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 for your students to engage in the world around them.
- 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 from BEEP through Grade 12. 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 be novel to the classroom (physical or virtual)
- applicants are encouraged (but not required) project should have ideas relating to engaging students in the world around them in an age-appropriate way
- the presentation of the idea should be clear and well-thought-out
Examples of previous, successful Idea Lab grants:
- a BHS teacher organized a Circles and Restorative Justice training for high school students
- a science teacher and a math teacher worked with their 7th-grade students to design and build an Aquaponics Garden
- a middle school Social Studies teacher had students make a graphic history book
- Updating the curriculum with new tools for the Understanding Disabilities unit
- BHS drama teacher worked with students to write and direct over a dozen one-minute plays about race
The application for Idea Lab funding is short and requires either a short description of your idea in writing or by a short video. The Idea Lab Funding Panel will review all applications and determine which are 1.) novel to your classroom, 2.) able to be done this year, and 3.) preferably include some demonstration of engaging students in the world around them. 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 engagement in the world around them in some way. This might mean getting involved in something relating to social justice, helping the community or neighborhood in some way, or getting to know classmates, friends, or family members better. 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 a meaningful curriculum.
- Educators are also required to attend Celebrating Teachers on May 11, 2021.
The Innovation Catalyst Award:
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 2020 Idea Lab grant recipient whose grant best supports a creative, engaging approach to teaching.
One outstanding award recipient will be chosen from the 2020 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.
- Written or video description and application forms are due on Friday, November 6 by 5:00 pm.
- Oral Zoom pitches will take place on November 10th and November 19th from 3:15 to 6:30 pm.
- Projects may begin immediately upon receiving funding.
- Documentation of funded projects (poster, PowerPoint, video, etc) will be required in late May 2021 to share your feedback and results with us and parents and donors. A guidance rubric will be provided. Educators are also required to attend Celebrating Teachers on May 11, 2021.