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Great Public Schools Grants

In July 2013, NEA members voted to develop a fund that would provide grants to affiliates with promising projects and ideas to help improve student success. This fund became known as The NEA Great Public Schools (GPS) Fund. To qualify for a grant, applicants must be able to demonstrate how their programs and projects would enhance the learning and support of their students, support professional development and leadership and contribute to the overall success of the students in their schools. As the grants will support innovative projects and ideas to boost student learning, many of the approved projects address issues/subjects of paramount concern to educators everywhere, including but not limited to: Peer Assistance and Review programs, Mentoring Programs, Successful Implementation of Common Core Standards, School Safety/Anti-Bullying training, initiatives to increase the number of National Board Certified Teachers, as well as Professional Development and Technology. In determining which applications would be funded, NEA developed a list of criteria based on the key elements of NEA’s Raise Your Hand campaign. Since the Fund’s inception, NEA has awarded more than $1 million to more than 13 projects. Additional grants will be awarded and some original grants will be renewed.






Kenai Peninsula Borough School District

Kenai Peninsula Education Association will use their $20,893.00 NEA Great Public Schools Fund Grant to help Kenai Peninsula Borough School District (KPBSD) develop a cadre of teacher instructional observers who will help provide individual teachers critical feedback in the classroom. Interacting with highly skilled observers (both teachers and administrators) improves teacher quality as it allows for much more growth than a standard evaluative observation.

The program will develop 12 teacher instructional observers using the Danielson Framework for Teaching, alongside a cadre of administrative observers to develop a valid and reliable teacher evaluation process.


California Teachers Association

California Teachers Association (CTA) was awarded a $250,000 NEA Great Public Schools grant to ensure the successful implementation of the Common Core Standards (CCSS) in the California. With the support of NEA, CTA will partner with the California Department of Education and the West Ed to pool and coordinate material and human resources in a multi-year implementation support program.

The grant will support day-long invitational meetings of teachers and administrators (approximately 1,000 educators) to an orientation to the CCSS. Those teachers will then bring back what they’ve learned to their local districts. The meetings will be conducted jointly by the California Department of Education (CDE), WestEd, and CTA staff.

The grant will also provide funding to develop a program to train and coordinate regional teams of mentor teachers who will be available to deliver practical coaching as their colleagues learn the skills necessary to implement the content in the CCSS. These teams will cultivate knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to support their local colleagues through face-to-face and online collaboration.


Colorado Education Association

Colorado Education Association (CEA) will develop a partnership with CEA, Durango Education Association, Durango School District, and the Public Education Business Coalition (PEBC) to design cooperative a process that invests in professional learning embedded in the classroom.

The NEA Great Public Schools Fund Grant will allow CEA to emphasize the successful implementation of Common Core, student learning assessments, educator accountability and other issues related to teacher’s practice.

The CEA believes that the value of Association membership is inextricably linked to its success in promoting issues related to teaching and learning and advancing the profession. The CEA believes that educator leadership is essential in facilitating improvements in instruction and promoting practices that will encourage the success of all students.

The CEA will also partner with EnetColorado to provide online resources to help with the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS).


Illinois Education Association

The Illinois Education Association has been awarded $222,000 to lead a cohesive train-the-trainer program in an effort to train educators state-wide to implement Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in Illinois.

The grant will fund the training of up to 20 members in five locations across the state with the expectation that the trainers will support others at the school level.  Online supports will also be provided, which will include online module training for use at the school level with technical assistance being provided by the cadre, program coordinator, and the CEI department within IEA/NEA.  The continued development of resources will be accessible through the IEA website.

The plan includes providing training and support to educators statewide through a CCS program coordinator (IEA member) who is an expert in common core standards. The grant will also support the Living Library, a valuable online resource that will house Common Core materials that are updated regularly.


Maryland State Education Association

Local school districts in Maryland will embark on a full-scale implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA), literacy, and mathematics in school year 2013-2014.

A key to success in implementing the CCSS, and ensure student success, is to provide teachers with support, training, and resources to assist in instruction. MSEA’s goal is to create a diverse cadre of leaders from around the state to deliver CCSS professional development programs and activities directly to educators to improve their professional practice. The professional development will be delivered regionally for a variety of audiences, from MSEA members to parents, community representatives, and other education stakeholders.


Massachusetts Teachers Association

The Massachusetts Teachers Association will engage educators in helping shape the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and define the policies around the effective measurement of student learning to ensure student success. This grant will support locals who actively bring educators into the decision-making process of the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education concerning the effective implementation of CCSS and adoption of effective measurement of student learning.

The Massachusetts Teachers Association will also partner with TeachPlus and other external organizations, in order to promote readiness for the implementation for these new standards.


Stadium View School

Stadium View School in the Hennepin County Juvenile Detention Center (Minnesota) was awarded $25,000 to support the project “Restorative practice, social connectedness and resiliency.” Stadium View serves students in the 11-21 age-range (the average age is 16) and the majority of the students are two to three years behind in terms of school; their average length of time in the center and school is 14 days. Science teacher Tarri Levine works with the students to find something they are passionate about and uses it to build up their self-worth, honing in on wanting them to continue with academics and increase the amount of quality time they spend learning. The grant money will also be used for self-publishing examples of poetry and music produced by students. The Hennepin County libraries have agreed to house the poetry books. Levine is working with students to self-publish a poetry book and music CD.


Ohio Education Association

OEA will use the NEA Great Public Schools Fund Grant to strengthen educators’ voices in school improvement while advocating for the effective implementation of Ohio’s New Learning Standards (ONLS). The funding will be also be used to help educators develop resources for the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) as well as advocate for the teaching and learning conditions necessary for student and educator success.

The driving issues for the OEA will be ONLS and the Ohio Teacher Evaluation System. They will support educators in becoming leaders and messengers advocating for quality teaching and learning conditions in their schools. The immediate goal is for educators to succeed at school district integration with the new standards, assessments and evaluation.

OEA’s goal is to lead a student-centered agenda, improve the quality of public education and elevate the teaching profession.


Oregon Education Association

With the NEA Great Public Schools Fund grant, OEA will take lead on the effective implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) while engaging with parents and community leaders to positively influence the classroom experience for students and educators.

OEA will engage and empower educators to advocate on professional practice and education policy issues, lead local quality education initiatives; and build a continuum of support for the education profession and strategies for educational transformation.

The grant will support the OEA to:

  1. Work with partners to create a comprehensive, sustainable long-term plan for CCSS implementation, including professional development.
  2. Develop a tool or utilize an existing tool to assess educator and school district implementation needs and inform professional learning opportunities.
  3. Develop and/or adopt professional development modules and materials that can be used by individual educators, local associations and school districts.
  4. Engage in regional parent and community townhalls to help the public understand how important it is to implement CCSS successfully.


Alpine Education Association

As standards in Utah evolve to meet the dynamic needs of students preparing to compete in the global economy, the Alpine Education Association (AEA) is helping students and teachers stay ahead of the curve. AEA, in partnership with the Utah Education Association (UEA), will use the $5,000 NEA Great Public Schools Fund Grant to support teacher quality in schools by providing each AEA member with a toolkit with guidelines to successfully meet expectations in each new teacher standard recently established by the Utah State Office of Education.


Federal Way Education Association

The Federal Way Education Association committed resources to create a cadre of exceptional educators to help craft quality improvement plans for educators who are not meeting teaching and learning standards. Specifically recruited and trained, these educators have been viewed as ‘exceptional’ by their peers and evaluators. They successfully assisted principals in crafting fair and reasonable improvement plans that would help struggling colleagues meet the standards of the new evaluation system. The results were dramatically positive and feedback on the work of the cadre to help advance the Association’s goal of a quality educator in every classroom has been highly favorable.  Federal Way Education Association received a grant to continue this important body of work and expand it to include teachers in the development of teacher evaluations and lead the effort to promote teacher growth/improvement.


Puget Sound UniServ Council

The Puget Sound UniServ Council will use the NEA Great Public Schools Fund Grant to reach out to new educators to identify their professional needs so that they can develop tailored programming.  They will then implement a SPARKS program to provide the specific information and training that will build the quality of the new educator’s practice. The grant will allow the Puget Sound UniServ Council to provide professional development to educators directly, both on the implementation of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and in building the skills and knowledge that could lead educators to national board certification.

The Puget Sound UniServ Council will also develop a training that will help educators reach out to the community and engage parents in the successful implementation of CCSS.


Washington Education Association

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) represent the next wave of reform affecting members and students in every K-12 public school. The state of Washington is the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Lead Procurement State and a “Governing State,” as well as a Next Generation Science Standards “lead state partner.” Washington Education Association (WEA) is developing and implementing a new, integrated statewide professional development network that will engage and professionally develop members, train leaders and staff, build stronger locals and collaborate with local communities. With this grant, WEA’s professional development network will significantly enhance CCSS implementation and thus positively affect members and students.