Quality teaching is the most important in-school factor driving student achievement, so why not give teachers the tools they need to cultivate their own expertise to drive student outcomes? At least that's the reasoning behind the U.S. Department of Education's Teach to Lead initiative, which also has support from two national education organizations and two prominent funders.
The Department of Education is collaborating with the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (ASCD) and the National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (NBPTS) under Teach to Lead to provide direct support to teachers to strengthen their own professional development. Through ASCD's Teacher Impact Grants, funding will be available for teacher-led projects and programs that are intended to impact classroom instruction. Programs funded under these grants must be research-based and have the potential to accelerate learning and improve student achievement.
Two leading New York-based funders are lending their financial support to the Teacher Impact Grants program: Carnegie Corporation of New York and the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Foundation Charitable Trust. Carnegie has a long history as an education funder, and its activities include projects aimed at improving teacher training and retention. Most recently, Carnegie has been a leading funder of the 100Kin10 initiative, a collaborative effort to train and retain 100,000 top-notch STEM teachers by the year 2021.
The Helmsley Trust may be better known for its global health and disease-fighting efforts, but it has involved itself in education funding as well. Founded by real estate moguls and hoteliers Harry and Leona Helmsley, the trust has been among the funders supporting implementation of the Common Core in states that have adopted the more rigorous reading and math standards.
Grants under the Teacher Impact Grants program are available to pre-K through 12th grade teachers. Teacher applicants must be certified classroom educators, and their applications must have the support of at least one school administrator. The application period opened May 16 and closes June 16. Teachers can obtain more information or apply for one of the grants through this link.