Apply For Idea Lab Funding

fall funding initiative of the Brookline Education Foundation

It’s early October, 2017. You’ve gotten to know your students, and you have the germ of a great, engaging idea to do in the classroom this year. What is a hands-on, experiential learning project that you would like to try with your students to enhance your curriculum if you had the resources?  What ideas do you have to investigate and discover something with your students in a meaningful and engaging way?

CLICK HERE TO APPLY - IT'S QUICK AND EASY!  Read the details below and apply by Nov 6, 2017.

The Big Picture:

  • Idea Lab funding provides awards of up to $1,000 to Brookline educators working alone or collaboratively to pilot a new experience in your classroom to engage students in hands-on, authentic, and experiential learning
  • Applications from individuals or teams of teachers, administrators, or other professional and para-professional personnel under contract with the Public Schools of Brookline are welcome.
  • Projects may address any subject area for any grade taught in the Brookline Public Schools. Eligible projects related to teaching practice should enhance, but not duplicate, the standard public school curriculum and programs.
  • Projects will be considered that include the following : 
    • applications should have some form of hands-on, experiential learning
    • applications should be novel to the classroom
    • the project should engage students
    • the presentation of the idea should be clear and well-thought-out

Examples of previous Idea Lab grants that would qualify include:

  • a 4th grade teacher purchased a kit to build a solar powered go-kart with his students
  • a BHS drama teacher produced 43 one-minute plays about race in America with her students
  • a gym teacher and a science teacher worked with their 8th grade students on a unit about energy with special jump-ropes

However, you are not limited to those ideas, and we welcome your new and creative ideas about how to actively engage your students.

The Nitty Gritty:

The application for Idea Lab funding is contained in a brief form here, requiring a description of your idea in writing or on video. The Idea Lab Funding Panel will review all applications and determine which are novel to your classroom, able to be done this year, and include some version of hands-on experiential learning for your students. Only applicants whose proposals meet these criteria will be asked to meet with the panel and orally “pitch” their ideas. 

  • You must submit either a one-page description or a brief video explaining your idea. Your submission should indicate the goals of your project; what impact the project will have on you, your colleagues, and your students; and why the project is innovative.
  • Successful applications will demonstrate engaging, experiential learning in some way. Funds may be used to pay for stipends; consultants; conference fees; and materials, equipment, or technology necessary to support your idea.
  • The BEF will not support projects that should be funded more appropriately within the school budget. Proposals should not request funds for classroom supplies or routine lesson plan development. For example, we would not fund teacher planning time or training required to launch a new academic curriculum adopted by an individual school or the system as a whole.
  • Please note that Idea Lab funding is intended to encourage new, engaging ways to involve your students in meaningful curriculum. 

The Innovation Catalyst Award:

In 2017, the BEF is providing an additional incentive to new and experiential approaches to teaching through an INNOVATION CATALYST AWARD. This award will be presented to the 2017 Idea Lab grant recipient whose grant best supports a creative, engaging approach to teaching.

One outstanding award recipient will be chosen from 2017 Idea Lab grant recipients. There is no separate application for the award, which includes a $500 prize. The selection committee will choose the recipient whose grant exemplifies the spirit of Idea Lab by offering a new and novel idea that will help transform student learning.

The INNOVATION CATALYST AWARD, which is intended to encourage creativity and thinking “outside the box,” may be used to further the goals of the awardee’s Idea Lab grant by funding additional stipends, administrative costs, equipment, or technology directly related to the grant.

The Timing:

  • Written or video description and application forms are due on Monday, November 6 by 5:00pm. Application here
  • Oral pitches will take place on November 16th and November 27th from 3:15-6:30. 
  • Projects may begin immediately upon receiving funding.
  • A Forum to share with fellow educators the results of this year’s Idea Lab grants will take place on May 24th from 3:30PM to 5:00PM. All grant recipients are required to participate.   

Questions?  E-mail BEF@brooklineeducation.org or call 617-232-3846