The South Pasadena Educational Foundation offers the Teacher Direct Grant Program to encourage the enhancement and enrichment of educational activities in order to develop and cultivate student achievement. These grants are offered to help fund activities that are innovative and have a far-reaching effect. The Teacher Direct Grant Program is in place to further SPEF’s mission to support educational excellence in the public schools of South Pasadena through the operation of enrichment programs.
Teacher Direct Grants
The SPEF board brought back its direct grants program in 2012 to promote teacher- and staff-driven innovation in the classroom. Teachers, counselors, and staff members can receive up to $2,500 per individual or $6,000 for a joint application across a grade level to try out new curriculum, equipment or techniques. The current budget for grants is $100,000 per year.
- All certificated personnel in the South Pasadena Unified School District are eligible to apply. An individual, a team, or certificated District personnel serving Pre K-12 students in the district may submit a proposal.
- Proposals must be student-centered, related to the curriculum, and must demonstrate how they will enhance and enrich the educational process and experience for the students.
- A teacher may only submit a maximum of two proposals; one as an individual and one as a group, or two group proposals. These proposals must be distinctive and not for the same or similar program.
- Proposals must align with South Pasadena Unified School District’s curriculum objectives and goals and not be in direct conflict with the current curriculum.
- Proposals must be signed by your principal as an approval of the program or project for your school. If you are from Special Education the proposal must be signed by your principal and Dr. Dennis Lefevre.
Each applicant must submit a proposal following the guidelines outlined and use the proposal forms provided. Selection will be based on the criteria described below. All grant proposals are screened for basic requirements and reviewed by the SPEF Teacher Direct Grants Committee. Proposals recommended for funding will then be presented to the SPEF General Board at the November meeting. Grant awardees will be announced shortly afterward and contacted directly by SPEF.
If the Teacher Direct Grants committee has follow-up questions regarding the proposal they will confer with the main contact on the proposal form, the signing principal or director or the Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum.
- Student Academic Achievement
a. Motivates students and inspires them to achieve academic excellence.
b. Engages students as active participants in the learning process.
c. Encourages specific improvements in students’ skills and attitudes.
d. Supports the students’ desire to learn, be creative and activates the imagination.
e. Objectives are well-defined and measurable.
f. Aligns with and bolsters SPUSD objectives and goals.
- Scope, Innovation, and Duplication
a. Adapts easily for use by other teachers and/or schools.
b. Contributes toward the knowledge and practice of effective instructional strategies.
c. Is innovative in its ability to teach and to achieve SPUSD’s curriculum goals.
a. Materials or equipment directly support the proposed activities and are relevant and appropriate.
The SPEF board reserves a significant pool of money each year to help launch or sustain ambitious projects — whether it be new course offerings, instructional equipment or staff training — that the district could not otherwise afford. The board’s Major Grants Committee solicits applications from school administrators for one-time or multi-year funding; the applications must address specific objectives, lay out the activities that will be undertaken to achieve those objectives and provide a timeline. The committee evaluates the proposal’s potential short- and long-term impact as well as the sustainability of the program. And once the funds are awarded, the committee follows up with formal progress reports to measuring whether the project delivered the outcomes the district sought.
Meet South Pasadena Middle School’s FarmBot Genesis!
Major Grant Awards to Date:
- Train Your Brain (3-years funded)
- Elementary Launch Into Learning Science Curriculum – Initial rollout funding
- Elementary Launch Into Learning – 2nd year to complete funding
- SPMS Engineering and STEM Pathway
- SPMS FarmBot Genesis
- SPUSD Visual & Performing Arts Coordinator
- SPHS Auditorium Lighting & Scrim
- SPHS Biomedical Career Pathway
- SPHS Computer Science Career Pathway
- SPHS Sound Board
- SPHS Aluminum Stadium Seating
- SPHS Portable Language Lab – Two complete classrooms of computers
- SPHS Engineering Pathway
Each spring, principals from the five schools come to SPEF to request support for specific projects vetted by the district’s leadership. Although SPEF sets the total available for designated funds, the district decides how to divide the dollars among the five schools.
Over the years, these dollars have been used to equip each elementary school with Chromebooks, buy musical instruments, create a technology laboratory at the Middle School, and hire support staff to let teachers spend more time working directly with students.
Designated Funding for 2022-2023:
- This year, Designated Funding was given in the unrestricted funding category to help the District meet the unique needs that distance learning brought with the COVID-19 pandemic and help the District assist students and teachers with the unique challenges COVID-19 brought to the educational landscape.
Examples of past Designated Funding programs:
- SPHS One Book/One School Summer Reading Program:
The program- which had all students and teachers read the same book over summer break (Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy” for Upperclassmen, “March: Book Three” for Freshmen and Sophomores) — aims to unite all students in a common experience around a single theme, while also promoting literacy and inspiring students to respect and celebrate all people. SPEF provided a $28,000 grant.
- Elementary Educational Technology Instructional Coach:
To help teachers at Marengo, Monterey Hills, and Arroyo Vista elementary schools integrate new technology into their lessons, SPEF provided $43,000 to help fund an Educational Technology Instructional Coach. This is a position that SPEF and SPUSD have been funding jointly.
- SPMS & SPHS Broadcast Journalism
South Pasadena Middle School launched a broadcast journalism elective in 2016 with the help of a designated grant from SPEF, which helped cover the cost of equipping a professional-grade broadcast studio. The program has since been expanded to more students in more grade levels, with plans to add an advanced course that will produce a weekly newscast.
$600,000 was given to SPUSD in unrestricted funding in the 2022-2023 school year.
The bulk of the SPEF’s contribution to the schools is directed to the priorities specified by the South Pasadena Unified School District. These dollars enable the district to develop and implement state-of-the-art curriculum and instructional techniques. More specifically, the money is used to further two strategic objectives: Identifying, developing, and implementing K-12 curricular pathways to help prepare students for college and careers and supporting the implementation of the state’s common core curriculum in mathematics, language arts, and writing. Here are a few of the programs backed by your donations:
- Elementary school engineering
- Elementary school biomedical pathway
- SPMS Science of Cooking elective
- SPMS visual and performing arts classes
- SPHS business career pathway
- SPHS biomedical science pathway
In addition to the monies contributed to Unrestricted Funds, SPEF provides directed funding through Teacher Direct Grants, Designated Grants, and Major Grants.
SPEF GRANTS| News & Updates
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