COVID regulations and school district budget cuts are making daily news across the States. No matter how the 20-21 school year develops, it looks like we will have to do more with less.  While this can be discouraging for us teachers, we can take this as a challenge. While we cannot control state and administrative decisions, we can do something for our districts, classrooms, and students. Even amidst a pandemic, many opportunities for funding will not come out of taxpayers’ pockets and district accounts. Many of the available grants I’ve identified are flexible, and can be used for virtual and live classroom experiences. September spending decisions are pending and may be for days and days. Instead of just waiting to hear our fate, let’s bring more to our students than what the current budget is offering! Check out the grants below to make the 2021 school year your best year ever!           

AERO-stemclass

$250 is up for grabs from The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronauts if you can come up with an awesome STEM-related way to use it in your classroom! Think science, technology, engineering, math, and LEGOS. DEADLINE: January

ClassroomMASCOT

If you can get administrative permission to house a pet in your classroom, then Pets in the Classroom is ready to help! Just write and submit 250 words about how a pet will add to the learning environment in your classroom.  There are several grant options including funds for a pet, OR a certificate for the tank and accompanying materials with a 50% off coupon for the actual animal. AND, you can apply for a $50 continuing grant each year to keep up with maintenance and other pet related items. Ready to pick out your class mascot? DEADLINE: application opens in August for the 20-21 school year.

ECOsolutions     

WOW! Up to $2,500 from The Captain Planet Foundation for high quality problem solving, STEM based projects that promote environmental stewardship in k-12 classrooms through their eco solution grants! Get creative with this one; last year they funded a variety of projects from engineering design tasks, to student created animal burrows!  DEADLINE: two cycles each year to submit: September-January, and March-July

ECOSYSTEMkits

Captain Planet Foundation has designed educational kits for the classroom based on environmental stewardship project ideas from thousands of educators around the world. These cutting edge project-based learning kits are custom made collections of lessons and materials that use the environment as the source of learning and include 3-dimensional learning, citizen science, and include materials, tools, and equipment. Grants are available for each kit, including pollination, earth, water, and renewable energy. Which one do you want to add to your classroom?  DEADLINE: two cycles each year for applying: September-January, and March-July.

Elementary-theater

Every year, The Charlie Lovett Fund for Elementary Drama supports production based elementary theater arts programs across the United States. Grants sizes are determined per application, but average $300 and are awarded on a rolling basis beginning in August of each school year. DEADLINE: rolling applications starting in August.

KeepingARTinclassrooms

Need supplies to keep art in your lessons and activities? The P. Buckley Moss Foundation believes art can and should be used in all subjects, and is putting their money where their mouth is by giving up to $1,000 for art supplies to teachers with art infused plans. DEADLINE: September 30.

PattersonBooks

Scholastic Book Clubs and writer James Patterson have united to bring five thousand teachers a $500 grant to improve their classroom libraries! Need to refresh your classroom book collection? Hurry up, the deadline is soon!

 TARGETingfieldtrips!

Fields trips are one of the first things to go in budget cuts. Target is defending the value in field trips by offering up to $700 of funds to get your students out of the classroom! Click the link to tell Target where you want to take your kids!  DEADLINE: new school year dates not yet announced.

Toshiba-ME! K-5    Toshiba-ME! 6-12

Toshiba is looking for teachers who want more STEM in their classrooms, offering funding to support problem based learning that bring science, math, and engineering into the classroom (FYI- this grant is not for computers, laptops, or tablets).

DEADLINE: k- 5, October 1 (up to $1000)      DEADLINE: Grades 6-12, March 1 (up to $5000).

Wal-heart

Walmart believes in strengthening their local communities, and meeting the needs of their local neighborhoods.  Their Community Grant Program provides funds to local organizations who are helping with issues involving education. Can you provide after school enrichment, tutoring or vocational training to your needy students? Tell Walmart about it and you may qualify for $250-$5000 in support funds.  DEADLINE: December.

Author

Jessica Cicalese-Kurtz, MA, k-12 Teaching and Technology; BA, k-8 Education; BS, Biology, Science and Engineering, is a middle school teacher at Toms River Schools. Jess is also a K-8 science curriculum writer for Toms River Schools and Ocean County, as well as an independent science workshop creator and presenter. She is a freelance writer, wife, and budgeting mom of four who loves to travel, enjoy nature, connect with animals, and read.

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