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2023-24 Tools Competition

Instructional Coaching for Early Childhood Education

Finalists for this track have been announced. Learn more here.

Phase III results were released on April 4, 2024. For Phase II competitors, please contact our team at if you would like to receive feedback on your Phase II proposal. 

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Learn About the Track

Track Description

Tools that support instructional coaching for Pre-K to 2nd grade classrooms and expand teacher-centered principles in coaching practice. Competitors in this track should propose tools that facilitate continuous data collection on classroom quality and teacher-coach interaction, and provide teachers with actionable feedback on their practices and learning environment.

This may include, but is not limited to, tools for:

Coaching is an effective process to help teachers reflect and receive feedback on what works in their instructional practice and where they can better support students. It is an opportunity for teachers to partner with another educator in support of their own professional development.
However, there remains an urgent need for coaching tools that are responsive to teachers’ unique contexts and student populations. Teachers at the early learning level face the unique challenge of supporting the development of learners’ physical, social, emotional, and academic capabilities at the very start of their learning experience.
This track seeks to spur innovation in tools that leverage data to measure coaching impact and refine coaching processes. Such tools can promote more meaningful collaboration between teachers and their coaches, ensuring teachers are driving their own development and are equipped with the resources needed to best support students.

Target User/Audience

Coaches and teachers at the Pre-K to 2nd grade level, including instructional coaches, peer teachers, and center directors or principals. Competitors whose tools currently operate in the K-12 space, but are seeking to expand to the Pre-K to 2nd grade level are also encouraged to apply.

Who should submit?

This track is open to United States competitors only. We welcome proposals from teams or individuals from all backgrounds, including researchers/universities, edtech companies, educators, or students (undergraduate or graduate).

Competitive Priorities

Based on the most pressing needs in learning and learning technologies, a subset of awards will be reserved for tools that:


While the Tools Competition has different tracks and competitive priorities from year to year, the winning tools below are examples of what would be considered compelling for the Instructional Coaching Track in this year’s competition.


Tools Competition judges play a critical role in selecting Tools Competition Winners and bring expertise spanning philanthropy, research, industry, and education. Judges will hear virtual pitches from finalists in Phase III of the competition.

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Ely Amador

Bilingual Transitional Kindergarten Teacher
Berkeley Unified School District
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Gary Bingham

Georgia State University
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Barbara Chow

Education Program Director
Heising-Simons Foundation
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Caroline Ebanks

Vice Dean for Research
Teachers College, Columbia University
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Todd Grindal

Co-Director, Center for Learning and Development
SRI Education
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Sunil Gunderia

Chief Innovation Officer
Age of Learning
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Snow Li

Program Officer, Early Learning
Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
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Sara Mead

Deputy Superintendent for Early Learning
District of Columbia Office of the State Superintendent of Education
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Jenny Mosley

MLE Program Officer, Early Learning
Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
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Carly Roberts

Associate Program Director
Overdeck Family Foundation
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Priyanka Shah

Universal Pre-School Program Developer
Boston Public Schools

Compete in this Track

1. Select your award level

When submitting a proposal, competitors must select the relevant award level based on the size and scale of their tool. Proposals at all award levels should detail how the proposed tool will solve a defined problem, rather than focus on past achievements.

Catalyst Level Awards: $50,000

These awards are designed for early-stage competitors.

Growth Level Awards: $150,000

These awards are designed for competitors with a tool with some users and scale.

Transform Level Awards : $300,000

These awards are designed for advanced competitors with an established tool.

2. Apply for the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize

Determine whether you are eligible to apply for the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize (optional).

Implementation Impact Prize:

Supplemental funding of $100,000 is available to select winners at the Growth or Transform level that form or expand a partnership to co-design, user-test, pilot, or validate their product in publicly-funded preschool settings. Competitors may also describe an existing relationship with a state educational agency (SEA), local educational agency (LEA), public Pre-K or Head Start program, especially one that predominantly serves Black and Latino children and children from low-income backgrounds.

In Phase I, competitors will indicate if they intend to compete for the Implementation Impact Prize. In Phase II, competitors will detail their partnership plan and submit a letter of agreement from the partner.

OpenAI Learning Impact Prize:

In partnership with OpenAI, the Tools Competition is thrilled to offer the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize to catalyze the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) on learning outcomes and drive edtech innovation leveraging advanced computational methods.
Given the rise of ChatGPT and growing interest in the possibilities of AI in educational settings, the 2023-24 competition is especially interested in supporting teams that are exploring, testing, or using AI-enabled tools and services to impact learning.

OpenAI will select up to three recipients of the OpenAI Learning Impact Prize among competition winners who will receive $100,000 in additional funds, $10,000 in OpenAI API credits, and technical guidance from OpenAI engineers. Select contenders will also receive $2,500 in OpenAI API credits.

Competitors across all tracks that indicate an interest in being considered for this award will complete additional requirements when submitting their proposal materials. 

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Proposals will be evaluated for the following criteria



Novelty of the tool
and technology



Potential impact and likelihood to
improve learning



Attention to equity to support learning of historically marginalized populations



Demand from learners, families, and educators



Ability to support
learning engineering



Ability to scale to additional users and/or domains

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What is a Tool?

The Tools Competition funds edtech tools and technologies that support learning outcomes and can contribute to learning science research.

Eligible tools have the potential to generate novel learning data that researchers can study to better understand learning at scale. This may include an app, software, algorithm, or other digital technology that facilitates or supports continuous data collection and has the potential to scale at minimal cost.

Please note that this definition is not exhaustive. As technology continues to develop and innovations are created globally, other tool concepts may also be competitive.

Not sure your tool is eligible? Explore winning tools from previous years or get in touch.



September 21, 2023
Competition Launch
November 10, 2023
Deadline for Phase I Abstracts

Competitors submit an abstract describing the concept for their tool and responding to the evaluation criteria.

December 8, 2023
Select competitors invited to Phase II
February 2, 2024
Deadline for Phase II Proposals

Competitors develop a proposal and budget detailing their tool and its technology and responding in detail to the evaluation criteria. Rubrics will be posted when Phase II opens.

April 2024
Finalists invited to Phase III pitches
April-May 2024
Phase III Pitches (virtual)
Finalists pitch before a panel of expert judges and have the opportunity for support and feedback in crafting their pitch.
June 2024
Winners Announced
Winners are announced and receive the first installment of their award. Winners receive coaching, the opportunity to connect with leaders in the field, and the ability to present to researchers or to refine their tool.
Year Following the Competition - Winner Impact Study
All winners will work with Georgia State University during the year following the competition to define impact measures for their tool and set up processes for ongoing data collection and evaluation.
December 2024
Product Review Day
Winners present on their progress to date and receive feedback from other winners and leaders in the field. Progress is considered against winner’s proposal and receive the second installment of their award after Product Review Day.
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Explore a Different Track

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