Fund for Teachers: Grants for K-12 Education

OVERVIEW: The Fund for Teachers supports summer fellowships for teachers who design their own learning experiences.

IP TAKE: The Fund for Teachers helps fulltime preK-12 teachers to enhance their practice through meaningful, self-designed summer fellowships. Teachers Fund fellows have traveled to more than 148 countries and represent all grades and subject areas.

PROFILE: The Houston, Texas-based Fund for Teachers was established in 2000 by Raymond Plank, the retired founder of the Apache Corporation, a U.S. energy conglomerate. The fund invests in “outstanding teachers’ self-determined professional growth and development in order to support student success enrich their own practice, and strengthen their schools and communities.” It achieves this by offering grants to full-time teachers for self-designed summer fellowships.

The Fund for Teachers’ fellowship program asks pre-K-12 teachers to reflect on their own practice and decide “what they want to learn and where they want to learn it.” Teachers develop a guiding question for their fellowship and plan how they will proceed with their individualized experience. Grantees have traveled to 148 countries to pursue their fellowships. One past grantee in the subject area of social studies traveled to Ireland, where she studied castles and compared these to architecture in her home state of Alabama. This fellowship resulted in a learning experience that combines architecture, history and writing for elementary school students. Another grantee traveled to Indonesia, where he worked with a team of scientists studying forest fragmentation and its impact on endangered wildlife, bringing new knowledge and perspective to his high school science and ecology classes in New York City.

In addition to fulltime pre-K-12 teachers, curriculum specialists, school librarians, special education coordinators and others who spend at least half of their working hours instructing students are eligible for grants. Funding is restricted to the U.S. The maximum amount for individual teacher fellowships is $5,000, while teacher teams may apply for up to $10,000.  More than 20 grants are awarded each year, and a database of awards with post fellowship reports is available on the Fund for Teachers website.

The Fund for Teachers maintains an open, online application process.

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