer, social entrepreneur, and a volunteer for the 2013 SVP Fast Pitch marketing team. In her former life, she advocated for students’ education as a classroom teacher.