Monday, March 25, 2013

From Nutrition and Environmental Consciousness to Common Core Standards, Educators Work to Improve Student Learning

The NEA Foundation Awards 55 Grants to Support Educators’ Innovative Ideas

WASHINGTON, DC (March 25, 2013)  —In Oakland, CA, Kathleen Bailey dreamt up the “Healthy Academy” at Oakland Technical High School to teach students about nutrition, cooking, and the impact of various food choices on the environment and local community through class demonstrations, health fairs, and writing assignments meant for publication. In Portland, OR, Michelle Peake, a school counselor at César Chávez School, will lead a group of Advancement via Individualized Determination (AVID) students in an environment awareness experience on sustainability, recycling, and clean energy at Oregon State University. And in Mount Washington, KY, Jackie Kessler of Mount Washington Elementary School will help provide school-wide professional development through a nationally-recognized program for the mastery of Common Core Standards called “Thinking Strategies.”


This is a small and very random sample of the innovative work the NEA Foundation is funding with its latest round of grants: awarded to 55 educators across 28 states for a total of $176,000.


“With these grants, we are supporting educator- driven solutions that contribute to improved student performance in public schools,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Our support enables educators to engage in a wide variety of innovative approaches to the benefit of students across the country.” 


The NEA Foundation awards two levels of funding, $2,000 or $5,000, for two primary categories of grants to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve academic achievement, and Learning and Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities. Of these, nine have been awarded for literacy projects in collaboration with strategic Foundation partner Mazda.


A team of 20 educators, many former grantees, carefully reviewed all applications and evaluated each one against a set of criteria. Funded grants were selected for the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement. Eighteen grantees plan to conduct interdisciplinary projects. The remaining grantees will address nine different subject areas, reaching a total of nearly 21,000 students and more than 1,600 educators at schools, where the average free or reduced lunch rate is 48 percent.



The NEA Foundation has invested more than $8.6 million in grants to support the work of almost 4,000 educators from every state in the country to help students succeed. Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 150 Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership Grants. To learn about these educators’ projects, visit our newly redesigned Grantee Archive, where you can search for grantees and projects by most recent, grade level, subject, state, or keyword.


The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year. The next grant deadline is June 1, 2013. Application forms and a video with step-by-step instructions on how to apply can be found in the Grants to Educators section of our website.

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About The NEA Foundation
The NEA Foundation is a public charity supported by contributions from educators' dues, corporate sponsors, and others who support public education initiatives.We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information. Find us on Facebook and Twitter, and visit our blog.

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