Chester educators receive $5,000 grant

The NEA Foundation Funds Professional Learning Community to Improve Writing Skills

Published on Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Joseph Pizzo and  Doreen Aiello of Black River Middle School in Chester, NJ have received a $5,000 Learning & Leadership Grant from the NEA Foundation to lead a professional learning community to reinforce writing as a skill integral to all curricula.  Exemplary lead teachers in the district will team with professionals from the College of Saint Elizabeth to provide training for teachers and to conduct action research to determine the successes of the project and the areas to be addressed in the future.

The NEA Foundation awards two primary categories of grants to public education professionals: Student Achievement Grants for initiatives to improve the academic achievement, and Learning & Leadership Grants for high-quality professional development activities. Nationwide, the NEA Foundation has awarded 50 grants totaling $211,000 to support educators’ efforts to improve teaching and learning. Since 1999, the NEA Foundation has funded 81 grants for New Jersey educators.

A team of 20 educators, many of whom are former grantees, carefully reviewed all applications and evaluated each one against a set of criteria. Funded grants were selected based on the quality of the proposed ideas and their potential for enhancing student achievement. The latest grants were awarded to educators in 33 different states. 

“With these grants we are helping educators to improve their practice so students can increase their academic achievement and develop 21st century skills,” said Harriet Sanford, president and CEO of the NEA Foundation.  “Through these grants, students and educators will engage in a wide variety of innovative work.” 

The NEA Foundation has awarded more than $7 million in grants like these over the past decade to educators in every state in the country. Each year, the Foundation awards approximately 150 Student Achievement and Learning & Leadership Grants. 

The Foundation awards its grants to educators three times a year.  Deadlines for the next review periods are June 1, 2011 and Oct. 15, 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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