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, 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 6-8 Guidance Counselor organized a half-day Career Exploration Workshop for the 8th Grade class
- a middle school science teacher and an ECS teacher developed a program targeting Engineering practices and Empathy development for kindergarten and 6th Grade students
- a team of BHS Bridge Alliance teachers organized an overnight life skills experience for their students
The application for Idea Lab funding is short and requires either 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.) 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.
- Educators are also required to attend Celebrating Teachers on May 12, 2020.
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 2019 Idea Lab grant recipient whose grant best supports a creative, engaging approach to teaching.
One outstanding award recipient will be chosen from 2019 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 7 by 5:00pm. – CLOSED
- Oral pitches will take place on November 13th and November 21st from 3:15-6:30.
- Projects may begin immediately upon receiving funding.
- A virtual “Poster/Video” visual presentation will be required in late May 2020 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 12, 2020.