The Center for Education Reform (CER), through partnerships with a long-time board member and philanthropist, with Forbes conglomerate, introduced the STOP Award in August of 2021. The STOP Award is a $1 million dollar prize presented to an education provider, exceptional group of people, or organization that has demonstrated accomplishment during COVID by providing an education experience that is Sustainable, Transformational, Outstanding, and Permissionless.
“There are so many heroes who responded to the Covid crisis in the education sector,” says Janine Yass, STOP Award benefactor. “You were focused on kids and families. You did what you had to do and we are so grateful for that. We created this award to honor your work and we knew if we built it you would come.”
The award is committed to helping ensure that families, now and in the future, get what they deserve: access to individualized learning opportunities for their students, offered in supportive environments, alongside their peers.
Exceptional Microcosm of Transformational Work
After receiving a deep and extremely impressive wave of applications, organizers identified an exceptional group of 20 Semifinalists which were announced in early November.
From this notable group, their team faced the difficult task of selecting five worthy Finalists. These special groups were recognized on December 8th. Together, these five nominees form their distinguished Finalist Cohort.
The STOP Award semi-finalists represent a microcosm of transformational, outstanding work from education providers who delivered for kids during the pandemic. They are big and small and represent public, private, charter, tech and community groups. They hail from both coasts and the states in between.
This award, created to honor and advance the work of education providers that continued to perform during Covid, honors all whose work shines above the rest. Learn more about their journey, and the others here.
Tech Tools, Just Beginning
Many entrants created or otherwise used 21st-century technology tools to accomplish their goals. One semi-finalist, Rock by Rock, is led by co-founders Jeffrey Imrich and Sung-Ae Yang: “We are building a Netflix of project-based learning – an on-demand, affordable library of projects for kids and educators in any setting to empower kids to direct their own learning.” Despite supply chain challenges, Rock by Rock built and delivered its entire curriculum in 5 months rather than the 2 years that were envisioned, and identified families whose need was greatest during the pandemic.
Said the organizers: “We are grateful to all those who applied for the STOP Award and regret that all cannot make it to the semi-finals! The STOP Award team was honored to learn about hundreds of efforts that we did not know existed, and to learn how many thousands of lives were supported by those efforts. There is so much work to do. STOP is just beginning. Please follow along with us on Instagram and through this process, and please, keep us informed of your efforts!”
The inaugural STOP Award Winner will be revealed during the annual 30 Under 30 gathering hosted by Forbes on December 14, 2021. Learn more.