Centervention Receives NSF Grant


Centervention Receives Prestigious National Science Foundation Grant to Develop Social and Emotional Skills, Behavioral Readiness Assessment for K-1 Students

Durham, North Carolina, January 2, 2018 —  Centervention®, the leading provider of game-based, social and emotional learning programs has received a National Science Foundation (NSF) SBIR Phase I grant to develop a program to assess behavioral readiness for students in kindergarten and first grade.

Since its formation two years, Centervention has released four programs to help students improve social and emotional skills: Zoo U for grades 2 through 4, Adventures Aboard the S.S. GRIN for grades 3 through 5, Hall of Heroes for middle school, and Stories in Motion for students with Autism.

“With this grant from the NSF, we will develop a game-based intelligent social tutoring system (ISTS) that assesses behavioral readiness and social emotional skills. Each student will create a personalized avatar and will be challenged with a series of simulated social scenarios,” said Jim Thomas, CTO at Centervention and Principal Investigator for the grant. “By comparing student responses in the game against research samples, our ISTS will allow educators to proactively and reliably identify students in need of additional support.”

Tim Huntley, CEO of Centervention, adds, “The earlier we can identify students who are struggling, the better chance we have to help them. And based on our conversations with educators across the country, we know that this program would fill an unmet need.”

“We are currently using Centervention’s Zoo U® as an intervention for social and emotional learning for students in second through fifth grades,” said Randi Peterson, Social Emotional Learning Curriculum Developer for Bellevue School District in Washington state. “The transition to formal schooling is pivotal, and we’re looking forward to using a program that addresses the social and emotional needs of our younger students. We see this as a way to build the foundation of a positive, safe learning environment for all of our students.”

During the first half of 2018, Centervention will develop a prototype of the program, begin testing it with educators and students, and will complete a preliminary research study. Based on the results of Phase I, Centervention will apply for a Phase II grant in fall 2018.


ABOUT Centervention
Centervention® is the leading provider of online programs that help students in grades K-8 improve social and emotional skills. These games are fun for students, automatically gather data so educators can monitor progress, and include supplemental lessons to reinforce learning. With Centervention, educators meet students where they are, address their unique needs, and do so in an engaging, effective way. To learn more, visit and follow us on Twitter at @Centervention.

ABOUT the NSF’s Small Business Programs
America’s Seed Fund powered by NSF awards nearly $190 million annually to startups and small businesses, transforming scientific discovery into products and services with commercial and societal impact. Startups working across almost all areas of science and technology can receive up to $1.5 million in non-dilutive funds to support research and development (R&D), helping de-risk technology for commercial success. America’s Seed Fund is congressionally mandated through the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. The NSF is an independent federal agency with a budget of about $7.5 billion that supports fundamental research and education across all fields of science and engineering. For more information, visit

Tim Huntley
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