Combining Fun with Fundamentals: Innovative Education Programs in the 21st Century

We recently talked to Joe Pizzo, an English educator at Black River Middle School in Chester, New Jersey. His NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership grant helped him develop a project that’s still engaging students years later, so we wanted to learn more about his ideas! Here’s what he told us. We’ve included some of his students’ projects for you to see as well.

Tell us about your NEA Foundation grant project.

After my students read Lois Lowry’s The Giver, we

11 Awesome Education Grants to Apply for This Summer

As final exams wrap up and students and educators part ways for the summer, it’s natural for educators to want to take a breath and unwind from a hectic school year. However, it’s also an excellent time to think ahead and look for

Lessons Learned: Multiplying First Graders’ Love of Math with NEA Foundation Grants

First grade teacher Diane Ward applies her NEA Foundation Student Achievement Grant to rethink math class. Ward and her grant co-applicant, Laurel Donley, who both teach at Clearmount Elementary School in North Canton, Ohio, set up stations with

Lessons Learned: NEA Foundation Grant Gets Preschoolers Communicating

We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words. Katrina Moreno and Karen Young-Jones, preschool para-educators from Port Arthur, Texas, hope that their students can cash in on those words by becoming photographers. They told us a

Hey NEA Foundation Grantees, Show Us Your Innovative Work!

We know our NEA Foundation grantees do innovative and important work, and our hope is to share knowledge gained from your grant projects with other educators. 

Would you and your students like to be featured? Here’s how! Send us videos and

Teaching How to Teach: Meet Excellence in Education Award Winner Debra McDonald

This blog series features five educators who will be honored by The NEA Foundation with the prestigious 2016 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence, $10,000 and recognition as one of the nation’s top educators. They will be celebrated at

Watch Education Leaders Talk Equity, the Achievement Gap and more on October 8-9, 2015


What can you expect to hear? This year’s live streamed event promises to unapologetically examine issues of equity and inclusion, teacher effectiveness, collaborative practice, and even lessons from Finnish education policies.

On October 8-9,

Learning in a Looping Classroom: Meet Excellence in Education Award Winner Dirk Andrews

This blog series features five educators who will be honored by The NEA Foundation with the prestigious 2016 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence, $10,000 and recognition as one of the nation’s top educators. They will be celebrated

Watch a Sixth Grade Math Class Transform into Blended Learning

Dixon-Smith Middle School educator Stefanie Root had a tough problem to solve: how to divide her attention among 30 students, many of whom needed remedial math instruction. But, with the help of a $5,000 Student Achievement Grant from the NEA

Why My Teachers Need Your Support to Close the Achievement Gap

By Jordan McGhee
Summer Intern

We asked our summer intern, Jordan McGhee, a rising high school junior, about the importance of supporting educators and students with new classroom materials. Here is what she had to say.

Every year, public school educators spend more than $500 out

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Join us on February 10, 2017!

Educators from across the country traded their classrooms for a night on stage, where they were honored by more than 850 national education leaders and supporters in Washington, D.C.

 

Did you attend? Now, you can purchase photos from the evening.

 

 

Celebrating 42 educators from across the country

It is our pleasure to distinguish these extraordinary educators with the 2016 California Casualty Awards for Teaching Excellence. These prestigious awards recognize, reward, and promote excellence in teaching and advocacy for the profession. All deserve our recognition and sincere thanks, but we had to choose one for our highest honor.

 

And the award goes to...

Photo: Esai Morales, award-winning actor and gala host; Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Debra McDonald; Gary Phoebus, President and CEO of NEA Member Benefits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the evening’s finale, Debra McDonald, an early childhood education instructor at Wayne County Schools Career Center in Smithville, Ohio, took home the top honor: the NEA Member Benefits Award for Teaching Excellence and $25,000! 

 

Watch Debra McDonald’s acceptance speech below.

 

 

Five educators receive top awards

Photo: Dirk Andrews, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (WY); Pam Wells, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (SD); Debra McDonald, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (OH); Crystal Brown, The NEA Foundation Board Chair; Lily Eskelsen Garcia, NEA President; Heather LaBarbara, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (KY); Mohsen Ghaffari, Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipient (UT)

 

 

 

 

Of the 42 educators honored that night, five also accepted the 2016 Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence and $10,000, as finalists for the evening’s top honor. Their students could not be more proud of them!

 

Watch all five videos, which premiered during the gala, that students created using iPads to honor their award-winning educators.

 

Harriet Sanford shares story of hearing from former student—40 years later

Watch Harriet Sanford, the NEA Foundation's President and CEO, share a heartfelt story about a blast from her past — a text message she received from a student she taught 40 years ago — below.

 

 

Hispanic Scholarship Fund honored

Photo: Harriet Sanford, President and CEO of the NEA Foundation; Esai Morales, award-winning actor and gala host; Crystal Brown, NEA Foundation Board Chair; Fidel A. Vargas, President and CEO of  the Hispanic Scholarship Fund; Stephen Eulie, Executive Vice President of Consumer Banking, First National Bank of Omaha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The NEA Foundation also presented the Hispanic Scholarship Fund with the First National Bank of Omaha Award for Outstanding Service to Public Education, paying tribute to their distribution of more than $470 million dollars in scholarships Latino college-bound students since 1975.

 

This award recognizes individuals and organizations for their lifelong commitment to advancing public education and is typically presented to those who work outside the field. Awardees have included former President Bill Clinton, Title IX advocate Billie Jean King, and Sesame Workshop.

 

Watch Fidel A. Vargas, President and CEO, accept the award of the behalf of Hispanic Scholarship Fund below.

 

 

With host, actor and activist Esai Morales

Photo: Esai Morales, award-winning actor and self-described "actorvist," reads tweets from the audience live on stage: "@MarkMautone: @Esai_Morales you rocked it! Thank you for supporting educators."

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year, Esai Morales, an accomplished actor who appeared in the biopic “La Bamba,” the HBO Series, “The Brink,” and the television series “NYPD Blue” and “Criminal Minds,” served as charismatic emcee and host. Morales cofounded the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, following in the activist footsteps of his mother, who was an organizer for the International Ladies' Garment Workers' Union.

 

That night, he led guests and those watching the live stream from home or at viewing parties in cheering on the night’s biggest stars.

 

Special guests take the stage

Photo: Students from the Young People's Chorus of New York City, which now has 1,400 students from New York, ages 7 to 18, participate annually.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With students at the center of public education, a group of English Language Learner students, who participated in a NEA Foundation-funded, high school theater program in Annandale, Virginia, also took center stage to perform Shakespeare. The Young People's Chorus of New York City wowed audiences with renditions from "The Sound of Music," and audiences also enjoyed the music and dance of Furia Flamenca and Torcuato Zamora, an accomplished flamenco guitarist from Spain.

 

Watch the Young People's Chorus of New York City perform the evening's finale below.

 

 

A special thank you to all who helped us celebrate the best in public education! Save the date for next year’s gala on February 10, 2017.