Meet the Finalists in the Instructional Coaching for Early Childhood Education Track | 2023-24 Tools Competition

We are pleased to announce the nine finalists named in the Instructional Coaching for Early Childhood Education track of the 2023-24 Tools Competition!

In this track, 99 teams sought to support instructional coaching for Pre-K to 2nd grade classrooms and expand teacher-centered principles in coaching practices, while advancing learning engineering as a whole.

Tools in this track address a range of pressing issues in instructional coaching for early childhood education, including enhancing early literacy instruction, boosting effective instruction for multilingual learners and also for special education learners, as well as improving early math instruction. We saw tools to improve the quality of observation and feedback for educators, support coaches and teacher-coach interactions, amplify opportunities for professional development, and enhance curriculum fidelity—including through the implementation of AI-powered tools.

This track is run in partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Read on to learn about this year’s finalists. Winners will be announced in summer 2024.


Catalyst Award Level ($50,000) for early stage ideas or products.
  • DREME Math Observer | Vanderbilt University

DREME Math Observer is a mobile application designed to support high-quality instruction of early math by providing instructional coaches, principals, site directors, teacher leaders, and others with a practical observation tool that helps them focus on high-leverage practices during a lesson walkthrough.

  • LEAP: Leveraging Educational AI for Professional Development of Early Elementary Teachers | University of Florida

LEAP is an AI-driven tool that transforms PreK-2 literacy instruction by using large language models to analyze classroom recordings for improved vocabulary teaching strategies and student feedback.


Growth Award Level ($150,000) for products with some users and scale.
  • AI Coach | Edthena

AI Coach is an AI-powered instructional coach to guide teachers through self-observation, goal setting, and action planning for their classrooms. Learn more on their website.

  • AI-BRIDGE: Advancing Instruction through Bilingual Recommendations for Inclusive Data-driven Guidance for Equity in Early Childhood Education | University of Minnesota

AI-BRIDGE is a tool to provide early educators working with multilingual learners with personalized instructional guidance based on children’s linguistic profiles, their English and Spanish language and literacy performance, and classroom instructional language. Learn more on their website.

  • COEMET Coach (Classroom Observation of Early Mathematics Environment and Teaching Coach Tool)  | University of Denver

COEMET Coach—a tool based on a research-validated classroom observation instrument—will greatly facilitate administration and scoring by coaches and other stakeholders and provide reports with actionable data to improve math instruction.

  • Filming Interactions to Nurture Development in Classrooms (FIND-C) | Stanford University 

FIND-C is a video coaching program that builds on educators’ strengths by using AI to identify and reinforce instances of responsive interactions with children. Learn more on their website.


Transform Award Level ($300,000) for established platforms with 10,000 or more users.
  • Empowering Educators: Revolutionizing Professional Development with AI- Enhanced Coaching | IRIS Connect

CLASS Insight is an AI-powered tool based on the CLASS framework that enhances teacher professional development, instructional coaching, and classroom effectiveness. Learn more on their website.

  • Individualized Support for Increased Interaction in Early Childhood | LENA

LENA’s AI-enabled instructional coaching tool individualizes support for increased interaction in early childhood by aggregating data on a child’s engagement in the classroom, teacher and child demographics, and feedback from the coaching platform itself to guide teacher-led learning and reflection toward improved instructional practice and child outcomes. Learn more on their website.

  • Waterford Mentor |

Waterford Mentor is an OpenAI-powered coaching tool delivering personalized instruction recommendations based on real-time student performance data in’s RCT-proven early learning program (PreK-2). Learn more on their website.


See finalists for all tracks here.

The Tools Competition has three phases and multiple award levels to help winners create or enhance their tools. In this current third and final phase, finalists will pitch their tool before a panel of judges who will nominate winners of the competition. 

The Tools Competition has previously named 80 winners from 35 countries who are impacting more than 107 million learners worldwide. 

The 2023-24 Tools Competition is supported by: Schmidt Futures, Griffin Catalyst, Walton Family Foundation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Siegel Family Endowment, DARPA, Ballmer Group, Calbright College, Axim Collaborative, Jacobs Foundation, Endless Network, and OpenAI. 

Join our mailing list to receive updates on the next competition cycle—launching September 2024!


Meet the finalists for the Building an Adaptive & Competitive Workforce track here. Meet the finalists for all other tracks here.