Steppingstones of Technology Innovation for Children with Disabilities

This U.S. Department of Education (ED) program supports projects that enable educators to improve services to children with disabilities. The program explicitly supports technology-based approaches, such as technology that aids the deaf or the visually impaired. Applicants should demonstrate how they will provide early intervention for children with disabilities. Up to 11 grants of $200,000 or more are available for the creation of curricula that help bring educational opportunities and support federal education reform initiatives. State and local educational agencies, institutions of higher education, other public agencies, private nonprofit organizations, and other groups are eligible; partnerships between groups are preferred. Within this program are several sub-programs that are particularly technology-oriented. For example, at least three projects will be funded under the program titled “Technology and Media Services for Individuals With Disabilities,” which is designed to promote the development, demonstration, and use of technology and educational media. This program provides support for some captioning, video description, and cultural activities.

Deadline: Dec. 8 FedRegister/announcements/ 2000-3/082900c.html

National Schools of Character

Ten K-12 schools each will receive $2,000 and substantial press coverage for their efforts to teach character to their students. This competition, now in its fourth year, provides awards to schools that have been teaching moral issues by using the “Eleven Principles of Character Education” curriculum. Winning applicants have enhanced this curriculum in innovative ways. Several past winners have used technology to help disseminate messages of character. For example, Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi, Md., an award winner in 1998, has created a daily television program that focuses on key virtues, among other activities. The program’s sponsor is the Character Education Partnership, which includes nearly every significant educational association and organization in the country.

Deadline: Dec. 11

Imation Computer Arts Scholarship

Open to high school students in public or private schools, this program from Imation will provide 25 scholarships of $1,000 each for top computer artists from around the country. Schools must hold contests and send in their winners for consideration; schools may nominate one candidate per 1,000 students. Quality and creativity are the benchmarks for judging the contest. Last year’s contest generated about 650 entries. The National Education Association and the American Association of School Administrators co-sponsor the program.

Deadline: Dec. 15

Magnet Schools Assistance Program

Sponsored by ED, these grants support programming in public K-12 magnet schools, including equipment purchases that are related to an overall educational mission. The grants are intended to support programs that enhance the ability of magnet schools to attract and retain minority students, and magnet schools using technology as a draw have been successful applicants in the past. Grant recipients will receive substantial awards—$200,000 to $3 million per year for up to three years—from this program that is budgeted for FY 2001 at $92 million. As many as 60 awards will be made; some cost-sharing is expected on the part of applicants.

Deadline: Dec. 22

Contact: Steven L. Brockhouse at (202) 260-2476. 073100b.txt


GTECH Education Grants

These grants from GTECH Holdings Corp. support K-12 programs that bring technology into the classroom, train children and teachers to use technology, promote cultural sensitivity, and educate children about international commerce. The company focuses its giving in communities where it does business—including communities in California, Illinois, New York, Ohio, Rhode Island, Washington state, and the District of Columbia—although applicants are encouraged from around the country. The company does not have a formal application, but its web site describes the guidelines for written submissions. GTECH Holdings is one of the largest operators of state lotteries.

Deadline: Dec. 31


Growth Initiatives for Teachers (GIFT)

This program used to be administered by the GTE Foundation until GTE and Bell Atlantic merged to become Verizon earlier this year. It’s now administered by the Verizon Foundation, though little else has changed. The program encourages innovative math and science teaching by annually providing 140 outstanding secondary school educators with funds for professional development activities and hands-on classroom projects. Teams of full-time science and math teachers in grades 7 through 12 (grade 6 if from a middle or junior high school) in public and private United States schools may apply. Each team must consist of one science teacher and one math teacher from the same school. Applicants must propose a school enrichment project that integrates math and science into classroom activities and uses technology in an innovative way. Each winning team shares a $15,000 grant—$8,000 to implement the project and $3,500 for professional development activities for each team member. Recent winning projects have included using DNA fingerprinting to learn more about an endangered fish species; examining the cellular mechanisms of cancer to look for mathematical relationships between normal and diseased cells; and using Global Positioning Systems and computer-based labs to help restore a natural sand prairie.

Deadline: Jan. 12

Contact: (800) 315-5010 or


Interactive Education Initiative

Now in its fourth year, the AOL Foundation’s Interactive Education Initiative program provides teams of educators with seed money to develop and implement hands-on projects that integrate technology into the K-12 environment. In each of its first three years, the foundation made 50 to 60 grants, and a similar number likely will be made this year. The AOL Foundation seeks to support collaborative projects, especially those that create a network of educators across the country who will work in tandem. Projects for children in underserved communities receive priority consideration. Grants of up to $7,500 will be made, and the foundation is more generous than many grantors in its guidelines for how funds can be used, including computer equipment and peripherals directly related to the project; educator training (and related travel to training); student transportation; and the purchase of “release time” for teachers to work during school hours. America Online, through volunteer staff time or online assistance, also provides support services, as needed.

Deadline: Jan. 18

Toyota TAPESTRY Grants

The 2001 Toyota TAPESTRY program, sponsored by Toyota Motor Sales and administered by the National Science Teachers Association, will award 50 grants of up to $10,000 each to K-12 science teachers. Interested teachers should propose innovative science projects that can be implemented in their school or school district over a one-year period. Winning projects must demonstrate creativity, involve risk-taking, possess a visionary quality, and model a novel way of presenting science. Successful grant-winning projects, such as a mobile observatory to study light pollution and an interactive paleontology lab, often include the use of technology.

Deadline: Jan. 18

Contact: (800) 807-9852



National Leadership Grants for Libraries

These wide-ranging grants from the federal Institute of Museum & Library Services assist libraries in serving their communities more effectively through the creative use of new resources such as the internet and digital imaging. The program provides grants of $15,000 to $500,000, with cost-sharing required on all projects except research projects. About 15 grants will be made in the following categories: (1) education and training; (2) research and demonstration; (3) preservation or digitization; and (4) museum-library collaboration. Competition is open to all libraries and library systems, including school libraries. In fiscal year 2000—the program’s first since it was reorganized to reflect new national priorities—several projects that received significant funding targeted K-12 children. For example, the Detroit Public Schools and the Maryland Department of Education received more than $163,000 and $246,000, respectively, to reopen school libraries and recruit and train school library media specialists. The St. Louis Public Library received more than $219,000 for a two-year demonstration project that will evaluate whether the digital divide can be reduced effectively for school-age children by the presence of computers in public libraries. Note: Applications are quite extensive (typically more than 20 pages) and should not be started just before the deadline.

Deadline: Feb. 1 (except for museum-library collaboration grants, which are due April 1)

Contact: Jeanne McConnell at (202) 606-5389. lib_nlgl.asp#appl


Reading Excellence Program

This ED program funds three-year projects that seek to meet the goals set out by Congress in the 1998 Reading Excellence Act: (1) ensuring that children are ready to learn to read when they enter school, and (2) providing necessary support for children who are falling behind on the national standard for reading proficiency by the end of the third grade. In particular, the program funds training programs to improve teachers’ skills in teaching reading. Computer-based, in-class reading aids for children can be purchased with funds received, but these purchases must not be the primary use of the funds. State education agencies apply for the awards, then provide the funds to local education agencies to implement projects at the school or district level. In FY 2001, ED anticipates making 17 new awards of $2 million to $35 million each.

Deadline: Feb. 2

Contact: Nancy Rhett at (202) 260-8228.


Community Technology Centers

Sponsored by ED, these grants establish or expand community technology centers in economically distressed urban and rural areas. The centers are intended to provide access to technology and promote the use of technology among all populations in underserved areas, and often they are located in K-12 school districts. Several districts have used these funds to purchase computers and related equipment, connect these computers to the internet, and maintain online connections in order to support community centers, which are open to the public in the evenings and on weekends. Local education agencies, consortia of nonprofit groups, and state education agencies are eligible to apply for the grants. ED estimates that 80 to 100 awards will be given in this cycle, averaging $200,000 to $250,000 each.

Deadline: Feb. 16

Contact: Community Technology Centers team at (202) 205-8270.


Inspired Teacher Scholarships

for Visual Learning

Inspiration Software has announced its third annual round of scholarships designed for educators who champion visual learning in the classroom. Scholarships of $500 will be awarded to 20 public or private K-12 school educators who use the company’s Inspiration concept mapping software, up from 10 in each of the two previous years. The funds are intended to support ongoing professional development in educational technology and to champion the inclusion of visual learning methods in the classroom. Recipients are compensated for attending a conference, graduate course, or training event where visual learning is highlighted.

Deadline: March 1