Teachers constantly seek material and resources to enhance their lessons and connect with students. But finding innovative ways to spark engagement can be expensive. Schools have tight budgets, meaning most teachers are having to fund new supplies from their paychecks. Often, paying for educational dynamic initiatives is beyond a teacher's means.
Thankfully, grants and other funding sources are available to help teachers realize their vision.
Grants for Teachers
Teachers who want to help their students reach success can find funding assistance through grants, fellowships, and scholarships. These are available from various sources, including state and federal government, private companies, and charities.
Teaching grants are made available for different purposes and endeavors, such as:
Professional development: Acquiring funding to expand your skills and knowledge will free you from financial stress while enhancing your teaching. Remember, investing in your education is an investment in the students you teach.
Classroom enrichment: Education can be expanded beyond the textbook with guest speakers, Lego robotics and design challenge kits, app subscriptions, and clubs.
School supplies: Get funding for art projects, modeling, whiteboard markers, calculators, laboratory equipment, general materials, and more.
Field trips: Outings cost money even if admission is free. Funding can be used for transportation, meals, learning materials, first aid kits, name tags, and more.
Innovative projects and initiatives that will better the quality of education: There's funding for sports equipment, healthier food, STEM technology, diversifying classroom libraries, hygiene supplies, classroom pets, and more.
List of Grants for Professional Teacher Development
There are numerous professional development grants for teachers to enhance their work for their schools and students. We've highlighted eight for you to consider.
FirstEnergy awards one-time grants to educators looking for more innovative and resourceful ways to bring STEM into the classroom. The money is to be used on teacher professional development in STEM or new, not-previously funded individual STEM classroom projects. The grant is typically awarded in October, with an application deadline in late summer or early spring.
To improve your chances of being awarded the grant, the innovative project should:
Include the study of electricity and electricity production
Be a one-time, one-year implementation with target stages of evaluation
Demonstrate how they will improve, advance, and enrich student or teacher education
The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) oversees the annual Emerging Teacher-Leaders in Elementary School Mathematics Grants. Applicants are for math teachers working in PreK-5 who have at least three years' experience and are current NCTM members. The deadline is in November.
Amount: Up to $8,200 per month living stipend, $5,000 for travel, $1,000 educational allowance
The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program is open to K-12 STEM teachers with at least 5 years of experience. Those selected spend 11 months working in US Congressional offices or Federal agencies to provide feedback and input on education programming, policy, and reform. Applications are due mid-November.
Accomplishments from past recipients include:
Designing new elements of STEM education programs
Helping draft legislation to improve K-12 education
Amount: Year-long professional learning opportunity, 2-3 week trip abroad
The Fulbright Teachers for Global Classrooms Program is a unique opportunity for K-12 educators to learn more about global education. The year-long professional learning opportunity is broken into sections:
Semester-long course on global education best practices
In-person professional development in Washington DC
2-3 week immersive travel abroad experience
Applications are due near the start of the year and are eligible for teachers who meet the requirements:
US Citizens living in the US or US territory
Have a bachelor's degree or higher
3 years of teaching experience or more
Currently employed as a K-12 educator
Has not resided abroad for 5 years in the 6 years preceding the application date.
Award: around $50,000 (Award amount may change each year)
The Knowles Teaching Foundation Fellowships are a 5-year award for high school math or science teachers. The award provides grants for classroom material, professional development, and sometimes for leadership activities that go beyond the classroom.
Half the funds may also be used as an annual stipend to assist teachers in reducing debts sustained from their education and providing classroom material. Applications are usually due in early January. See full eligibility requirements here.
The NEA Foundation provides annual educator grants to teachers or educational support professionals, such as school bus drivers, custodial staff, and school nurses. Grants can be used to support various projects or professional development, including:
The NEA Foundation also provides a helpful video on how to apply for grant funding. Applications are typically between June and September.
The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program is through a collaboration between The National Geographic Society and Lindblad Expeditions. It provides Pre-K-12 teachers the chance to host Lindblad Expeditions' voyages for field-based experience. They will then make a 2-year commitment to be ambassadors for National Geographic's education initiatives.
Amount: Up to $10,000 per year, maximum $20,000 over 2 years
The McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation provides academic enrichment grants each year. The money may be used for programs that nurture the artistic, creative, and intellectual abilities of children of low-income households.
They especially encourage teachers to apply who:
Have projects to supplement the classroom curriculum
Hoping to create unique after-school activities
Looking to expand enrichment activities
Require materials, time, and transportation for special community-endorsed projects
The foundation accepts a maximum of 200 submissions a year between January and April, so apply early.
Fund for Teachers has been empowering teachers since 2001. In that time, $35 million has been invested in nearly 10,000 educators. They offer various grants throughout the year, such as theirFellowship Grant. Applications for the 2024 Fellowship open October 1st. Theironline learning center also provides an application toolkit to assist educators with their application.
TheNational Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) provides grants, scholarships, and awards to help math teachers and prospective educators. The opportunities vary, from funding research focus endeavors, professional learning, teacher professional development, using music to teach math, equity in mathematics, and tools and technology.
Opportunities run throughout the year. Popular closing dates are May 1st and November 1st. Eligibility depends on the specific grant or scholarship.
CEU and Professional Development
Continuing education for teachers (CEU) is mandated by states to renew and retain their licenses. One CEU typically translates to 10 hours of approved professional development or continuing education. How many CEUs a teacher needs depends on the state they work in and the type of license.
In the past, many school districts arranged professional development opportunities for their staff to ensure all CEU requirements were met. However, tight budgets have meant that teachers have increasingly had to take on the responsibility of their professional development and ensure they have enough CEUs to maintain and renew their licenses.
In addition, many high-quality teachers pursue professional development to ensure they can enhance and uplift their teaching. In our modern, fast-paced world, staying up-to-date with students' needs is an increasing challenge. Expanding resources, skills, and knowledge is crucial for teachers to succeed in the classroom and inspire.
Avoid These Mistakes When Applying for Your Grant
Every year, foundations are flooded with grant applications. To rapidly reduce the pile, applications containing obvious mistakes are not considered. Many teachers make these unfortunate errors due to being rushed or in their eagerness.
Our research has revealed the most common mistakes made in grant applications. Go over the list carefully to avoid these pitfalls and increase your chances of success.
Not including all supporting documents. Go over all requirements carefully, and don't submit until you have gathered all the necessary paperwork.
You don't provide enough budget detail in your grant proposal. Breaking down the costs of a project can feel like the job of a building contractor or corporate banker. But those awarding grants want a clear and detailed breakdown of the costs of your project. So, research how to present a clear, concise, and detailed budget proposal.
Your grant writing is lacking. There's a reason there are professional grant writers: persuasive writing is an art form. But do your research, frame your words to appeal to the target audience, keep focused, avoid tangents, and provide details clearly and concisely.
You're reusing the same pitch. If your pitch has failed, you need a new one. Also, each pitch should be tailored to the application, even if you apply for many grants for the same project.
You're not eligible for the grant. Always check the eligibility requirements. Many have very granular requirements. If you don't meet them, it is a waste of your valuable time to apply.
Get Funding to Grow Even More as a Teacher
Grant funding allows teachers to grow, benefiting the students they teach. Many opportunities are available, from life-changing adventures to providing desperately needed materials for a classroom.
However, grants are not easy to get. It takes time to fill out the forms, write the pitch, and gather all necessary documents. But trying to cut corners results in errors, and applications are tossed out of consideration. It's better to focus on a few and give them the proper research and attention than hastily filling out many.
Grant applications take time, research, and focus, but their rewards are high. Simple K12 is always here to help you try to reach success, whether it's answering questions or providing assistance with a grant application.
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