NEA Foundation grant enabled teachers to align curriculum
Have you seen one of your students struggling and known exactly what needed to be done? Do you have innovative ideas to improve student achievement in your school? Then apply for a grant from CTA’s Institute for Teaching (IFT).
Funded by voluntary contributions from CTA members, the program promotes and supports strength-based, teacher-driven change. Applying for the grant is simple and there are no strings attached, say grant committee members. Just do what you say you are going to do in your grant.
The grant evaluation committee members are Liane Cismowski, Mt. Diablo Education Association; Dave Orphal, Oakland Education Association; Cynthia Soares, Gridley Teachers Association; Barry Wissman, Palm Springs Teachers Association; and retired CTA staffer Kelly Horner.
They say the IFT Grant Program demonstrates CTA’s commitment to support teachers and support staff in their day-to-day work with students in their classrooms and their school communities.
Check out www.teacherdrivenchange.org for details. Their best advice: Write grants with a “strength-based” approach. Here’s more advice on grant writing.
Kelly Horner answers:
How are grants reviewed?
Know that each application is scored and discussed by the evaluation team to ensure that we each understand the intent of the applicants. At least two members of the team visit the sites of the grant recipients and report back to the IFT Board; the feedback we receive reinforces our goal that the process is simple, input is welcome, and inquiries are quickly answered.
How much can be applied for?
Educator grants are up to $5,000. Chapter grants are up to $20,000. I am amazed at the significant, positive impact the grants have on students and teachers. Each grant has been unique and creative, evidence of the time and energy the recipients) put into creating a positive learning environment for their students.
Anything to add?
Meeting these teachers and seeing and learning about the differences they are making in their students’ lives, and their own, has made a difference in my life. I wish everyone could visit these classrooms and talk with the teachers and have the opportunity to thank each of them for dedicating their lives to teaching.
Barry Wissman answers:
What is a strength-based approach?
The grant proposals must be strength-based, built upon identified strengths at the school site. During the grant writing process, stay far away from deficit-model language, i.e., this problem will be fixed with this proposal. Deficit-model writing can be difficult to avoid, but keep the proposal focused on strength-based thinking.
Grant writers should do some legwork first. Identify those school site strengths, develop a team to implement the grant, and recognize stakeholders who will lead to successful implementation. The IFT website is an invaluable resource on strength-based resources.
Be ready to hit the ground running when your grant is funded.
Your role in reading the grants?
I interpret grant proposals from a strength-based approach. I score grant proposals on how well they meet the seven criteria delineated in the grant application: Future oriented, school-family relations, schoolwide relations, student centered, work oriented, results oriented, and student relations.
How do CTA grants promote teaching and learning?
Instead of trying to fix a particular problem, the goal is to see what is working and to expand upon that. Our members are the experts at what will work at their schools, and the IFT grant allows them the freedom to do what they know will work.
Any other advice?
Apply! Develop a strength-based proposal and submit it. This is CTA dues money put to a wonderful use: supporting teaching and learning.
Related Tags: Volume 17 Issue 1, Make A Difference, Inside Educator, Educator, Advocacy, Curriculum, Foundation, Grants, Institute for Teaching, NEA, Reform, Scholarship,