Tuesday, March 26, 2013

April Grant Opportunities

Target: Early Childhood Reading Grants
Target Early Childhood Reading Grants promote a love of reading and encourages young children to read together with their families by supporting programs such as after-school reading events and weekend book clubs. Maximum award: $2,000. Eligibility: schools, libraries, and nonprofit organizations. Deadline: April 30, 2013.
Target: Arts and Culture in Schools Grants Target Arts and Culture in Schools Grants help schools and nonprofits to bring arts and cultural experiences directly to K-12 students. These programs must have a curriculum component. Maximum award: $2,000. Eligibility: schools and nonprofit organizations. Deadline: April 30, 2013.

ING: Unsung Heroes The ING Unsung Heroes awards program recognizes innovative and progressive thinking in education through monetary awards. Maximum award: $25,000. Eligibility: full-time educators, teachers, principals, paraprofessionals, or classified staff members with effective projects that improve student learning at an accredited K-12 public or private school. Deadline: April 30, 2013.

NCSS: Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award National Council for the Social Studies Christa McAuliffe Reach for the Stars Award aims to help a social studies educator make his or her dream of innovative social studies a reality. Grants will be given to assist classroom teachers in developing and implementing imaginative, innovative, and illustrative social studies teaching strategies; and supporting student implementation of innovative social studies, citizenship projects, field experiences, and community connections. Maximum award: $2,500. Eligibility: Full-time social studies teachers or social studies teacher educators currently engaged with K-12 students; NCSS membership required. Deadline: May 1, 2013.

source: Los Angeles Education Partnership

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Active Schools Acceleration Project

The Active Schools Acceleration Project, an initiative of ChildObesity180, is accepting applications from K-12 schools nationwide for ASAP Acceleration Grants, which provide everything schools need to launch new physical activity programs. The campaign is designed to elevate and celebrate "champions" who can successfully bring an ASAP physical activity programs to his or her school.

The program will provide $1,000 in seed money to a thousand elementary schools to implement one of three signature ASAP physical activity programs.

Deadline: April 22, 2013 


Friday, March 1, 2013


Communities and Schools President, Dan Cardinali, visits AISD and speaks about Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) and Communities in Schools (CIS). Read the post below !

For more information on SEL at AISD visit: http://www.austinisd.org/academics/sel
For more information on CIS  at AISD visit: http://www.cisaustin.org/

The Office of Innovation and Development is currently aiding the Social and Emotional Learning Department in a $1million match to continue supporting and implementing SEL in schools. For more info: http://aisdinnovation.blogspot.com/2012/11/1-million-challenge-grant-announced-for.html

The following article was originally posted on Huffington Post :http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dan-cardinali/post_4383_b_2741389.html

Accelerating Innovation Through Integrated Student Supports

Posted: 02/26/2013 6:22 pm

Austin, Texas, likes to cultivate a reputation for weirdness, but there are some pretty wonderful things going on in the Austin Independent School District, as I discovered during a visit earlier this month.
Throughout the city, students are learning about persistence, empathy and honesty right alongside math, science and history. Those non-cognitive lessons are tightly integrated with the more traditional curriculum, helping move Austin to the forefront of the Social Emotional Learning (SEL) movement nationwide.
The goal of SEL is to prepare kids for success in school and in life by building their capacity to self-regulate, to persist through challenges, and to develop healthy relations with peers and adults. These are crucial skills that were once learned at the dinner table or in the church pew or in dozens of other community settings.
But as community support structures have withered away, our kids increasingly come to school without the life tools that, it turns out, are essential to high school graduation, post-secondary attainment and a successful career. When the school day becomes a succession of personal meltdowns and interpersonal conflicts, there may be precious little opportunity for things like reading, writing and arithmetic.
For many years, our public school teachers have recognized the problem and tried their best to address it in an ad hoc way. Meanwhile, national organizations like the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) are working to rationalize the field of non-cognitive learning through research, programming, assessments and more.
Austin is one of eight large school districts around the country where CASEL is hoping "to achieve the goal of making social and emotional learning an essential part of every child's education." Under the leadership of Austin Superintendent Meria Carstarphen, who advocates a "whole child" approach to education, it's clear that SEL is becoming an integral part of the curriculum.
Walk the hallways of a public school in Austin, and it's hard to miss the well-defined "Peace Areas" where students can go to regulate their emotions or the brightly colored posters where kids have put their own artistic spin on concepts like empathy, compassion and peacemaking.
With 57 schools already participating in the SEL program, Austin hopes to extend its innovative curriculum to all 124 schools within three years. That sounds like a worthy and ambitious goal, except for one thing: A universal curriculum is not the same as a universal education.
At Communities In Schools, we have many years of research proving that poverty is perhaps the ultimate barrier to effective education. When our poorest students arrive at school each morning, they are simply too traumatized to learn. They come through the doors hungry, sick, fearful, exhausted and preoccupied. Even the most innovative curriculum -- whether it's science, social studies or SEL -- has little hope of making any lasting impression under those circumstances.
History shows us that, on its own, SEL is bound to fail with the very students who need it most. That would be a tragedy, because every failed curriculum is one more brick in the growing structural barrier that impedes academic achievement and perpetuates the cycle of poverty.
If that last paragraph sounds defeatist, note that the downbeat assessment hinges on three little words: "on its own." The fact is, SEL doesn't stand on its own in Austin, because Communities in Schools happens to have a thriving local affiliate there. Our case managers are already embedded in Austin's public schools, providing Integrated Student Supports to economically and socially disenfranchised students and their families.
By mobilizing community resources to meet the most basic needs of these kids -- food, health care, safety, shelter and the like -- Communities In Schools site coordinators help to mitigate the grinding effects of poverty so that students can take full advantage of their learning opportunities. As certified social workers, site coordinators can also enhance the learning environment by providing essential mental health services in a timely way. Our presence offers a crucial resource for teachers and principals trying to keep an entire class on track, while still meeting the needs of students who require extra attention.
It's an approach that we've honed over several decades, and hard data prove that our Integrated Student Supports model is effective at raising math and reading scores, lowering dropout rates and improving graduation rates among populations who are most at risk.
In Austin today, Communities In Schools is once again helping to accelerate and effectuate much-needed education reform. Social and Emotional Learning, when combined with Integrated Student Supports, has the potential to be a breakthrough approach to bridging the persistent opportunity gap.
It's an experiment that bears close watching, even if the collaboration was entirely coincidental. Other large-scale SEL pilots are moving forward in districts both with and without community support providers like Communities In Schools, and it will be interesting to see whether the outcomes are significantly different.
I suspect I know the answer to that question -- and I'm fairly certain that a lot of kids in Austin will one day be very grateful that they happened to be in the right place at the right time.

Follow Dan Cardinali on Twitter: www.twitter.com/@DanCardinali

Nominate a Teacher for the DiscoverE Educator Awards

These awards are shining a spotlight on the educators who are inspiring tomorrow's innovation generation. By honoring the teachers who are hard at work in 6 to 12th grade classrooms (here in the US and abroad), the engineering profession wants to show its appreciation and respect for the educators who are helping students discover engineering.  Unique to this program, engineers and engineering students are part of the nomination process. The application and additional program information is available at http://eweek.org/NewsStory.aspx?ContentID=290. 

Applications are due on March 8, 2013.


Source: Westcave Preserve http://westcave.org/

The Children in Nature Collaborative of Austin presents the
Sixth Annual Children in Nature Awards Gala


In September of 2013, Westcave Preserve will host the sixth annual Celebration of Children in Nature Awards Gala.  The centerpiece of this program is the celebration of extraordinary work in the Central Texas Community to inspire joy and wonder by getting our children out into nature. We will recognize four individuals or organizations who demonstrate the very best in connecting kids to the natural world.
We are seeking the nominations of children, adults, organizations or groups of individuals who are doing exciting, innovative, successful work to offer solutions to the problem of "nature deficit disorder" - a term coined by bestselling author Richard Louv in his book Last Child in the Woods: Saving Your Children from Nature Deficit Disorder.  Award categories include: E. Lee Walker Award for Community Collaboration, John C. Watson Award for Vision, John F. Arhns Award for Environmental Education and the Westcave Preserve Award for Enduring Dedication.  Click here for a list of previous award winners.
Click here to learn more about the Celebration event and to download the nomination form.  The deadline for nominations is March 18, 2013.

Google Science Fair

The Google Science Fair is back for 2013!

What’s it all about? This online science competition in partnership with CERN, LEGO, National Geographic and Scientific American which is open to young people aged 13 to 18 from around the world – working as an individual or in a team of up to 3. It offers students the chance to explore an area of science that they're passionate about - and be in with a chance of winning life-changing prizes!

How do students take part? Students have 3 months to come up with a winning idea and complete their project before the 30 April deadline. All they need to do is visit www.googlesciencefair.com and register, then they can get started. This year we’ve included a wealth of resources designed to help you engage your students in the competition and science in the classroom.

Once in a lifetime prizes! Prizes include scholarships from Google, a 10-day trip to the Galapagos Islands with National Geographic Expeditions along with an experience at Google, CERN or LEGO
In addition, this year we will award a Science in Action prize, sponsored by Scientific American, awarded to a top science project that has shown positive, local community impact and the potential to scale in other parts of the world. The public will have the chance to vote for the most Inspired Idea and the winner's’ school will be acknowledged with a Celebrate the School Award.

It's your turn to help a student change the world – get started at www.googlesciencefair.com