The National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsors a series of Informal Science Education programs. Its newest program is called After-School Centers for Exploration and New Discovery (ASCEND). In fiscal year 2001, 40 to 60 awards totaling $24 million will be made. Proposals for ASCEND funding should engage middle and high school youth in substantive out-of-school activities that explore science, mathematics, and engineering. Improving children’s technology literacy is a stated part of the program’s goal, and applicants should clearly state their intent to use computers and scientific instruments. Projects can be proposed by schools, corporations, foundations, and others (e.g., museums, zoos, community centers, homes). Projects should reach large audiences or have the potential for significant national or regional impact, and they should help groups of children typically underrepresented in science, mathematics, and technology. Preference also will be given to projects that involve parents in their children’s education and projects that promote public understanding of scientific research. Collaborative projects between academic and non-academic institutions are strongly encouraged.
Deadline: Aug. 14 for preliminary applications; Nov. 15 for full proposals
Contact: Division of Elementary, Secondary and Information Education, (703) 306-1606
Teacher Enhancement Program
The Teacher Enhancement (TE) program is part of NSF’s Instructional Materials Development Program, which supports the development of instructional materials for science, math, and technology educators in grades K-12. TE has several subparts, one of which is titled “Pilot Projects: Local Systemic Change, Teacher Retention & Renewal, Mathematics and Science Courses for Improving Teacher Qualifications, and Professional Development with Emerging Technologies,” for which grants are available. In fiscal year 2001, some portion of the approximately $55 million in the TE program will be awarded to projects in this subcategory; no project will receive more than $200,000. One of the primary stated goals of the TE program is to “support the use of technology in the teaching of [science, math, and technology] at the preK-12 level and in the professional development of teachers.” Grant seekers should explain how their projects will support one or more of the goals in the program’s title by developing new projects (note the term “Pilot” in the title). For example, a local systemic change project would try out exemplary instructional materials and effective instructional strategies, including innovative use of classroom materials such as computers and scientific instruments. Or a project on professional development could suggest how to use new technology tools to improve teaching through in-service education or ongoing training.
Deadline: Aug. 14 for preliminary applications; Oct. 23 for full proposals
Contact: Dr. Susan Snyder, Secondary and Informal Education, (703) 306-1620 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Arts in Education Grants
This U.S. Department of Education (ED) grant competition supports media literacy projects in schools. ED defines “media literacy” as understanding and interpreting the artistic content of images, including violent messages, transmitted through the electronic media. These grants are intended to support projects that enhance students’ understanding of violence in media and projects that encourage students to create nonviolent media projects. The grants are funneled through local educational agencies (LEAs). Eligibility is limited to LEAs in which at least one school has 75 percent of its students eligible for Title 1 assistance. Eight to 10 awards of $50,000 to $150,000 each will be made, for a total of $990,000.
Deadline: Aug. 21
**NEW THIS MONTH**
Coca-Cola Foundation Grants
The Coca-Cola Foundation has three focuses for its philanthropic giving, one of which is support of innovative classroom teaching and learning in K-12 schools. In total, the foundation gave nearly $11.5 million in 1999 and $12.5 million in 1998. The foundation looks especially favorably upon programs that are small and well-targetede.g., helping elementary and secondary students with a particular issue, such as civil rights or the environment. Funds also can be applied toward tuition for training that will result in new instructional techniques in the classroom. Public and private school educators serving children of all ages may apply for these grants. Although the monetary size of grants varies considerably, a quick review of successful applicants from the past two years indicates that $5,000 to $25,000 is typical.
Deadlines: Quarterly, with next deadlines on Sept. 1 and Dec. 1
NEC Foundation Grants
The NEC Foundation of America makes cash grants to nonprofit organizations for programs with national reach and impact in one or both of the following areas: (1) science and technology education (principally at the secondary level), and/or (2) the application of technology to assist high school students with disabilities. These are not grants for the purchase of specific computer equipment for a specific individual, nor does the foundation broker the donation of NEC equipment. Winning projects typically have focused on disseminating products and information to target groups or expanding the scope of an existing program with national impact. The grants, which range from $1,500 to $70,000 each (with a median of $28,000), are awarded twice per year.
Deadlines: Sept. 1 and March 1
Contact: (516) 753-7021
Distance Learning and
This program from the U.S. Department of Agriculture offers loans or combination loans and grants to rural districts and other nonprofit entities for the implementation of distance learning or telemedicine projects in rural areas. Applications may be submitted any time up to Sept. 30 and will be processed on a first-come, first-served basis. For 2000, $130 million for loans and $77 million for combination grants and loans is available.
Deadline: Sept. 30
**NEW THIS MONTH**
Urban Initiative Grants
These National Education Association (NEA) grants, now in their 16th year, are open to all NEA affiliates with at least 500 members. NEA will award 25 grants of $5,000 each for projects that help accomplish one or more of the organization’s goals for taking leadership in reforming K-12 education. Projects that involve partnerships between schools and communities, particularly if new members of the community can be encouraged to become stakeholders in education, are preferred. Although technology is not a focus of the program, per se, many of last year’s winners proposed to create or expand mentoring programs for new teachers; these programs could incorporate a technology-in-education element. Similarly, several programs proposed to mentor teachers in low-performing schools, which often present the potential for improved use of computers in the classroom.
Deadline: Sept. 30
Dow Chemical Co. Foundation Grants
Dow supports K-12 programs in the areas of math and science, teacher training, and parental involvement. Grants may include cash, products, in-kind services, and volunteered time. Dow will not give a grant to an individual school. Instead, the company targets its giving toward school districts; national, state, or local programs; and programs to encourage women and minorities in math and science.
Deadline: Sept. 30
Interagency Education Research Initiative
This is a research program, jointly funded by NSF, ED, and the National Institutes of Health, to assess the large-scale implementation of innovative approaches to using technology in the classroom, as well as other novel educational approaches. Approximately 25 awards will be made this year, totaling $38 million. Projects can focus either on early learning of foundation skills (such as reading, mathematics, science) or on adaptation to increasingly complex mathematics and science for older children. An example of a foundation study with a technology component cited in the project solicitation reads, in part: “How can computer and information technologies be used for enhancing the scalability, implementation, evaluation, and sustainability of instructional approaches for improving early reading skills in the context of complex educational environments beyond a single or small numbers of classrooms? What new instructional methods or strategies are made possible with computer and information technologies?”
Deadline: Oct. 2 for letters of intent; Feb. 2 for full proposals
Contact: Nora Sabelli at (703) 306-1650 or email@example.com
The National Foundation for the Improvement of Education’s Leadership Grants underwrite professional development opportunities for public school teachers and education support personnel to prepare them for collegial leadership. Sponsored by the NEA, these grants enable teachers to lead the educational process from the classroom, rather than having school administrators direct curricula. Up to 50 grants of $1,000 each are awarded each year in two rounds of competitions. Grant candidates should demonstrate a specific need for the knowledge or training that will be supported. Eligibility is limited to employees of public school systems. Although technology training is not the focus of the grant program, a list of recent winners’ proposals included online education courses, attendance at SchoolTech 2000, and the creation of an online “teacher community” to address how to meet new state education standards.
Deadlines: Oct. 15 and March 1
**NEW THIS MONTH**
Alliance for Minority Participation
The Alliance for Minority Participation program is part of NSF’s effort to increase the participation and achievement of underrepresented groups and institutions in the sciences and mathematics. The Human Resource Development for Science, Mathematics, Engineering Education and Research Grants Program, also known as NSF 98-19, offers “Comprehensive Partnerships for Mathematics and Science Achievement” to support educational systemic reform in city school districts. Districts must have at least 20,000 students and cannot be eligible to participate in the Urban Systemic Initiatives program, nor have received a Local Systemic Change award. Winning applicants are expected to demonstrate links with institutions of higher education, other educational organizations, and community groups in the design and implementation of a combination of in-school student and teacher enhancement activities. The solicitation states that “the integration of computer technology in classroom and laboratory settings in the context of mathematics and science standards is strongly encouraged.” Long-range programs that work throughout the secondary school pipeline are preferred. It is anticipated that five grants will be made, and typically they are worth $200,000 per year for up to five years (with a maximum of $800,000).
Deadline: Oct. 15
Free Career-Planning Videos
The Career Education Network (CEN), one of the leading sources of career-planning information for high school guidance counselors, has contacted principals at the nation’s 15,000 high schools to offer at no charge a series of career-planning videos. Twelve of these videos are available now as part of a series that will cover “dozens of industries and careers,” said CEN President Doug Clark. Each video is about 30 minutes long and includes interviews with companies and employees in various industries who discuss the types of skills needed to work in their field. “The videos have been extremely well-received,” said Clark. “The Milwaukee school system has started to incorporate them into its curriculum, and they’re great to display in the library as a career resource.” The videos also provide information on using CEN’s extensive career-planning web site, a free service for both career counselors and students.
Contact: Doug Clark, (800) 283-8477
Sponsored by cell phone manufacturer Nokia and a consortium of cell phone service providers (organized by the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association), this program gives cell phones and free calling time to classroom instructors. The program is designed to create additional in-class learning opportunities by enabling students to call subject matter experts during school time, and also to provide instructors with emergency access to telephones to ensure their safety and the safety of their students. To date, more than 28,000 cell phones and 12 million hours of free phone time have been donated. Among the innovative uses of the system has been a project in a private school in Florida that allows each teacher to place his or her homework assignment on wireless voice mail daily, so that parents can call in and confirm their children’s homework assignments. Grants are made by individual local wireless providers; to find out if your provider is participating in the program, go to the ClassLink web site.
Robert H.Michel Civic Education Grants
The Dirksen Congressional Center is offering a total of $40,000 for projects that create lesson plans and/or student activities on Congress, government, and civics. Projects that use multimedia applications are preferred, especially as they facilitate identification of additional resources for teaching the historical basis for legislative and regulatory rules. Teachers of students in grades 4 through 12 can apply for the grants; institutions cannot. The grant administrators emphasize that they are seeking “practical classroom applications” in the lesson plans and use of technology. Applicants should begin by sending a short letter or eMail that outlines their project; promising candidates will be asked to submit more detailed information. Proposals may be submitted at any time during the year.
Contact: Frank H. Mackaman, Executive Director, at (309) 347-7113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
NSF Special Categories for Full Proposals
NSF has developed a series of programs that support efforts to improve students’ understanding of science, mathematics, and technology. Most of these programs have well-defined aims and deadlines, but NSF also makes a provision for small grants that do not fit neatly into its program categories. One set of grants is aimed at helping assemble teams of experts to speak at conferences, seminars, and symposia. Another set of grants are called “Planning Grants,” and these are sought by groups that need more funding in order to complete a project. With these grants, NSF particularly supports new groups or large consortia that are serving groups underrepresented in science, mathematics, and technology. Another category is “Small Grants for Exploratory Research,” which NSF describes as delving into traditional areas with new approaches, researching new areas, or working on problems requiring urgent attention. NSF encourages prior contact with an officer of the Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education division before submitting a request.
Contact: Call NSF at (703) 306-1234 and ask for the Elementary, Secondary, and Informal Education division
Launching its new Teach America! program with a major media splash through President Clinton’s “New Markets for the Digital Economy” tour, the Gateway Foundation has promised to provide free technology training to 75,000 educators in public and private schools. Successful applicants will receive one year of free access to an online database containing more than 400 technology training courses, which run the gamut from word processing, to web site design, to spreadsheets, to computer-aided drafting. Applicants can be individual teachers or school district media representatives. Applicants must file a short note indicating their reasons for wanting access to the online training program and their plans for using their knowledge in the classroom.
These grants from the Electronic Industries Foundation, which will be made in the spring of 2001, encourage creative teaching through technology-based math and science projects for fifth through eighth graders. Awards of $2,500 to $5,000 will be made. While project proposals must be submitted by schools or teachers, they also require a corporate partner who will provide a level of real-world applicability to the program. Projects should demonstrate to students the real-world impact of math and science, and they require at least two critical skills (e.g., critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork, etc.). Because the grants are targeted for underserved communities, demographic evidence supporting that claim must be provided. Funds must be used specifically to support the proposed classroom project and may include computers, graphing calculators, or software. Teacher training or technical support also can be funded, and requests for field trips, classroom supplies, or instructional kits are eligible, too.
Contact: Marcie Vorac at (703) 907-7408 or email@example.com
Toshiba America Foundation Grants
The Toshiba America Foundation awards grants for programs and activities that improve the classroom teaching and learning of science, mathematics, and technology for middle and high school students. Public and private schools, local educational agencies, and youth organizations across the United States may apply. Projects should provide direct benefits to students and should include teacher-led, classroom-based experiences. The Small Grants Program awards grants of up to $5,000 monthly throughout the year. The Large Grants Program awards grants of more than $5,000 in March and September (with deadlines of Feb. 1 and Aug. 1, respectively). The total annual grants budget is approximately $550,000.
Contact: (212) 588-0820 or firstname.lastname@example.org