[Newark, NJ (December 3, 2021] In 2018, Superintendent León initiated the “I Believe in You” and “I Believe in My PLC” grants to impress on teachers his full commitment to the important work they do in teaching and learning.
In response to the global pandemic, the Superintendent reintroduced these two grant for teachers and funded it with its largest installment of over $3.3 million dollars reserved for teachers and teacher team driven projects. The “I Believe in You” grant provides every teacher with $1,000 and the I Believe in My Professional Learning Community” for one team of teachers per school with $7,000 for the purchase of supplies, materials and researched based strategies. “Our teachers have been front and center through the pandemic. The projects submitted are a testament that they continue to be steadfast in supporting our students’ academic and social-emotional needs”, said Superintendent Leόn.
Teachers have been creative in using these funds to support all curricular areas including Literacy, Mathematics, STEM, Social Studies, Visual and Performing Arts, and Physical Education. Teachers are taking advantage of this opportunity with one-third of the schools spending 100% of their total installment to date. “This grant was a win-win for my students and me! My small investment of taking the time to complete the grant was outweighed by the impact it will have on student learning and my own personal success as a teacher,” said Mr. Vargas, Teacher. While teachers are struggling and wrestling with the effects of the global pandemic, they are nothing less than selfless and resilient. This year’s installment of both of these grants for teachers is a reminder to all that our teachers are committed to our students, and we are committed to them,” added Superintendent Leόn.
In addition to ensuring teachers are equipped with the resources to help students learn and think critically, the district is keenly aware of their heroic efforts and personal needs. Through a Center for Disease Control grant to support teacher and staff mental health, all staff have access to the WHIL App, a digital training platform for mindfulness, resilience, and mental & emotional wellbeing. The platform for staff also contains digital courses on meditation, reducing stress and anxiety, and improving physical health.
“We continue to be inspired by our teachers’ relentless drive and excited to know they are taking advantage of all the supports made available to them. We are proud of our teachers and staff,” said Board President Dawn Haynes.