Educators and Innovation

NEA Foundation grants help educators solve teaching and learning challenges

Congratulations to MSEA’s 2017-2018 NEA Foundation Student Achievement/Learning and Leadership awardees Brian Cook, Worcester County, and Sheena Jordan and Rainya Miller, Prince George’s County.

“By directly funding educator-conceived and led projects, the foundation enables educators to chart their own course to solve teaching and learning challenges,” said Harriet Sanford of the NEA Foundation. The foundation has awarded more than $7 million to educators to support innovation.

Student Achievement Grant: $5,000

Self-described digital educator Brian Cook and media specialist Jennifer Beach of Pokomoke Middle School in Worcester County will design self directed challenges in which students will become “makers.”

Students will explore, tinker, and create to enhance their afterschool drone racing and obstacle course program. They’ll code and create digital animation using Little Bits, Bloxels, and Ozobots. It’s an inquiry-based STEM lab that will build skills and competencies they’ll need for jobs in a technology-rich global market.

“There are numerous STEMrelated jobs that my middle school students know nothing about, and I know they could be successful in those jobs in the future. We want to begin with exposing and advocating STEM exploration opportunities to all of our students in grades 4–8,” said Cook.

“I hope it sparks an interest in STEM education and challenges our students to further participate in the programs/schools our district offers like Worcester County Tech Fest, 21st Century Learning After School Program, and Worcester Technical High School,” Cook added.

Student Achievement Grant: $2,000

Spanish teachers Sheena Jordan and Sandra Casas-Burlo of Melwood Elemenatry Schoool, an International Baccalaureate school in Prince George’s County, will use their award to implement a “standard station rotation in Spanish,” which will align with the Common Core State Standards. By increasing the consistency of assessments in four targeted CCSS areas, their work will help ensure that students are making gains in their proficiency in reading, writing, speaking, and listening in Spanish.

Learning and Leadership Grant: $5,000

Rainya Miller, Prince George’s County, will create a Candidate Support Facilitator Jumpstart program to assist current National Board Certified Teachers to become candidate support facilitators during the school year for colleagues seeking certification.