64 Competitors for Million Dollar Prize Announced

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The 64 quarterfinalists for the Yass Prize were just announced and three of the organizations are located right here in our own backyard! The Yass Prize is considered the “Pulitzer of Education Innovation,” and along with the STOP Awards (standing for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education), will distribute nearly $13 million to these winners.

West Palm Beach based The Career Academy of the Palm Beaches (managed by Gulfstream Goodwill Industries), The Center for Creative Education, and G-Star School of the Arts were chosen out of 2,000 applicants as quarterfinalists and all received $100,000 each as they vie for the $1 million prize. The 32 semifinalists will be announced on October 10, and on December 13 the nine finalists are announced along with the grand prize winner.

“At The Career Academy of the Palm Beaches, we help young adults with a barrier to employment discover their capabilities, rather than focus on their disabilities,” said Dr. Shannon McGhee, Vice President of Education and Development at Gulfstream Goodwill Industries. “We provide education, training, and career pathways that promote self-sufficiency and independence. When people think about Goodwill, they often think of our retail stores rather than the dollars needed to operate our programs. As a quarterfinalist of the Yass Prize, the $100,000 will start us on the path to expanding to the Treasure Coast.  We can now begin laying the groundwork, through securing statewide accreditation, that is necessary to expand to a second location in Fort Pierce. It is our hope that we will be selected as a Yass Prize finalist, so that we will be able to help more students with disabilities that would normally not have the chance or opportunity to succeed.”

“Like many other non-profits, we work tirelessly to ensure that The Center for Creative Education’s mission provides a meaningful solution to a really big issue: the education crisis,” said Jonathon Ortiz-Smykla, Chief Advancement Officer at The Center for Creative Education. “The Yass Prize would be a generous, transformative investment and would help propel our model of teaching and learning within The Foundations School at The Center for Creative Education towards a scalable solution to any educational environment far beyond our campus. Being recognized among so many applicants who work alongside us in what the Yass Prize & STOP Award Initiative defines as ‘sustainable, transformational, outstanding, and permissionless education’ gives credibility to our work. This recognition is a significant milestone on our journey to creating a stronger education system, better opportunities for students, and more vibrant communities all across the country. We’re optimistic that this recognition will inspire others to get involved and help us change the world, one student at a time.”

WASHINGTON – Sixty-four education providers, including a diverse array of schools, community organizations and education technology providers, were named Quarterfinalists for the 2023 Yass Prize today during a live event from Washington, DC.  The prestigious $1 million Yass Prize is considered the “Pulitzer of Education Innovation,” and along with the STOP Awards, standing for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless education, will distribute nearly $13 million to these winners. “Each year we are amazed by the breadth and depth of the innovators that step forward and do the hard work to apply and go through the process. I’m just incredibly proud of this new cohort of 64 who together will address every sort of student and family, every kind of terrain, community and challenge,” said Janine Yass, Founder of The Yass Prize.  Thirty-one states are represented among the 64 awardees who were evaluated in an intensive, 3-tier process. This year’s Yass Prize Quarterfinalists represent a microcosm of 21st century, personalized approaches that better educate students, pre-K and beyond. They include in-person, hybrid and online approaches, and some schools that offer all three; educational metaverses and AI-driven organizations adding important dimensions to address individualized student needs and education technology organizations with substantive solutions to declining student achievement. 

The 64 awardees trend toward serving special populations, including incarcerated and many marginalized student groups, in addition to accelerated workforce and higher education solutions tied to the secondary level.

“They are not only unconventional in their ethos and work, but they share a passion and commitment to defying educational malaise,” said Jeanne Allen, director of the Yass Foundation for Education and Founder & CEO of the Center for Education Reform which manages the effort. “Altogether 213,736 students will be impacted in 2023 and 227,018 in 2024, not including students reached by National Ed Tech providers in the cohort, and we anticipate that number will multiply exponentially with expansion plans enabled by the Yass Prize and STOP Awards Initiative,” added Allen. 

This year’s cohort includes more non-providers than in years past, groups that offer a variety of other solutions that can complement and draw on comprehensive full-time education, such as leadership and educator recruitment focused on underrepresented populations, civics programming, parent empowerment, mental health and supports to expand education opportunity to more students.  Other important details about the 64 Yass Prize Quarterfinalists: Economically disadvantaged students: 40 of the top 64 organizations (62.5%) have at least half of their student population characterized as low-income. Of those 40, 31 organizations (77%) serve at least 80% economically disadvantaged students and a quarter serve exclusively economically disadvantaged students.

Students of color: Similarly, 41 of the top 64 organizations serve a student population of at least 50% students of color. Of those 41 organizations, 32 serve at least 80% students of color, while almost a third serve exclusively students of color. All 64 awardees are listed on the Yass Prize website at YassPrize.org/Awardees. For general non-press inquiries, please write info@yassprize.org.