Teacher’s Know Best
Our immediate response teacher grants model is founded on the idea that teachers know best; through these grant programs, public school teachers send in one-page requests for grant funds to benefit their students as they see fit. This model respects teachers’ time and their ability to decide what is needed most for their students.
One of these teacher grant programs is the Special Education Resource Grant Program. Funded by the Thomas J. Long Foundation, this program provides $500 grants to special education teachers at low-income schools throughout Alameda and Contra Costa Counties. These practitioners are dedicated advocates for their students with moderate to severe special needs, who are often underserved.
Mary Dominguez, Special Education Teacher at Martinez Early Intervention Preschool Program, requested funding last fall to bring the Lindsey Wildlife Experience to her students. The local wildlife hospital and educational facility provides programming for students of all ages, bringing live animals, educational materials and lessons into the classroom. Ms. Dominguez recently reported back to us on their experience:
Due to the special and sometimes challenging needs of our students and families, many of them are unable to participate in local community events. This is where your grant comes in: your donation allows our staff to bring enriching experiences into the safe, supportive environment of the classroom where families and children can participate in fun, educational activities.
Our students and their families were able to meet owls, lizards, snakes and turtles! We sang songs, talked about local habitats, pet live animals and even measured our wing spans. Most engaging was the pond building activity where each student helped to build an indoor pond for the live turtle and snake to explore.
The most rewarding part is that parents and caregivers get to experience their child’s joy and education in a responsive and inclusive environment. Teachers and staff are present to support learning, language, and the social emotional needs of students who may become overwhelmed in group settings or when live animals are present. We – our staff, students and families – are so grateful for this award. You have provided us the opportunity to expand learning with love and enrich the lives of children and families who need it the most. Thank you for providing us this opportunity.
We – our staff, students and families – are so grateful for this award. You have provided us the opportunity to expand learning with love and enrich the lives of children and families who need it the most.