To improve classroom instruction and teaching, the National Staff Development Council recommends specific process standards to transform practices. There are other context and content criteria standards for effective professional development that can be reviewed in depth here. Source: SEDL
- Data-driven to improve the learning of all students uses disaggregated student data to determine adult learning priorities, monitor progress, and help sustain continuous improvement.
- Evaluative to improve the learning of all students uses multiple sources of information to guide improvement and demonstrate its impact.
- Research-based to improve the learning of all students prepares educators to apply research to decision making.
- Designed to improve the learning of all students uses learning strategies appropriate to the intended goal.
- Focused on learning to improve the learning of all students applies knowledge about human learning and change.
- Collaborative to the learning of all students provides educators with the knowledge and skills to collaborate.
To ensure success and to increase teacher satisfaction, many districts and schools embed and set aside time for professional development and professional learning communities. School systems use a variety of schedules to provide this collaborative learning and work time for teachers. In this collaborative space, teams of teachers engage periodically to focus on the needs of their students, as well as learn and problem solve together to ensure all students achieve success. However, time allocated to professional development isn’t the most important factor—quality outweighs duration. In addition to collaboration schools and school systems have embraced the importance and value of teachers co-authoring and co-creating their learning to advance student learning and achievement.
Why teachers need professional development
In fact, research confirms that the most important factor contributing to student success in school is the quality of the teaching received, and it prevails over student ethnicity, family income, the school attended, or class size. Professional development ensures that teaching standards remain both high and current, with a focus on best practices, fresh strategies, and in particular how to use technology in and out of the classroom. A 2016 study provides evidence that continuous embedded professional development is fundamental to success in both public and private schools, as gives teachers support in an ever-changing landscape with new academic standards, new assessments, and changing teacher evaluation systems.
The bonus for teachers is that ongoing professional development propels future employment opportunities and the ability to move nimbly on an exciting career path.
How professional development grants work and how to get them
Grants can be government-based and funded to support specific education laws, or privately funded by non-profits or business entities. The way grants are structured, the amounts available, the specific deadlines, the time it takes to be notified of an award after application, and the number of people on grant application review committees vary widely, which is why it’s important to explore many different sources and to apply to multiple agencies. You can find search engines and topic-specific professional development grant sources at the end of this article.
Once you know where you want to apply, take advantage of the free guides and websites that are available, like the 2016 Grants Guide: How and where to secure funding for STEM, EdTech, and Professional Development, which includes specific fund information and best practices for grant applications, and The Grant Writing for Dummies Cheat Sheet, a great starting point for anyone new to the world of grant applications.
Here are some easy tips to help with professional grant applications:
- Do your homework. Obtain as much information as possible about your prospective grantor, understand the mission of the grantor, look at past grant winners, and determine the range of grant awards typically given by the agency.
- Understand guidelines and eligibility requirements. Be certain you understand what you need to provide and follow them to the letter. Note the deadline and whether the proposal must be received or postmarked by the deadline. Don’t have your proposal thrown away because you didn’t follow the guidelines to the letter.
- Write a stand out cover letter. Make it brief – one page should do it.
- Have a great bio ready. Most professional development grants a bio or some kind of background information about you. Write one and have a colleague who knows you review it – many times it’s difficult to recognize the best in ourselves and our particular experience.
- Be grateful and collaborative. Even if your proposal is not funded, always send a thank you note to the grantor for the opportunity to submit your proposal. Ask if it is possible to receive reviewer comments so that you can understand why your proposal was not funded. Use reviewer comments to improve your proposal-writing techniques. If you’re selected, keep your funder informed—it can make it easier to obtain your next round of grant funding.
Links to 30+ Professional Development Grant Resources
- What is it A unified site for interaction between grant applicants and the U.S. Federal agencies that manage grant funds.
- Who needs it For individuals or organizations who are looking for funding, including many for professional development. There are also links to non-federal grants programs on the site.
- Why it works One stop site for government grants, large and small
- How to get it Every grant has different criteria, so check listings for details.
- What is it An online database of funding opportunities such as grants (for programs, professional development, projects, planning, start-up, endowments, technical assistance, facilities and equipment, etc.), awards, and fellowships.
- Who needs it The site has grant information for schools and school districts, nonprofits, libraries, colleges and community colleges, and researchers.
- Why it works Provides links to government and private funders for a wide variety of projects. Funding opportunities range from pure research grants to arts programs, biomedical and health care research, community services programs, children and youth programs, K-12 education funding, international programs, and operating grants for nonprofit organizations.
- How to get it Every grant has different criteria, so check listings for details.
- What is it Search engine identifies grants for: universities, hospitals, government agencies, schools, community based organizations, faith-based organizations, research institutions and some small businesses and individuals.
- Who needs it Any individual or entity who is looking for a highly detailed source.
- Why it works Easy to navigate with links by category in an easy-to-understand pick list.
- How to get it As with most other aggregated sites, check each grant for specific details.
- What is it. Lists grants for teachers, school grants, and money for arts, history, mathematics, science, technology, literacy, and more.
- Who needs it Geared to funding for K-12 teachers and schools, makes it easier for educators, school libraries, and parents to find school funding.
- Why it works Good professional development listings and up to date information. Helps education foundations, community foundations, corporate foundations, and other grant-giving organizations more effectively promote funding to teachers and schools.
- How to get it Every grant has different criteria, so check listings for details.
- What is it: A wide variety of school and teacher grants are listed on this website. These grants award $200 up to to $10,000.
- Who needs it: Educators looking to improve their lesson plans, gain new insight and ideas, or supply their students with new programs and technology should consider these grants.
- Why it works: Teachers Count works as an education resource that aims to provide teachers with a list of grants that will suite their academic needs, so the list of grants available is diverse and frequently updated.
- How to get it: Check each listing for application details and deadlines.
English Language Acquisition State Grants
- What is it This program is designed to improve the education of limited English proficient (LEP) children and youths by helping them learn English and meet challenging state academic content and student academic achievement standards.
- Who needs it State Educations Agencies (SEAS); Awards are made to SEAs, which, in turn, make subgrants to local education agencies (LEAs).
- Why it works Supports a wide variety of programs to provide enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youths. Funds are distributed to states based on a formula that takes into account the number of immigrant and LEP students in each state.
- How to get it Programs are by state and dollar amounts vary. Check listings for your states and for information about requirements and deadlines.
ESEA, Title II grants to state agencies
- What is it The purpose of this part is to provide grants to State educational agencies, local educational agencies, State agencies for higher education, and eligible partnerships
- Who needs it Teachers and principals.
- Why it works (1) increase student academic achievement through strategies such as improving teacher and principal quality and increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in the classroom and highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools; and (2) hold local educational agencies and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.
- How to get it The Elementary and Secondary School Act may be affected by new Every Student Succeeds Act legislation. Refer to the ed.gov site for most current details.
Higher Education Act, Title II funds Teacher Quality Partnerships
The program provides enhanced instructional opportunities for immigrant children and youths. Funds are distributed to states based on a formula that takes into account the number of immigrant and LEP students in each state.
IDEA Formula State Grants
- What is it and who needs it The Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) supports a comprehensive array of programs and projects authorized by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) that improve results for infants, toddlers, children and youth with disabilities. We will list the professional development grants here.
IDEA Discretionary Grant Programs
CFDA: 84.323 (Part D) – State Personnel Development Grant Program
CFDA: 84.325 (Part D) – Special Education—Personnel Development to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
CFDA: 84.326 (Part D) – Special Education—Technical Assistance and Dissemination to Improve Services and Results for Children with Disabilities
CFDA: 84.327 (Part D) – Special Education—National Activities—Technology and Media Services
CFDA: 84.328 (Part D) – Special Education—National Activities—Parent Information Centers
CFDA: 84.373 (Part B) – Special Education—Technical Assistance on State Data Collection
- Why it works The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) helps individuals with disabilities and their families. Therefore, OSERS is committed to improving results and outcomes for people with disabilities of all ages with many different types of grants, including those for professional development in this crucial area.
- How to get it Check each listing for details.
Improving Teacher Quality State Grants
- What is it The purpose of the program is to increase academic achievement by improving teacher and principal quality.
- Who needs it This program is carried out by: increasing the number of highly qualified teachers in classrooms; increasing the number of highly qualified principals and assistant principals in schools
- Why it works increasing the effectiveness of teachers and principals by holding LEAs and schools accountable for improvements in student academic achievement.
- How to get it Awards are made to State Education Agencies that in turn make formula subgrants to local education agencies (LEAs). State agencies for higher education (SAHEs) also receive a (separate) formula grant. SAHEs in turn award competitive grants to partnerships that must include at least one institution of higher education (IHE) and its division that prepares teachers and principals, and a school of arts and sciences IHE, and a high-need LEA.
Mathematics and Science Partnerships
- What is it This program is designed to improve the content knowledge of teachers and the performance of students in the areas of mathematics and science by encouraging states, institutions of higher education (IHEs), local education agencies (LEAs), and elementary and secondary schools.
- Who needs it Math and science teachers.
- Why it works MSP is based on the premise that everyone benefits when K-12 education and higher education institutions work closely together to improve math and science learning. It emphasizes the need for stronger connections between experts in mathematics, science, engineering and technology within higher education, and educators in elementary and secondary education.
- How to get it The MSP program is a formula grant program to the states, with the size of individual state awards based on student population and poverty rates. No state receives less than one half of one percent of the total appropriation. With these funds, each state is responsible for administering a competitive grant competition, in which grants are made to partnerships to improve teacher knowledge in mathematics and science. See grant at the website for full details.
National Professional Development Grant
- What is it The NPD Program provides grants for eligible entities to implement professional development activities intended to improve instruction for English Learners (ELs) and assists education personnel working with ELs to meet high professional standards.
- Who needs it Institutions of Higher Education
- Why it works Professional development activities may include both preservice and inservice activities to meet high standards.
- How to get it(Institutions of higher education in consortia with local education agencies or state education agencies may apply. For 2016, The total estimated available fund for the NPD 2016 Competition is $23,850,000. The estimated range of awards is $350,000 – $550,000 annually and the estimated average size of the award is $450,000. The estimated number of awards is 53. However, The Department is not bound by any estimates in the notice. The actual level of program funding, if any, depends on final Congressional action each fiscal year. In making continuation awards under 34 CFR 75.253, the Secretary considers, among other things: whether the grantee has made substantial progress toward meeting the project objectives and program performance measures; whether the grantee has expended funds in manner consistent with its approved application; and whether the grantee is operating in compliance with the assurances in its approved application. Check the grant link for full details.
Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF)
- What is it This program provides funding for projects that develop and implement performance-based teacher and principal compensation systems in high-need schools. Performance-based compensation systems must consider gains in student academic achievement as well as classroom evaluations conducted multiple times during each school year among other factors and provide educators with incentives to take on additional responsibilities and leadership roles. The purpose of the TIF program is to support the use of performance-based compensation, and other human capital strategies that enhance and sustain performance-based compensation, in order to increase students’ access to effective educators in high-need schools, and to expand the array of promising approaches that can help these educators and other personnel succeed.
- Why it works TIF grantees have used federal funding to develop and fund teacher leadership positions and incentivize teachers to serve in high-need schools. Projects have included: teacher career pathway programs that diversified roles in the teaching force; teacher career pathways that recognize, develop, and reward excellent teachers as they advance through various career stages; incentives for effective teachers who take on instructional leadership roles within their schools; incentives that attract, support, reward, and retain the most effective teachers and administrators at high-need schools; rigorous, ongoing leadership development training for teacher leaders and principals, leadership roles for teachers aimed at school turnaround; and the creation of new salary structures based on effectiveness.
- Who needs it The program has funded 131 projects to improve pay structures, reward effective teachers and principals and provide greater professional opportunities to educators in high poverty schools. The projects have served over 2,000 schools in more than 300 urban, suburban, and rural school districts in 36 states and Washington, D.C. Based on the core premise that educators have the greatest impact on student learning across various in-school factors, TIF awards competitive grants to States, districts, or partnerships with non-profit organizations.
- How to get it Local educational agencies (LEAs); including charter schools that are LEAs; (b) States (SEAs) that apply with one or more LEAs; (c) Non-profit organizations that apply in partnership with (i) one or more LEAs; or (ii) one or more LEAs and an SEA are eligible. Eligibility and other specifics may change from year to year, so click on the link for details.
Language Arts Grants
American Library Association/ALA grants
- What is it the ALA provides a large number of awards, grants and scholarships for outstanding service to the library profession.
- Who needs it Recognition is made for individual achievement of high order in some area of librarianship. In addition, recognition and assistance are given to individuals and groups selected to conduct special studies or projects.
- Why it works This program provides continuing education through scholarships, grants for future projects, and awards for distinguished service.
- How to get it The ALA General Awards are administered by the American Library Association’s Governance Office and are commonly referred to as Recognition Awards. There are also awards, which include Book/Media Awards, Grants & Fellowships and scholarships. There are a large number of grants available. Use the link to search for specific grants and application details.
International Reading Association Grants
- What is it Founded as the International Reading Association (IRA), the International Literacy Association (ILA) has worked to enhance literacy instruction through research and professional development for 60 years.
- Who needs it Grants and awards are for educators, researchers, students, and authors.
- Why it works Global impact serving literacy practitioners in more than 75 countries, including the Us, dedicated to making this the age of literacy
- How to get it There are a variety of awards and grants for different types of practitioners and programs, and listings are updated periodically. See the site for links and details.
IRA Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant
- What is it The ILA Regie Routman Teacher Recognition Grant is an annual $2,500 award that honors an outstanding mainstream elementary classroom teacher dedicated to improving the teaching and learning of reading and writing. At least 60 percent of the school’s students must qualify for free or reduced lunch.
- Who needs it Elementary teachers of reading and writing.
- How to get it The application process requires:
- A completed application form
- A three-page (maximum) proposal about how the applicant would support, improve, enhance, and accelerate teaching and learning for students
- A one page personal statement that includes personal beliefs about teaching and learning and a professional vision for this project
- A letter of recommendation from an administrator
- A letter of recommendation from a peer
- The winner is notified by March and the grant recipient is cordially invited to attend the ILA Annual Convention and be officially recognized at the conference. For complete guidelines for the application process, see http://www.literacyworldwide.org/about-us/awards-grants/ila-regie-routman-teacher-recognition-grant for details about the next round of grant funding and requirements.
Science Technology Engineering Math (STEM) Grants
ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Grant
- What is it Since 2008, over 600 high school chemistry teachers received ACS-Hach High School Chemistry Classroom Grants to support ideas that enhance classroom learning, foster student development, and reveal the wonders of chemistry.
- Who needs it High school chemistry teachers.
- Why it works Grants are for professional development, field studies, science outreach events, lab equipment and supplies, and instructional materials.
- How to get it Teachers can request up to $1,500 for their ideas. Applications are received annually February 1st – April 1st.
Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship Program
- What is it This program provides continuing education through scholarships, grants for future projects, and awards for distinguished service. Fellows spend eleven months working in a Federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to education program and/or education policy efforts. The Department of Energy (DOE) sponsors up to four placements in congressional offices.
- Who needs it Accomplished K-12 educators in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to serve in the national education arena. Fellows spend eleven months working in a Federal agency or in a U.S. Congressional office, bringing their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to education program and/or education policy efforts. Over 5 years of full-time teaching experience is required.
- Why it works Some outstanding contributions of past Einstein Fellows include:
- Designing new elements of national STEM education programs.
- Implementing major components of national STEM education programs;
- Initiating collaborations and partnerships among Federal agencies;
- Drafting legislation and advising on policies that seek to improve K-12 education in the United States;
- Creating web-based science education tools; and
- Establishing and evaluating national and regional programs centered on school reform and teacher preparation in STEM.
- How to get it All applications to the AEF Program must be completed online through the online application system. Applicants must meet all the eligibility requirements. The online application system will guide applicants through the application requirements. The Check Your Status page will keep you informed on the status of your application before and after you apply. Only complete applications submitted by the deadline will be considered for evaluation and placement. Materials uploaded into the application system will provide the sole basis for evaluation. For details on the next grant opportunity, timing, and requirements, check the link.
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics/AIAA grants
- What is it The AIAA Foundation believes that one of the most significant means to inspire and advance the future of Aerospace is to fund grants to meet the unmet and unfunded educational needs of students.
- Who needs it Teachers must be current AIAA Educator Associate members actively engaged in kindergarten through twelfth grade classroom education prior to receiving this grant.
- Why it works Each school year, AIAA awards grants of up to $250 to worthy projects that significantly influence student learning. There must be a clear connection to STEM and an emphasis on aerospace in the proposal.
- How to get it Deadlines/dates and details are subject to change, and there are multiple grant cycles each year. Review the Classroom Grant Guidelinesand the link at the top of this listing for the most current requirements.
Delta Education/Frey-Neo/CPO Science Education Awards for Excellence in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching
- What is it The Delta Education/Frey-Neo/CPO Science Awards for Excellence in Inquiry-based Science Teaching will recognize and honor three (3) full-time Pre K–12 teachers of science who successfully use inquiry-based science to enhance teaching and learning in their classroom.
- Who needs it Pre K–12 teachers.
- How it works $1,500 towards expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference to expand professional development, and $1,500 for the awardee.
- How to get it To download an application, click here. For more information, visit the website.
Education Challenge Grant
- What is it The Entertainment Software Association Foundation’s (ESAF) Education Challenge Grant is an annual competition that advances the use of computer and video games in the classroom by recognizing and rewarding innovative educators across the country who integrate cutting-edge educational technology into their curricula.
- Who needs it The ESA Foundation provides scholarships to the next generation of industry innovators and supports charitable organizations and schools that leverage entertainment software and technology to create meaningful opportunities for America’s youth.
- Why it works ESA seeks to harness the collective power of the interactive entertainment industry to create positive social impact in communities. Building on research by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) and The Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop, the Education Challenge Grant encourages teachers to leverage interactive software in the classroom and fosters a more unified movement around the value of computer and video games in keeping students engaged in the learning process.
- How to get it ESAF and its partners – the Cooney Center, FAS, and the Association for Middle Level Education – issue an annual call for lesson plans, submissions, and other proposals to incorporate existing computer and video games into school curricula. Prizes are awarded to the three most innovative entries to use toward implementing the proposed lessons. Entries are evaluated based on the originality and creativity of their proposed lesson plans, which should reflect the significant impact that games can have on learning. The application period for funding in 2017 will open in the spring of 2016. Follow on Twitter @ESA_Foundation for updates on the grant making cycle.
Elementary Mathematics Specialist Scholarship Program
- What is it: This program aims to support teachers in their development as elementary mathematics specialist. It awards $1,000 to be used towards an elementary mathematics specialist certificate or endorsement recognized by a state or local education agency, such as a school district.
- Who needs it: Elementary mathematics specialists who work as teachers, teacher leaders, or coaches, and support effective mathematics instruction and student learning at the classroom, school, district, or state levels.
- Why it works: This works by providing specialized mathematics education to elementary math educators that allows them to have the knowledge and tools to develop their mathematics curriculum.
- How to get it: See website for 2016 application dates.
Entomological Foundation Mini-grants
- What is it The Entomological Foundation provides grants of up to $2,100 for small curriculum development efforts or professional development workshops emphasizing practical and innovative uses of Arthropods in K-12 formal and nonformal educational settings.
- Who needs it K-12 teachers.
- Why it works Projects address one or more aspects of the following topics: 1) teacher / volunteer youth educator skill enhancement; 2) entomology-related educational resource development for use in grades K-12; or 3) innovative approaches to the use of arthropods to demonstrate biological systems/principles.
- How to get it K-12 teachers are eligible to apply. Grant awards will not cover indirect costs associated with i.e. facilities, administration. Proposed projects must support individual school improvement plans. For details, visit http://www.entfdn.org/awards_request_pr oposal.php
National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NTCM) grants, scholarships and awards
- What is it NCTM’s Mathematics Education Trust grants, scholarships, and awards. Funding ranges from $1,200 to $24,000 and is available to help math teachers, prospective teachers, and other math educators improve the teaching and learning of mathematics.
- Who needs it Teachers Grades PreK – 12 can benefit from a variety of grants, including professional development grants of up to $3,000. These grants are provided to classroom teachers to improve their professional competence as classroom teachers of mathematics.
- Why it works Math teachers can obtain more subject matter and best practices expertise.
- How to get it There are many different grants available. Check individual listings through the link above.
National Science Teachers Association
- What is it: A series of grants, scholarships, and awards that aim to support educators in providing equitable math education through vision, leadership, professional development, and research. These grants provide $1,200 to $24,000 each.
- Who needs it: Educators looking to improve their appreciation and understanding of mathematics, as well as the technology and tools available for teaching mathematics should consider these grants, scholarships, and awards.
- Why it works: These grants allow teachers to work collaboratively with one another to determine the best ways of teaching mathematics to students. This is especially useful for primary educators who do not have specific training in mathematics and are looking to get the information they need to teach mathematics at the top of their game.
- How to get it: Check each listing for application deadlines.
Toshiba America Foundation/TAF Grants – classroom grants. Not strictly PD
Various Grants for Teachers
Hoenny Center Project Awards for Teachers
- What is itHoenny Center Project Awards are intended to promote and recognize Pre K-12 classroom (action) research projects in the area of peer teaching. A maximum of five awards will be given yearly—up to $500 per project.
- Who needs it The applicant is a professional educator in a full-time position teaching at any level from preKindergarten through 12th grade.
- How it works The applicant will carry out the project him/herself and data gathering and report submission can be completed in about six months. The project consists of gathering and summarizing data related to a professional question of interest to the teacher within the general area of peer teaching/learning in the classroom. However, preference will be given to projects involving the analysis of a) descriptions of individual differences in students’ teaching abilities; b) attempts by the teacher to improve students’ teaching abilities; or c) reflections by students on the motivations, rewards, and/or strategies of helping other students learn. 5. The scope of the project should be such that it will take from four to ten weeks to complete the in-class part of it.
- How to get it: Each year, July 1 is the deadline for receipt of final project proposals. Awards will be announced by August 31. For more information, contactJ. Terry Gates, Ed.D., President/CEO; The Hoenny Center; PO Box 9388; St. Louis, MO 63117-0388. 314.567.5111 email@example.com www.hoennycenter.org
NEA Foundation Learning and Leadership Grants
- What is it: These grants award $2,000 for individuals or $5,000 for collaborative groups to engage in long-term professional development. This money can be used for fees, travel expenses, books, or other materials required for high-quality professional development experiences. A portion can also go towards a small stipend for collaborative group participants.
- Who needs it: Public educators looking to foster a supportive and collaborative group environment through activities such as summer institutes, conferences, or field research.
- Why it works: Group activities like these give students an informal environment to exchange information as peers and gain hands on experiences in ways that excite and engage them, as well as encourage them to learn more on their own.
- How to get it: Must apply by February 1st.
Get even more information—and share with us—about grants!
Check out the 2016 Grants Guide: How and where to secure funding for STEM, EdTech, and Professional Development. Be sure to comment on this blog post, and add to our list of tips to help teachers so we can keep updating resources to support educators in growing professionally this year and every year.