Apply To The Institute

The NEA Foundation seeks to support committed union and district leadership who, together, identify meaningful work that they want to pursue together to improve the quality of teaching and learning in their communities. Union presidents and superintendents submit a joint application to help the Foundation assess their capacity for collaborative work and to help define whether the work that they want to do is something that we can support through our coaching and technical assistance program.

Instructions, Eligibility, Deadlines

We currently support Institute teams comprised of local education union and local school district leaders.


Together, please complete and sign the application (click “Apply” button) and submit via email to or via fax to Bonnie Cullison’s attention: (202) 822-7779. We review applications annually.


The application for the 2016-2017 school year will be available in May 2016.


The Institute has clearly articulated expectations of joint teams in terms of the way they think and work together. They are outlined below:


  • Have prioritized and jointly articulated a commitment to improve student learning and enhance teacher quality through changes in policies, practices and procedures, including contractual language.


*Examples of this commitment could include a union vote to participate in the Institute or a public statement from district decision-makers about pursuing collaborative policy change.

  • Have jointly reviewed and ratified a comprehensive plan of action to improve instructional practices and procedures. This plan will be data and research based, will positively impact student learning in measurable ways, and will include clear roles and responsibilities for both district and union representatives.
  • Have relationships with internal and external stakeholders.


  • Have forums in place beyond contract negotiations that sustain joint work with district partners as they develop and implement their comprehensive plan.


*Examples have included partnership councils with decision making authority, and regularly scheduled joint leadership meetings.

  • Have and will continue to commit human and financial resources to transforming the union-district relationship in a way that puts student learning and achievement at its center.


  • Adopt or maintain an organizational structure that reflects this collaborative focus on improved student learning and teaching practices.


*This structure could be reflected in committees, working groups or forums, dedicated staff or other enduring commitments.

  • Will be transparent with their work and serve as case studies.


  • Will give and receive feedback with other Institute teams and cohorts and actively participate in Institute meetings and activities.