- General Assembly a learning center that "teaches the skills workers need now;"
- Revolution Foods, a company that provides 300,000 meals of what it calls "real food" to schoolchildren in 25 cities, at a price of $3 per meal;
- ·Bridge International Academies, which operates the largest chain of for-profit schools in Africa, at a fee of $5 per month per enrollee, with plans to educate 10 million students per year by 2025;
- Summit Public Schools, a charter management organization serving the San Francisco Bay Area, for creating a "best-in-class" model of blended learning;
- Democrats for Education Reform, for sparking a "new willingness to battle for education reform;"
- Edcamp, a nonprofit nurturing a "grassroots teacher movement" by encouraging educators to gather for noncommercial "unconferences," where they share their insights on topics identified the day of the event;
- Google, for "developing teacher-friendly tools at budget-friendly prices;"
- The College Board, "for redesigning the SAT;"
- Teachers Pay Teachers, "for offering teachers a marketplace for their knowledge and experience," in an exchange where they can buy lessons and classroom tools from one another;
- Kaymbu, a startup focused on connecting parents of preschoolers with what their children are accomplishing in the classroom.
I don't usually provide lists like these from other blogs or publications, but there is so much groundbreaking innovation going on in education that I felt compelled to share this with you. With proper attribution, I'm stealing from both Fast Company and Education Week this week. For truth in advertising, I subscribe to Education Week online. I am not affiliated with them in any way other than that. Fast Company is a real page-turner every month, you can subscribe for a nominal fee.
Take some time to visit the company websites listed above. You will be as amazed as I am at the creative thinking that is going on out there in the private sector. As a grants person, I usually have my head stuck in government-land because so much of the work I do is sorting through government grant websites. I'm going to sound like a republican here (Dad, I'm so sorry), but the corporate world is seizing the day to provide teachers with great resources for their classrooms. Most are cloud companies and some SaaS (Software as a Service) examples.
I also never recommend reverse engineering a grant application project—to write a grant to purchase a specific product or service. However, here you are looking at solutions to some of the big problems your school and district face each day in a changing, complex world. You'll want to stay abreast of things like these to weave into projects you already have in the pipeline. Share this blog with your school business manager or superintendent too, as they'll want to consider including some new ideas to their city budget for schools. I find great added value in new solutions for school nutrition. Many innovations can save time and money as you reach for the sky in your efforts to improve academic achievement. I learned this years ago when we converted card catalogs to library automaton software, making our district collections accessible to many new teachers and parents (they had cards?). It was an investment in student learning.
Staying up to date is a full-time job, and it's not all about technology either. Basic and necessary school supplies* have become user-friendly too.
Let me know how you're doing. Let's get our own lists going. Have you discovered new ways to save money in your district, or to apply innovative products or services to your grant-funded projects? Tell us how you think grants can contribute to a climate of innovation.
(*Discount School Supply is the parent organization for this blog. This is a sneaky plug for which I supply no apology).
Current Grant Opportunities
"Living in a Material World" Teacher Grants from the ASM Materials Education Foundation - The ASM Materials Education Foundation sponsors 20 annual grants for K-12 teachers to help bring the real world of materials science into their classrooms. "Living in a Material World" grants recognize teacher creativity.
States: All States
Average Amount: $500.00
Total Amount: $5,000.00
Address: ASM Materials Education Foundation 9639 Kinsman Rd. Materials Park, OH 44073-0002
Website: ASM Materials Education Foundation
Eligibility: Public School
Program Areas: General Education, Math, Science/Environmental, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Technology
Library Grants from the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries - the Laura Bush Foundation for America's Libraries provides print books to the K-12 school libraries and students that need them the most. Grants of up to $5,000 are available to update, extend and diversify the book collections of school libraries throughout the United States. Grants are made to individual schools rather than to school districts, foundations, or other entities.
States: All States
Average Amount: $5,000.00
Total Amount: $1,000,000.00
Address: 1201 15th Street NW, Suite 420 Washington, DC 20005
Eligibility: Public School
Program Areas: General Education, Library, Reading