What is BCEF?
BCEF is an independent non-profit organization of community members committed to supporting Brunswick’s public school students and teachers in their pursuit of educational excellence.
Who is eligible to apply for a BCEF grant?
BCEF awards grants to Brunswick School Department teachers and staff members to support innovative and creative academic initiatives that are aligned with the Brunswick School Department’s mission, but that fall outside the scope of the school budget.
Applicants who received an award previously are welcome to apply the following year for a different project. Grants that request funding for projects, programs and materials previously funded by BCEF will need to offer an explanation of why repeat funding is required, and plans for future funding separate from BCEF. Priority will be given to requests that are new. In particular, we are unlikely to fund repeat requests for professional development grants, such as conference attendance and travel.
What are BCEF’s funding categories?
We invite applications that fit into one of four broad categories:
- Classroom-based grants will be awarded to individual teachers or groups of teachers to support projects aimed at complementing, enriching, or expanding upon the curriculum.
- School Grants will be awarded to individual schools for projects that enhance educational opportunities and foster collaboration within a grade level, between grade levels, within a subject area or department, or throughout the school as a whole.
- System-Wide Grants will be awarded to projects that have similar goals to the ones outlined above, but that have an educational impact on more than one school.
- Requests for Professional Development grants from individual teachers or small groups of teachers will be considered only if they enable the launch or expansion of a program or project tied to a curricular goal. For example, a grant was awarded to two Brunswick Junior High School teachers to establish an Aquaponics program for 6th grade science students. The grant aligned closely with specific units in the 6th grade science curriculum and included PD funds for the teachers to attend Aquaponics training at the Maine Herring Gut Institute and receive materials that will be used in the classroom for the foreseeable future. We invite you to review the Aquaponics grant (Word) for ideas on creating your own application.
Requests for PD also must be student-centered, have a quantifiable academic impact, and must include a clear explanation of why it is not part of the regular school budget.
Any professional development activities supported by BCEF should be readily shared with colleagues to amplify the impact of the experience. Details of how that will be accomplished must be included in the grant application.
What sorts of ideas will BCEF fund?
- Innovative ideas, and the materials needed to support them, which are aligned with the curriculum and will enrich students’ learning experiences.
- Interdisciplinary projects that can serve as pilots or models for larger-scale, self-sustaining projects, or projects that require preliminary data as part of a strategy for seeking other grant funding or long term support from other sources.
- Proposals that meet a unique or emerging need within a school or in the district.
- Programs that build community, bolster academic achievement and create opportunities that may not fit into the traditional day or classroom but are essential to student success and growth.
- Professional development activities that are student-centered, scalable, easily shared with others in the district, will have an immediate impact on students, and are part of a program or initiative aligned to the curriculum.
- Projects that require a specific piece of hardware may be considered. However, grants for hardware for general classroom purposes cannot be considered. For example, we would consider a request for microscopes for a 3rd grade science class, but not for high school biology class, where microscopes are an integral part of the curriculum and should be supported in the regular school budget.
- Projects that require a small paid stipend will be considered. However, BCEF will not fund stipends for the same project more than once; if a project becomes an ongoing or periodically offered part of a school’s offerings, the staff involved should seek funding for any necessary stipends from the BSD Stipend Committee.
- Technology – any grant request that includes the purchase of technology needs to fall within our grant guidelines. In addition, these grants must contain a plan for repair and maintenance developed in conjunction with the Director of Technology Integration for the Brunswick School System.
Details of previously funded projects can be found at www.brunswickcef.org.
BCEF is presently unable to consider grant applications for the following categories:
- Services and goods that are part of the school budget.
- Building and/or facilities maintenance, repairs or renovations.
- Replacement of items that were once part of the BSD School Budget but are no longer.
- Requests typically funded by parent groups, such as dances, school-wide social or community events, or food associated with those events.
- Requests to fund events or projects that do not have a clear educational benefit.
- Requests typically funded by sports or special interest booster groups.
- Teacher certification and degrees.
- Grants that support individual students, such as scholarships or camp fees
Grants have been awarded in amounts ranging from $500 to $5,000. Larger grants – up to $5,000 – will be considered for cooperative proposals involving multiple teachers, a grade level, a school-wide project or multi-year proposals. Professional development-related grants have a limit of $2,500. Partial funding of a larger project may be awarded if the overall goals meet the grant criteria but funding limitations cannot allow for full funding. Please carefully consider indicating on the application if you are open to partial funding. Partial funding could also be considered if there are specific phases of implementation and if costs for each phase (say, over several years) are included in the application materials.