For the last several years, the Institute has had the option of providing grants to teachers. The grants were given out on a competitive basis as local teachers submitted proposals. Associates and other members of the SWTI Advisory Committee rated the grants using a rubric devised for that purpose. The average grant award has been $500.00 with money for the larger grant pool coming from a $15,000.00 Turner award that lasts until December 2005. The grants were meant to promote innovative teaching and learning projects and provide an avenue of support for teachers investigating and documenting new ways of working with youth.
The Aspire Grant Proposal
The Aspire Grant will be bestowed on teachers whom Teaching Associates within the institute have identified as doing excellent work in the local education community. No application process accompanies this award, rather Teaching Associates are charged with identifying the teachers on behalf of the Springfield-Wittenberg Teacher Institute. The monetary award is the same for all teachers and comes with no strings attached. Award winners are celebrated in several ways, including but not limited to, an award letter, commendation letters to superintendents and principals, press announcements, web site expose or publication exposure detailing the reasons for the award. The purpose of the award is to honor teachers in an unexpected way, but in a way that celebrates the inspiration, innovation, and student-centered focus they have modeled.
•The award focuses on contributions to creating engaging student work projects and helping students achieve.
•Criteria includes demonstrable evidence of the creation of good student work. This work can include the following attributes: student ownership in creating, shaping, and developing projects, the development of academic and social skills, and/or authentic contribution to the communities.
•The award committee reviews nominations made by the Teaching Associates and selects a maximum of 21 awards per year with an award of $250.00 each.