The Nea Foundation for The Improvement of Education
Investing in public education that will prepare each of America's children to learn and thrive in a rapidly changing world.
To achieve our mission, we invest in initiatives that support high-quality instruction and provide critical resources to boost student learning.
• Award grants to educators. To improve student learning, we provide grants to individual and teams of educators to support instructional practice and professional development across all subject areas and grade levels. By directly funding educator-conceived and led projects, the Foundation enables educators to chart their own course to solve teaching and learning challenges. The Foundation gleans knowledge from these grants to share what works with the field and to inform our broader body of work. Since 2012, we have awarded more than $2.4 million in grants, reaching more than 35,000 educators and 512,000 students in 49 states.
• Broaden educators’ and students’ perspectives by offering our Global Learning Fellowship. We lead an annual, cohort-based professional development program to provide educators with a blend of online, peer, and field-based learning opportunities to
prepare themselves and their students for global citizenship. Fellows share what they learn with educators around the country and world by posting free, adaptable, globally-
focused lesson plans online. More than 130 global learning lesson plans are now available, and we are cultivating a growing network of global education leaders and advocates.
• Recognize the extraordinary in public education. We present the Awards for Teaching Excellence at our annual gala to honor the critical work that public school educators do every day. In 2017, we celebrated 43 exemplary educators, all from different states, in front of an audience of 3,000 people in Washington, DC and online.
• Grow high quality STEM learning. Our grants increase access to and improve the quality of STEM education in underserved communities. The NEA Foundation invests in educator-led and union-supported STEM programming that encourages students to incorporate STEM learning in their daily lives, academic careers, and professional endeavors. We are awarding two $300,000, multi-year grants to increase student engagement and motivation around STEM:
• In Hamilton County, TN, the district will invest in the skills of educators through three interrelated initiatives that emphasize project-based STEM learning. These initiatives will enable a cohort of educators to act as leaders in schools that will expand the use of maker spaces.
• In Greeley, CO, educators have developed a K-12 framework for instruction, aligned to Next Generation Science Standards, to help bring coherence to the way STEM is taught within and across schools. With the support of dedicated STEM teacher leaders, they will pilot this approach in eight schools, with the goal to scale across the district. A local team of educators, principals, and district administrators designed the framework which will serve as a guide for educators seeking to develop cross content collaborative lesson development.
Additionally, the Foundation is funding the CT STEM Academy, an out-of-school-time initiative in Wallingford, CT created and led by educators, to test strategies for student family engagement in supporting high-need students with STEM learning.
Each of these sites will share best practices to inform educators in other communities.
• Expand the publication and distribution of multicultural children’s literature to ensure all students see themselves and our diverse world reflected in the books they read. Together with First Book, we helped print and distribute more than 20,000 diverse books to high-needs schools. These resources support educators building lesson plans around critical social-emotional learning concepts, such as empathy, respect, and self-awareness, and encourage students to become avid readers and life-long learners.
• Provide breakfast to students so they are nourished and ready to learn. We boost students’ academic performance, health, and behavior by supporting the Breakfast in the Classroom initiative. During the 2016-17 school year, together with our Partners for Breakfast in the Classroom, we invested in 57 schools to provide breakfast to more than 16,000 under-served students.