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Foundation Voices, Stories from the Field

Foundation Update – December 2020

Foundation Launches Major New Initiative to Increase Community Schools in the South

The pandemic has revealed what many educators and education leaders have long known: across the country, we need schools that serve the many, diverse needs of students, educators, and communities. To address those needs, the NEA Foundation has launched an initiative to support the development and expansion of community schools and related policy in the South.

The Southern Regional Alliance for Community Schools, represents a new partnership among educators, advocates, organizers, parents, policymakers and public officials across East Baton Rouge Parrish, La., Little Rock, Ark., and Jackson, Miss.  At the local and regional levels, these partnerships are committed to an expansion of community schools throughout their own local education agency, including rural schools. To support their efforts, the NEA Foundation has provided planning grants coupled with technical assistance and training, and we are hosting monthly regional convenings during which the funded sites exchange ideas and hear from both local and national thought leaders advancing the community schools strategy.

Look for much more to come from the Foundation and our many partners on this initiative over the next several months.

Celebrating Educator Excellence!

On February 12, 2021, the NEA Foundation will continue its annual tradition of celebrating exceptional educators in grand style during its Salute to Excellence in Education Gala. In 2021, this event, widely considered the Academy Awards of Education, will occur on an exciting new virtual platform.

The 2021 Gala, including all of the laughter, tears, and inspirational moments for which the Salute to Excellence has become known, will honor 46 Awardees for Teaching Excellence, and include the live presentation of the top award winner. The 2021 Gala also will be open to the public, permitting more friends of public education to celebrate along with us – more than ever before! Visit our gala registration page for more information and to register right away for the big event.

From Fairbanks, Alaska to Frederick, Md., Educators Vie for Top Award

Whether through a computer screen or across a classroom, outstanding educators’ powerful impact on their students has endured during this challenging year. To celebrate five such educators, the NEA Foundation was proud to announce this year’s Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipients in October. These five finalists for the top honor to be bestowed at the NEA Foundation’s annual Gala, are change makers in diverse communities, committed to helping students’ and colleagues’ reach their full potential.

The Horace Mann Awards for Teaching Excellence recipients are nominated for their dedication to the profession, community engagement, professional development, attention to diversity, and advocacy for fellow educators.

“These educators represent the best in public education through their passion for making a difference,” said Sara A. Sneed, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation. “Their schools and stories may be unique, but their dedication to educational excellence fulfills a shared commitment to keep the promise of public education. In ordinary times and amid the types of challenging circumstances we face today, educators always are an enduring force, enabling children to flourish, both in and out of school.

The Horace Mann Awardees will be honored during the NEA Foundation Salute to Excellence in Education Gala on February 12, 2021. Learn more about each of the awardees.

Standing Up for Students Means Breaking Down Cultural Assumptions and Bias

As the nation confronts long-standing issues of racial injustice, many public school educators and advocates are encouraging their peers and others’ greater understanding of the barriers many students of color face in their classrooms and communities. As examples, educator and 2020 Horace Mann Awardee Patricia A. Hannon and Kevin S. Amidon, Ph.D., director of the honors college at Fort Hays State University, have written that, “the journey to greater cultural humility, addressing long-standing issues of bias in the classroom begins with three core principles.” Hannon and Amidon shared with the NEA Foundation their perspective on how public schools can better understand students of all backgrounds and create a positive, culturally aware environment.

Bring the World to Your Classroom with a Foundation Fellowship
The Foundation’s commitment to supporting educators’ professional development continues with the 2022 Global Learning Fellowship (GLF)! We invite public educators to grow their global learning proficiency and join the nearly 400 alumni who have completed the yearlong GLF professional development journey.

Through the NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellowship, public school educators develop the knowledge and skills to integrate global competency into their daily classroom instruction, advocate for global competency in their schools and districts, and help students to thrive in our increasingly interconnected world. Fellows transform their classrooms to give students a global perspective.

Ready to get started? Apply here today! Applications are available now through February 1, 2021!

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