Apply For Idea Lab Funding

fall funding initiative of the Brookline Education Foundation

It’s early October, 2016. You’ve gotten to know your students. What truly innovative educational practices do you wish you could try, if you had the resources?  What have you realized you need in order to make your ideas come to life? The BEF encourages you to put your original ideas to the test.  


The Big Picture:

  • Idea Lab funding provides awards of up to $1,000 to Brookline educators working alone or collaboratively to pilot new approaches that reflect the latest educational thinking. An idea that is new to the Public Schools of Brookline must form the basis of the application.
  • 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 aspect of professional practice or any subject area 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 should be novel, focused, strategic, time sensitive, and potentially replicable. We seek projects that can start immediately after funding and have impact within this school year.

Approaches that have been supported through previous Idea Lab grants are not eligible for funding. Please refer to our complete list of prior grants.

The Nitty Gritty:

The application for Idea Lab funding is contained in a brief form (below), requiring a description of your idea in writing or on video. The Idea Lab Funding Panel will review all applications and determine which are innovative, focused, strategic, time sensitive, and potentially replicable. 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 support innovative teaching practices and learning. 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 initiate new, ground-breaking projects. Projects that have been funded by the BEF in the past will not receive renewal funding. Please consult our list of previous Idea Lab grants prior to submitting your application.

The Innovation Catalyst Award:

In 2016, the BEF is providing an additional incentive to innovative approaches to teaching through an INNOVATION CATALYST AWARD. This award will be presented to the 2016 Idea Lab grant recipient whose grant best supports a creative, pioneering approach to teaching.

One outstanding award recipient will be chosen from 2016 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 7 by 5:00pm. Application below
  • Oral pitches will take place on November 17th and November 29th in the late afternoon and early evening. 
  • 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 4th from 3:30PM to 5:00PM. All grant recipients are required to participate.   

 Questions?  E-mail or call 617-232-3846