2015 Grants Challenge

Graduate thousands of L.A. High School Students with an Awesome Teacher & an Innovative App

Our proposal is to take otherwise non-graduating students and help them graduate by focusing on the fail they received in biology class (often the only obstacle between them and a diploma).


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles


How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

Conduct research

Engage residents and stakeholders

Implement a pilot or new project

Expand a pilot or a program

How will your proposal improve the following LEARN metrics?​

Percent of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Youth unemployment and underemployment

District-wide graduation rates

Academic Performance Index* scores

College matriculation rates

Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to LEARN.

It's difficult for any human being to sit in a classroom for six hours a day. They should have to do endure that to graduate from high school; however, by focusing one a huge requirement for high school graduation (passing biology), we can not only make students smarter with the notification and feedback system we've developed to make every student engage socially (but privately) in biology class. By focusing on biology class, we think we can help these kids graduate from high school and change the trajectory of their lives.

We'll work with who we feel is one of the most accomplished science teachers in the nation who has achieved goals no on would have ever thought possible. Not only does he teach, but it turns out most of his students are teachers too. The 8th Graders teach the sixth graders all the math, science and writing to get every student at a level most people would have a hard time believing. We think his approach and what we discovered in the field are aligned. We think its the magic behind what many consider impossible. We're duplicating this process with our software, and we believe that by giving our tool away to students and teachers that we can begin to truly achieve 100% graduation rates. Of course, we have to gather the data, learn from our mistakes, and work with some of the best programmers (founding CEO of Pandora.com, Jon Kraft, and the guy who built one of the most secure websites in the world (stamps.com). We will talk to teachers and students everyday to make sure we're doing it right. Once we get it right a year from now, we'll be able to duplicate our success year after year, and apply what we learned by working with other teachers in other subject areas.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

We wil evaluate our work by comparing results with students who use our platform to students who use another learning platform. We think LAUSD is probably tackling this problem now on some level. Our Learning Xprize insights surprised even us. This got us pretty excited and even inspired some legends in the tech industry to work with us. We think it could be done in a much more effective way by segmenting the biology content and assessment in a way that is delightfully simple and clear. By working closely with 2-4 high schools and their counseling staff, we will compare the performance of 200-400 students who use our app compared with those who don't.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed

Money (financial capital)

Volunteers/staff (human capital)

Publicity/awareness (social capital)


Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)

Community outreach

Network/relationship support

Quality improvement research