Michigan educators win NEA Foundation grants for innovation
Six Michigan educators recently received a combined $12,000 in grants from the National Education Association Foundation to help support their innovative techniques for improving student achievement and encouraging professional development.
“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.”
Jessica Cotter and Heather Peterson of Holt High School in Mid-Michigan were awarded a $5,000 grant to help launch a program that will train fellow educators in engagement strategies and literacy instruction.
The program will provide structured time for teachers to observe one another in their classrooms, with the goal of expanding collaboration between teachers. It will increase the capacity of teacher leaders to observe more classrooms and allow them to train newer teachers who might be unfamiliar with the observation process.
In Macomb County, Warren Woods Public Schools educators Michele Morgan and Deborah Carlton received a $2,000 grant to develop a 21st-century woodshop, which will provide inclusive, curriculum-based opportunities for special needs and general education students.
Students will work together to design, program, cut, and finish awards and trophies for the National Honor Society, the Special Olympics and the school’s athletic department. The woodshop will provide a unique opportunity for special needs and general education students to work side-by-side on challenging hands-on projects.
Third-graders at Zilwaukee International Studies School in Saginaw will become community development specialists, thanks to a $5,000 grant provided to third-grade teacher Jodi Decuf and her co-applicant, Mary Paetz.
Decuf and Paetz will lead students in two project-based learning units in which they’ll identify, investigate and propose solutions for a problem they feel exists in their community. Students will be taught valuable critical thinking skills, and will use computer programs and iPad applications to aid them in solving their chosen problem.
The NEA Foundation awards 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. Morgan, Carlton, Decuf and Paetz won Student Achievement grants, while Cotter and Peterson were awarded Learning and Leadership grants.
The NEA Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year. The next grant deadline is Feb. 1, 2013. Application forms and a video with step-by-step instructions on how to apply can be found at www.neafoundation.org.
A team of 20 educators, many of whom are former grantees, carefully reviews all of the grant applications and evaluate each one against a set of criteria. Funded grants are selected for the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement.
In its latest round of grants, the NEA Foundation gave out 49 awards totaling $197,000 to educators in 26 states.
In total, the NEA Foundation has invested more than $8.6 million in grants to support the work of almost 4,000 educators from every state to help students succeed.
Go to http://www.neafoundation.org/listings/grantee-archive to view a searchable database of grantees and learn more about their award-winning projects.