February 26th, 2013
Auto maker Toyota USA’s foundation is accepting proposals to improve and support programs teaching mathematics, science and environmental science. These grants, between $50,000 and $500,000, are being made available to nonprofit organizations, universities, and colleges engaging in science and pre-collegiate math education. Priority is being placed on creative programs that develop student and teacher potential, programs that incorporate systemic approaches and are broad in scope, and programs that are cost-effective, involving a low duplication of effort for a high potential for success. The foundation does not make grants to K-12 public or private schools. As grants are constantly being reviewed, there is no deadline. Please see the foundation’s guidelines for more information.
The Toshiba America Foundation is making grants of up to $1,000 available for K-5 grade school teachers to support innovative, hands-on math and science education projects. Projects planned and led by individual or teams of teachers for their own classrooms are strongly encouraged. The grant, while intended for project-related materials, does not cover textbooks, audio-visual equipment, or salaries, nor may it be used for summer or after school projects. For resources and application forms, please see the foundations Grants for Grades K-5 Web page. The deadline for proposal submissions is October 5.
Founded in 1917, the Surdna Foundation supports young people in their pursuit of educational and career goals through its Teens’ Artistic and Cultural Advancement program. The foundation is currently accepting letters of inquiry on an open basis to assist organizations that connect teens to programs of cultural relevance and artistic rigor, helping to prepare them for innovative, creative community leadership. Preferred organizations:
- Have a long-standing, prove commitment to serving teens;
- Emphasize skill building;
- Provide strong mentoring opportunities with artists;
- Encourage teens to connect with their cultural identities through art;
- Provide well-developed, sequential curricula; and
- Employ accomplished guest artists and faculty who engage teens in ways that reflect their communities and cultural identities.
The foundation does not support in-school arts programs, one-time projects, organizations that solely provide arts-integrated learning, individuals, or projects that enhance in-school arts training. Please visit the Surdna Foundation’s grantmaking Web page for complete information.
September 14th, 2012
Grocery chain Whole Foods Market and its Whole Kids Foundation, dedicated to improving nutrition and wellness in youth towards ending childhood obesity, have announced a fundraising goal of $2 million for its Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools program. Beginning this month, K-12 schools participating in the USDA’s National School Lunch Program are eligible to apply for a grant to bring a salad bar to their school. Schools with bronze status or higher with the HealthierUS School Challenge automatically qualify for a salad bar donation, with the requirement that the qualifying district or school wants and can support a daily lunchtime salad bar.
While the deadline for this opportunity is open, grants will be awarded based on date of approval. Complete information and application instructions can be found at saladbars2schools.org.
August 13th, 2012
Allina Health, a nonprofit health care services provider serving Minnesota and Wisconsin, has announced $10,000 in grants for elementary schools in its service area to encourage healthy lifestyles. This funding includes $1,000 for the funding of a student-devised program or idea and $9,000 to address program support and equipment needs. In addition to funding, schools who are selected will have access to Allina Health staff expertise, online learning tools, teacher training, physician consultations, and a community health fair with screenings for parents and teachers. The deadline for proposals is August 31, 2012. For more information and applications, please visit the program’s web page. Good luck!
April 27th, 2012
A new study about increasing classroom performance caught the eyes of staff at ACET and we wanted it to share it with you. The study linked regular recess and play opportunities to better classroom performance and a decrease in bullying and student conflict, and was conducted by Mathematica Policy Research and the John W. Gardner Center for Youth and Their Communities at Stanford University.
In the study, 14 schools across the United States partnered with Playworks, an Oakland, California non-profit devoted to providing low-income schools with physical activity options and other play events such as game times. Playworks provided schools with trained coaches and, in some cases, junior coach programs where students were recruited to monitor recess times alongside adults. Students, teachers, principals, and coaches were interviewed and surveyed about their experiences with the program and what changes, positive and negative, they saw in student relationships, academic outcomes, and classroom behaviors. Students and teachers reported feeling engaged by Playworks’ coaches’ programs and their use of positive messaging and conflict resolution strategies (for example, using a game of rock-paper-scissors to solve a dispute) as they pertained to playground interactions, though students did not report a decrease in student aggression or perception of aggression. Teachers with Playworks programs in their schools reported faster transition times between recess and learning than schools that did not have Playworks programs. Principals from all schools that received Playworks services reported a need for the organization’s presence in their schools for the coming year.
According to an advisor from the study’s sponsor, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, “These new findings… tell us that kids better relate with one another, resolve conflicts constructively, get plenty of physical activity on the playground, and return to class focused and ready to learn. Increasingly, health and education leaders are recognizing that recess and play are effective ways to strengthen schools and foster children’s social, emotional, and physical development.”
You can read more from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation press release here or view the report here [opens as PDF].
August 9th, 2011
Over the last few weeks, many of our clients have inquired about the availability of their test data from the Minnesota Department of Education (MDE) to meet reporting requirements. Here’s the most recent update from MDE’s Research and Assessment division:
“MDE is still evaluating the specific timelines for the release of the Reading and Mathematics MCA, MCA-Modified, and MTAS results, and we will provide one week’s notice before the results will be released. While we understand that not having a specific date makes it difficult for your planning purposes, we are holding some flexibility in the event we are able to complete our work and release results earlier than late September. Once a final determination is made, we will provide one week’s notice before results are released. We thank you for your patience as we continue work through the challenges created by the government shutdown.”(http://www.education.state.mn.us/MDE/Accountability_Programs/Assessment_and_Testing/index.html)]
We will keep you updated on projected timeline and new information when they become available.
May 26th, 2011
Charter schools are a big part of my work here at ACET. I’ve spent many hours both behind the scenes and hands-on with data analysis, reporting, grant writing, and capacity building. I enjoy the challenge of thinking of ways to communicate results in way to maximize usability and improve learning.
Schools, however, don’t function by student test scores alone. They need a number of things to maintain healthy functioning, including an appropriate number of students and available funding. Over time, some schools inevitably end up closing their doors. The reason for closure tends to vary, regardless of type of school (public, private, or charter). The Minnesota Department of Education recently released a list of charter school closures and the reasons for closure. The reasons are spread across four areas: academic, financial, enrollment, and other. From 1996 to 2009, thirty-seven charter schools have been closed. Below are the reasons listed for closures:
- Academic reasons: 2 (5.4%)
- Financial reasons: 25 (67.6%)
- Enrollment reasons: 15 (40.5%)
- Other reasons: 14 (37.8%)
Also, 18 schools were closed for more than one reason. Of those 18 schools, the most common reasons found together were financial and enrollment 7 (38.9%) or financial and other reasons 7 (38.9%).
December 6th, 2010
The Graduate Record Examination (GRE), owned and implemented by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), is the most commonly used standardized test when applying to graduate school. Made up of sections for quantitative reasoning, verbal reasoning, and writing, the test covers a variety of questions meant to show an individual’s knowledge on specific subjects in preparation for graduate school.
ETS has revised the GRE General Test to better capture student readiness for graduate level course work. The revised GRE also resulted in changes in the scoring system. Originally, an individual score would fall between 200 and 800 points in 10-point increments; however, starting in November of 2011, scores will fall between 130 and 170 in 1-point increments. The adjusted score scale allows reviewers to compare candidates more simply; 1-point increments may more accurately represent how far apart candidates are on the score scale. The new score scale should also allow for a better distribution of scores and more aptly show candidate abilities. Percentile scores, which have always reflected where an individual tested in comparison with other test takers over the previous three years, will remain on the scorecard.
To learn more about the score scale revisions, check out this video from ETS:
August 31st, 2010
At ACET we like to keep up-to-date on grant opportunities and we recently came across one of particular interest for education professionals. As you may know, Target commits 5% of its income to the communities in which Target stores are located and funds programs such as “Meals for Minds,” a program that helps feed K-12 students in need, and school library makeovers to help schools improve their library facilities and collections.
Recently, Philanthropy News Digest included an announcement stating that Target will be offering Field Trip Grants this year. Target is offering 5,000 Field Trip Grants of $700 each to schools for the 2010-2011 school year for the purpose of executing a field trip that will provide a “demonstrable learning experience” (http://foundationcenter.org/pnd/rfp/rfp_item.jhtml?id=306900023) for students. In particular, the goal of the Field Trip Grants is to connect the classroom curriculum with students’ experiences out of school.
To be eligible for the grant, one must be an education professional who is at least 18 years of age and employed by an accredited non-profit public, private, or charter school. Applications are due by September 30th, 2010. Selection is managed entirely by Scholarship America.
For further details, an online application, and an idea generator see the following link: http://sites.target.com/site/en/company/page.jsp?contentId=WCMP04-031880