New Jersey educators receive NEA Foundation grants

Published on Monday, November 22, 2010

The NEA Foundation awards two primary categories of grants to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve academic achievement, and Learning & Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities. Two New Jersey educators have won grants.

Examining Gender Isolation and Academic Performance

Courtne Thomas of Sojourner Truth Middle School in East Orange has received a $2,000 Learning & Leadership Grant from the NEA Foundation to conduct an action research project examining gender isolation and academic performance.  To address the lack of focus that is often observed in pubescent students, Thomas will attempt to prove that separate learning environments for male and female sixth through eighth grade students will improve their state assessment scores in language arts.  Upon completing the research, she will share her findings with the East Orange Education Association Professional Development Committee members, at team and staff meetings with colleagues, and at workshops and conferences with other educators.

Character Education Project

Debra Levy Robbins and Judith Collins of Prospect Park School 1 in Prospect Park have received a $5,000 Student Achievement Grant from the NEA Foundation for a project to integrate standards based activities to teach students about character.  Through the project titled "TERRIFIC (Trustworthy, Empathetic, Respectful, Responsible, Initiative takers, Fair, Integrity filled, Caring) Kids of Good Character,” students will improve their reading, writing, and technology skills by creating multimedia presentations focusing on members of their community that exhibit great character.

Nationwide, the NEA Foundation has awarded 57 grants totaling $252,000 to support educators’ efforts to improve teaching and learning. Since 1999, the NEA Foundation has funded 81 grants for New Jersey educators. The latest grants were awarded to educators in 33 different states. 

“With support from the NEA Foundation, public school educators in schools nationwide are finding new ways to increase student engagement in learning and are sharing new approaches to instructional practice with their peers,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation.  “Our most recent grantees will use these funds on a wide range of projects: from studying brained-based teaching strategies to instructing students how to create multi-media life stories through photography, poetry, and rap.”

Since 1999, the NEA Foundation has awarded more than $7.5 million in grants to educators in every state in the country.  The Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year.  The deadline for the next review period is Feb 1, 2011.  Descriptions of current and past recipients, online application forms, and an instructional video can be found at

The NEA Foundation

The NEA Foundation is an independent, public charity supported by contributions from educators, corporate sponsors, and others.  We partner with education unions, districts, and communities to create powerful, sustainable improvements in teaching and learning. Visit for more information.



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