For Immediate Release
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Hudson, Coral Springs, Immokalee and St. Petersburg Schools Named Among America's Most Innovative; Will Compete As Semifinalists for $1 Million National Prize
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 13, 2022 - Four unique Florida schools - HOPE Ranch Learning Academy in Hudson (Pasco County); Kind Academy in Coral Springs (Broward County); RCMA Immokalee Community Academy in Immokalee (Collier County); and, SailFuture career prep high school in St. Petersburg-have been named among America's most innovative and effective educational organizations and semifinalists for the $1 million Yass Prize, which will be awarded December 14 in New York City at an event held in partnership with Forbes Media. Each of the 32 semifinalists, including the four local organizations, will receive a minimum $200,000 prize.
HOPE Ranch Learning Academy is a nonprofit private school for "neurodivergent" learners (those with ADHD, autism, dyslexia and other barriers to learning). Kind Academy is a microschool, providing families individualized online, in-person and hybrid learning options. RCMA Immokalee Community Academy is a bilingual charter school operated by the Redlands Christian Migrant Association. And SailFuture is a foster care agency and private school designed to meet the educational needs of some of Florida's highest-risk teens.
Awarded annually, the Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless Education, administered by the Center for Education Reform, is quickly becoming one of the most prestigious honors in PreK-12 education. It is awarded to the education provider whose innovative product or program is judged to give students the most effective, transformational and lasting educational experience possible-with a clear, barrier-tree path to success.
Some 2,700 organizations from 48 states- including public, private nonprofit and charter schools, education technology companies, miscroschools and a variety of other nonprofit organizations- entered the competition for this year's prize. Most of the organizations named as semifinalists were singled out for creating new forms for delivering education, such as microschools, pods, and hybrid learning environments that combine both the public and private sectors, innovative charter schools, private schools serving specialized student populations underserved by traditional schools, and ed tech apps. Several are parent-led organizations and others combine career prep and apprenticeships with traditional learning.
The 32 Yass Prize semifinalists will compete next month in the competition's "accelerator" round, from which the winner and six runners-up (each of which will receive $250,000) will be selected. Altogether, more than $11 million in prize money will be awarded.
"Those who think a quality education is no longer available to American students whose families aren't wealthy should look at the extraordinary range of success stories told by our semifinalists," said Janine Yass, founder of the Yass Prize.
"They take many different approaches, and face many different challenges, but they all arrive at the same destination: students who are successful in school and are highly likely to be successful in life as well." Many of the organizations reach their goals on a shoestring, she stressed. "We are honored to recognize their extraordinary creativity, tenacity and achievements and help them build for the future."
Jeanne Allen, director of the Yass Foundation and founder and CEO of the Center for Education Reform, said the awards program is helping to build a "critical mass of innovation and success" beyond the confines of America's troubled public-school systems. "We are hopeful that what we see and learn from each year's competitors will be applied by others to improve their own schools. As the Yass Prize competition confirms, there is no reason tor tallure. Given the right tools and environment, even children in the most challenging circumstances can learn.
The $1 Million Yass Prize for Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding and Permissionless Education celebrates the country's education provider which best demonstrates the STOP principles. In conjunction with The Yass Prize, the STOP Awards initiative provides more than $16 million in support annually to honor educators who achieve and deliver for underserved children through the STOP principles. To learn more about the work and the incredible education providers who have been honored, visit yassprize.org. For media inquiries, please contact John at 202-203-9088 or pravassprize.org