New York, NY, May 23, 2016—Classroom, Inc. has been awarded a three-year, $1.05 million grant to support a new digital learning platform, Read to Lead; the expansion of its Transition to High School Programs for students in grades 6-9; and an enhanced program evaluation model.

Classroom, Inc. and the New York Life Foundation are partnering to offer a new approach to building literacy, leadership, and decision-making skills for middle school students in high-poverty communities. While only 19% of 8th grade students who live in poverty are proficient in reading, a research report released this month found that Classroom, Inc.’s game-based approach successfully closes the achievement gap in reading for low-income students. Students who used the first game in the Read to Lead series, After the Storm, jumped ahead of their peers and exceeded expected reading growth by 160%.

Classroom, Inc.’s digital learning games, set in the professional world, achieve these results by inviting students to “become the boss.” In the process, they read closely, think critically, build 21st century skills, and solve real-world problems, all while balancing the hectic demands of an exciting, simulated workplace. Classroom, Inc. will also provide participating teachers with assessment tools to tailor instruction to students’ needs.

Transition to High School Programs will help students develop the literacy skills they need for high school-level work. This will help middle school students be better prepared when they enter high school.

Finally, an improved evaluation model will enhance Classroom, Inc.’s ability to use data to help teachers target the needs of individual students; adjust programs to improve quality and outcomes; and inform the content and instructional methods of future games to most effectively meet teacher and student needs.

“Student engagement and practical real world experiences are key factors in helping middle school students make the important connection that the skills they learn in school are important skills they will need and use in the workplace,” said Marlyn Torres, Senior Program Officer, New York Life Foundation. “We invested in Classroom, Inc. because they are a leader in the field of digital learning games that have been proven to help struggling students make academic gains.”

“New York Life Foundation’s support has been essential to Classroom, Inc.’s growth over the past five years. Our experience shows that a successful transition to high school means helping students improve their literacy skills while giving them a chance to envision their future,” said Classroom, Inc.’s President Lisa Holton. “This exciting partnership with the New York Life Foundation will make it possible to bring game-changing literacy programs to students in under-resourced communities throughout the country.”

The grant is the largest foundation grant in the organization’s history and will help Classroom, Inc. to reach 2,500 students in cities including New York, NY; Chicago, IL; Los Angeles, CA; Birmingham, AL; West Palm Beach, FL; Daviess, Kentucky; and Youngstown, OH.


Classroom, Inc. is a nonprofit that develops literacy and leadership skills for middle school students in high-poverty communities. Students become the boss through our digital learning games set in the professional world. In the process, they read closely, think critically, and solve real-world problems, all while balancing the hectic demands of an exciting workplace. By putting students in charge of their learning and providing support for educators, our programs deeply engage students and foster the critical literacy skills that will help them thrive in school and beyond. A full report on Classroom, Inc.’s impact, called Changing the Game for Adolescent Literacy and Leadership: Results from the Learning Game After the Storm, is available for download from Classroom, Inc. A summary of key findings is also available. Learn more about our revolutionary approach, and find out how you can help a


Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided more than $217 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement and childhood bereavement. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees, agents, and retirees of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program. To learn more, please visit