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The Smart Schools–Smart Families Project

“Creating digital age educational opportunities to match the expectations of

digital age students."



Developed by

  EPIE Institute (501(c) 3, not for profit)

With funding from:

 The U.S. Department of Education

The William Randolph Hearst Foundations

The Tomorrow Foundation

Cisco Learning Institute

Local and state Education Agencies


Kenneth Komoski, Founder and Director


National Advisory Board

James S. Asher, Vice President for Development, The Hearst Corporation - David Alexander, Executive Director, Cisco Learning Institute - Edgar S. Cahn, President, Time Dollar Institute - Richard S. Gilkey, Director of Technology, Portland Public Schools (Ret.) - Maryann Marrapodi, Educational Consultant - James O. Langley, Vice Chancellor, University of California, San Diego - W. Curtiss Priest, Director, Center for Information, Technology and Society - Malcolm W. Robinson III, President, IZOD, Phillips-Van Heusen - Frederick Rodgers, Professor of Education, University of Illinois, Champaign

Smart Schools-Smart Families Project




Facts and Fee Schedules

Developed by: EPIE Institute (501c3), not-for-profit developer of www.eLearningspace.org, chartered by NY State Regents since 1967; manager of the Smart Schools-Smart Families Project since 1999.

Student Levels:  eLearningspace (eLs) currently serves 3rd-12th grades

Curriculum Areas:  Mathematics, Language Arts, Science, Technology (computer skills), ESL,
Family Health and Nutrition (emphasizing risk prevention)

Goals:  The Project’s ‘learning and earning’ goals are to help schools and families use eLs to motivate 3rd to 12th graders to:

  • Increase and reward students’ out-of-school learning time and in-school performance; 
  • Decrease students out-of-school TV watching and
    other nonproductive “screen time;”
  • Decrease students’ opportunity likelihood of participating in out-of-school at-risk behaviors,
  • Increase and reward students’ academic enhancing service learning opportunities.


Impact on Instruction:

Facilitates standards-based teaching and learning in school and at home; increases time-on-task, especially during out-of-school independent learning time. It is a promising, effective academic intervention strategy that encourages and rewards self-directed instruction and motivates learning with earning.

Impact on Staffing:

Assigned eLs liaison staff member for each school, and a family liaison from PTA is recommended. Requires minimal staff development time. And rewards teachers with Bonus Credits.

Impact on Schedule:

Relatively little time required for planning and professional development, as eLs’ teacher/student interfaces are quite intuitive. It rewards students for learning outside the normal in-school schedule.

Parental Involvement:

Supports learning at home and learning-focused communication between school-home, parents-teachers, and it engages parents in their child’s learning. And it rewards parents with Bonus Credits.

Membership Fee Schedule:

Annual per-school membership fees are based on a school’s enrollment:

  • Enrollment 1-299 students…   $   600 per school
  • Enrollment 300-499 students.. $   800 per school
  • Enrollment 500-699 students.. $1,000 per school
  • Enrollment 700-899 student..  $1,200 per school
  • Enrollment 900-1199 students $1,400 per school
  • Enrollment of 1200+ students. $1,600 per school

Annual district-wide memberships (for more than      three schools) are 20% less per school, including at-school, after-school programs.

Schools with tight budgets may find funding help from PTAs, businesses, state or federal grants and, in some cases, a local education foundation or individual donors.

Sustaining Membership Services

For an annual Sustaining Member services fee, each Sustaining Member School receives the following membership services and benefits.  These services are school specific and go beyond the free services available to individual students, parents and teachers who register as users of www.eLearningspace.org .

Sustaining Member Services Include:  

    • Principal’s access to aggregated summary reports on students self-testing, self-diagnosis and progress on strengthening academic performance, including information on student hours spent – and time dollars earned – doing out-of-school learning using eLs;
    • Principal, Teacher and district office access to individual students’ diagnostic testing results and eLearning Plans created by students and stored in students eLearning Journals;
    • Teachers’ being able to create eLearning plans for their classes and/or individual students, store these plans in their personal eTeaching Journal and then assign the plans to students to do as” learn-and-earn homework;”
    • Students being able to earn a greater variety of products and services with the Time Dollars they have earned by learning and testing themselves at eLs;
    • Teachers earning eLs TEACHER CREDITS for every eLearning plan they create for student use. Teachers may use their Bonus Credits at the eLs Teachers Credit Redemption Center for air travel, hotels, teaching materials and other goods and services;
    • Parents earning eLs PARENT CREDITS for time spent working with their children within eLs:  reviewing test results, noting a student’s strengths, diagnosing weaknesses and helping younger learners to create eLearning Plans;
    • At a member school’s discretion, the school will be able to awarded Bonus Credits to parents for attending parent-teacher conferences; volunteering to help teachers in class, supervising student after-school activities such as students’ community service learning-and-earning projects.
    • With the Member school’s permission, the schools PTA will be able to award Bonus Credits to parents for attending PTA meetings and for creating eLs Family Health and Nutrition Plans with their children, and storing them for family use in their eLs Parent Journal.
    • Note: Assistance in developing after-school eLs Learn-and-Earn Home Computer Programs that enable students and families that lack home computers to earn them is available at a cost not included in the Annual Sustaining Member Fees.

      Content – Cost Comparison Chart


The Education and Social Ventures at the Columbia University School of Business and Teachers College created the chart that appears below. They created it as part of the pro bono marketing research they contributed to the Smart Schools-Smart Families Project. The group selected a representative sample of web-learning services to compare to www.eLearningspace.org -- in relation to quality and quantity of educational content and cost. The group’s unique presentation of their analysis of the findings of this comparison, makes clear that eLearningspace is well positioned to succeed in achieving its goal of becoming a sustainable, high-content, low-cost service to students, parents, teachers and schools.