Achieving the Dream Selected to Help Build National Science Network

Through Smart Science Network, faculty to develop innovative science courses that improve community college student success

Media Contact:
Lynn Reddy, (301) 520-9940,



Silver Spring, MD (September 30, 2014) – The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation today announced the finalists of their Next Generation Courseware Challenge, which includes a new network to improve the learning outcomes of low-income and underserved community college students in introductory science courses. Achieving the Dream, Inc. – a national nonprofit leading the nation’s most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for community college student success and completion – is partnering with pioneers in the field of online learning, including Smart Sparrow and Arizona State University, to enable educators to create rich, interactive, and adaptive learning experiences through the Smart Science Network.

“Achieving the Dream Colleges are at the forefront of innovation and data-informed decision making,” said Achieving the Dream President and CEO William Trueheart. “The Smart Science Network is poised to make significant contributions to the way we think about teaching and learning at the national level. We are delighted to be a partner in the Smart Science Network, and look forward to helping colleges improve learning outcomes through the use of adaptive and affordable technology.”

The Smart Science Network is a bold partnership among world-leading universities, community colleges, education technology companies, scientists, and education experts to develop two science “Smart Courses” that utilize a nontraditional, transdisciplinary approach for use at higher education institutions. The partnership – led by Smart Sparrow, an educational technology company with a proven track record in developing next-generation courseware and in launching teaching networks – includes Achieving the Dream, Inc.; Arizona State University; 23 colleges and universities, many of whom are in the Achieving the Dream Network; and a research and evaluation team led by George Siemens from The University of Texas at Arlington, a world leader in learning analytics.

“Achieving the Dream is the nation’s leader in building a network of community colleges truly committed to institutional change with the ultimate goal of improved student achievement,” said Dror Ben-Naim, CEO of Smart Sparrow. “We will rely on Achieving the Dream’s guidance and expertise as we work to increase awareness among colleges and engage their faculty in the Smart Science Network.”

Working together, Achieving the Dream, Inc. and its Network colleges have made significant progress in identifying solutions to institutional challenges and sharing effective practices and policies that help students, including low-income students and students of color, persist and succeed. Participation in the Smart Science Network is a natural next step as Achieving the Dream continues to guide, support, and inspire Achieving the Dream Institutions toward greater student achievement.

To read about the Achieving the Dream approach, click here.

Achieving the Dream, Inc. is a national nonprofit that is dedicated to helping more community college students, particularly low-income students and students of color, stay in school and earn a college certificate or degree. Evidence-based, student-centered, and built on the values of equity and excellence, Achieving the Dream is closing achievement gaps and accelerating student success nationwide by: 1) guiding evidence-based institutional improvement, 2) leading policy change, 3) generating knowledge, and 4) engaging the public. Conceived as an initiative in 2004 by Lumina Foundation and seven founding partner organizations, today, Achieving the Dream is leading the most comprehensive non-governmental reform network for student success in higher education history. With over 200 institutions, more than 100 coaches and advisors, and 15 state policy teams - working throughout 35 states and the District of Columbia – the Achieving the Dream National Reform Network helps more than 4 million community college students have a better chance of realizing greater economic opportunity and achieving their dreams.

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