Innovative Teaching Grants

Innovative Teaching Grants

The Northwest ISD Education Foundation takes pride in providing Innovative Teaching Grants to hard working educators in our district, looking to open new doors for their students! To date, we have funded over $1.6 Million in grants.

The 2018-2019 Application Window is Closed!

Congratulations to the 2017-2018 NEF Innovative Teaching Grant Recipients!

This year, NEF awarded 33 innovative teaching grants across 17 campuses totaling more than $88,000. To see photos from the grant brigade on the district's Flickr account, click here

2017-2018 Awarded Grants

Diverse in First, Sendera Ranch Elementary - $2,000
Guided reading is a research-based approach to teaching reading that is an essential part of a balanced and comprehensive literacy program. This grant purchases leveled reading sets and diverse picture books to support every level of reader, specifically students in first grade. Through guided reading, students will learn to problem solve, decode and comprehend more challenging materials.

Poetry in Motion, Cox Elementary - $1,786.40
Through the implementation of Ozobots, an innovative and creative technology tool, students will gain mastery of poetic forms and develop basic coding and computer science skills. Students draw coded lines with markers to program an Ozobot; when activated, this small robot follows the line drawn by students and performs tasks (such as lighting up certain colors) according to the patterns that students have coded with their markers. Includes additional poetry resources to add to the library's book collection. Ozobot Kit can be used in individual classrooms, the library and the school's makerspace.

Early Childhood Literacy Pack, Prairie View Elementary - $2,771.43
Sponsored by: Pinnacle Bank
Provides each kindergarten teacher with the Early Childhood Literacy Pack which includes resources from Lakeshore Learning and Really Good Stuff targeted to fostering early literacy skills in young learners. These resources will give kindergarten students an opportunity to practice reading and writing with hands-on manipulatives, activities and games. The materials requested provide students multi-sensory experiences to achieve grade-level literacy goals.

Popping into a Series, Seven Hills Elementary - $2,500.00
The campus focus is ensuring every child meets or exceeds end of year expectations in reading. To support this, Popping into a Series challenges third grade students to read books in a series on their reading level. Reading a book in a series helps with fluency, comprehension, and deepens their connection with the settings and characters. With this third grade collection, students will have more resources and be able to move quickly through a series. This grant purchases a collection of series books for various reading levels. Each student will get a bookmark (not funded by grant) to check off books once they complete a summary Google form. Once they finish a whole series, they can add a sticker to their classroom goal poster and go to the library to receive a prize! Seven Hills Elementary

Thinking Inside the (Light)box, Clara Love Elementary - $840.00
Sponsored by: Devon Energy
With more than 15% of the campus student population at-risk in reading, this grant provides resources that combine traditional books with embedded, multi-media content to engage and support struggling readers, as well as materials to improve student writing scores. The funds purchase the Lightbox ELA Elementary Bundle for third through fifth grade. A set of 21 book titles in interactive ebooks that includes maps, videos, slideshows and quizzes, as well as the matching hardcover books. Every student has access through their Chromebooks.

The Everyday Reader, Justin Elementary - $4,219.47
A PlayAway is a small device that has a novel recording on it ranging in length from 2.5 to 5.5 hours. Students who are reluctant readers or below level readers benefit from PlayAway novels as they offer the opportunity to successfully read and comprehend novels that may not have been accessible to them without being read aloud. On-level and proficient readers also benefit from more genre varieties and the ability to decode higher level vocabulary words. This grant purchases 60 PlayAways, which includes 60 earbuds that can be checked out to students who don't have access between home and school, for second through fifth grade.

If There is a Problem, Yo! We'll Solve it!, Thompson Elementary  - $4,224.82
Sponsored by: Pogue Construction
Through this grant, teachers aspire to integrate various versions of Lego Robotics to evoke a sense of curiosity that will support life-long learners and future inventors. In addition to the 4 C's of Education: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity, we think it's crucial to enrich the self-efficacy, teamwork and problem solving skills of every student. The Lego Education Sets purchased include: 6 EV3 Lego Mindstorms Kits, 6 WeDo 2.0 Lego Kits, and 4 WeDo Construction Kits. State aligned curriculum, lesson plans and 24-hour HelpDesk are included in the kits free of charge.

STEM: Logo Robotics, Haslet Elementary - $2,500.00

Sponsored by: Facebook Community Action Grant Fund of the North Texas Community Foundation
The vision for this grant is to engage fifth grade science classes with a cross-curricular, hands-on learning environment using Lego Mindstorms Education EV3 Robotics by providing an authentic experience with computer programming and engineering. This grant purchases LEGO MINDSTORMS Education Ev3 Core Set and Ev3 Space Challenge Set for use in fifth grade science classes, and an after school robotics program.

WeDo Lego Robotics: Building Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships, Granger Elementary - $1,877.36
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation
This grant provides funding for the second grade team to purchase 10 Lego Robotics WeDo 2.0 Kits which contain the necessary Lego pieces and curriculum software pack to enable students to improve their understanding of science, engineering and technology concepts through hands-on learning.  Kits will rotate through all second grade classrooms to provide each student the opportunity to design, build and program robots. Once all classrooms have completed one of the guided projects within the curriculum pack, they will establish a Lego Robotics club.

Rolling into Rigor and Relevance with THINK LABS, Beck Elementary - $2,650.00
Sponsored by: Facebook Community Action Grant Fund of the North Texas Community Foundation
This grant creates a Mobile Think Lab, a space on campus where every student can regularly visit and participate in challenging and encouraging activities. A unique storage cart will house planned rigorous and relevant learning experiences to promote critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, communication skills and literacy. Carts will contain a variety of STEAM resources, logical reasoning games and puzzles for every grade level kindergarten through fifth grade. Carts will also include resources to reinforce literacy and math concepts. When implemented, teachers will create a campus Google Classroom specifically for the Think Lab to gather feedback and reflections from students and teachers.

MAKE-ing Students THINK with Mobile Carts, Prairie View Elementary - $2,450.00
Sponsored by: Facebook Community Action Grant Fund of the North Texas Community Foundation
The goal of this grant is to promote critical thinking, problem solving, and learning through hands on learning experiences for every student on campus. The funds purchased will create a mobile "think" lab and a mobile "make" lab with a variety of resources for each grade level. In the Think Lab, students will engage in problem solving activities and logic games, design a plan for a Makerspace project, play Chess, Qbitz, or Gravity Maze, learn how to solve the Rubik's Cube, create Rubik's Cube mosaics, or complete a STEM challenge. In the Make Lab, students may use any and all resources to create, invent, produce, or design and build. The Big Book of Makerspace, 365 Things to do with Lego Bricks, and Bridges: Amazing Structures to Design, Build, and Test book are included as resources for students.

Stomp, Pop and Learn, Cox Elementary - $4,348.04
Sponsored by: AllianceTexas Corporate Challenge
This grant incorporates technology into the Physical Education classroom to keep students moving and engaged, as well as incorporating other curriculum opportunities. The technology purchased will be set up on the stage of the gym to enable students to play games projected on the floor that require them to move to win. Games can involve sports, mathematics or language arts making this a fun way to learn for students who might struggle in content areas. Using LumoPlay game templates, Gates students will also create new and exciting games for other students to utilize to work on a variety of content areas giving them ownership in both learning and teaching.

PE for Progress, Thompson Elementary - $4,962.52
Sponsored by: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance
The goal of this grant is to help students discover the physical benefits of various activities, to encourage students to stay active, and to create a positive physical fitness improvement for students and their families. By utilizing pedometers, heart rates monitors and a variety of planned activities, students will determine which physical activities provide benefit their health, learn to make correlations between heart rate, physical activity and their overall health, and provide tools for self-assessment and evaluation of their performance. This equipment covers students from kindergarten through fifth grade and incorporates cross curricular learning with math, technology and science.

Are you SHURE this mic is on?, Pike Middle School - $2,938.99
Recordings are the best way to provide feedback for music students, and the better the recording, the better the feedback. This grant will provide a fixed-location audio recording system to minimize preparation and maximize recording time during a class period. This technology will create innovative systems of giving feedback to choirs, record practice tracks, rehearse with other parts, and give students the opportunity to evaluate their performances, set goals and learn from each other.

Fair Play, Chisholm Middle School - $4,524.00
Every year, the campus has students who can't participate in band due to the expense of purchasing or renting an instrument. Students that play clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet or trombone are required to provide their instrument to participate. This grant purchases saxophones (2) and trombones (3) to provide low-income families with the opportunity to participate in band.

Tongue Twister, Cox Elementary - $1,753.00
The goal of this project is to build community among students and facilitate students creating music in nature by funding the school's first outdoor music instrument. The funds purchase a portable double tongue drum set designed to with-stand inclement weather so it can be used both indoors and outdoors, primarily to be used in the school's courtyard which is a common area used by all classes. The location of the instrument also creates an opportunity for parents, like watchdog dads or moms on a mission, to get involved and positively interact with students.

Digital Music for the Digital World, Northwest High School - $4,616.99
As little as ten years ago, music students only needed to know how to play their primary instruments. Now it is becoming more and more necessary for musicians to understand recording and electronic music and digital sound design to be competitive in the modern music industry. The goal of this grant is to provide these unique and necessary learning opportunities for students to continue to grow in Fine Arts. The funds purchase sound equipment to be used by percussion students, including state-of-the-art digital audio equipment for marching band shows, percussion ensemble shows and small ensemble groups.

The Color Experience, Byron Nelson High School - $1,396.00
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance
Every year, the campus has several students who struggle when having to learn about or make choices about color. These students have to overcome the fear of being judged and misunderstood from peers when they have to ask if the color they are using is correct. This grant aims to provide those students an equal opportunity to understand color relationships, but also provide them an experience they will remember and thank the district for. The funds purchase a set of Enchroma glasses for colorblind students.

Make Music! Record and Compose!, Northwest High School - $3,769.88
Every band program needs metronomes, notation software, and recording equipment. With these tools, we can reinforce the core concepts we teach students in a custom tailored and innovative way. The funds purchase state of the art music notation software, audio and video recording equipment, wrist pulse metronomes and a wireless metronome.

Musical Instrument Initiative, Pike Middle School - $1,980.00
Every year, the campus has students who can't participate in band due to the expense of purchasing or renting an instrument. Students that play clarinet, flute, saxophone, trumpet or trombone are required to provide their instrument to participate. This grant purchases clarinets (2) and trumpets (2) to provide low-income families with the opportunity to participate in band.

Daily Play the Ukulele, Justin Elementary - $1,947.00
Tomorrow's instrumental musicians face the challenge of becoming proficient in playing pre-written musical notation typically found in band and orchestral music. Additionally, they will face opportunities in contemporary ensembles that use chord charts and improvisational chord techniques. The ukulele is the perfect instrument for introducing chord playing, strumming, and ear training, due to its size and ease of play. This grant purchases 30 soprano ukuleles and cases, enough for a 1:1 student-to-instrument ratio, to teach chord progression concepts and develop improvisational creativity.

Start Spreading the Shoes, Clara Love Elementary - $4,791.00
Rock the Block event features a school wide art display, local musicians, and music groups from the district. The event raises awareness and support for the Community Clothes Closet by hosting a shoe drive, and strengthens the campus relationship with the surrounding community. The funds purchase instruments, sound equipment, art display boards, and outdoor games for the annual event.

Thrive Time, Cox Elementary - $4,988.49
With the goal of Excellence for All, the Essentials team is collaborating with PACEE teachers to provide autistic students with Thrive Time in PE, Art, Music and Library, by dedicating extra time each day to these instructional areas. This grant funds equipment tailored to autistic students for each area. Art: supplies that are easier to grasp/manipulate. Music: adaptive instruments that allow them to play while singing. PE: equipment that allows them to be successful in activities with peers. Library: maker space items to help them create projects based on literature.

Sensory Matters, Byron Nelson High School - $3,438.95
Students with sensory differences frequently have a very hard time with "typical" learning environments. Some students have a strong desire for certain sensory inputs, for example, movement, deep pressure, spinning or swinging. It is difficult and almost impossible to accommodate the needs of these students who are seeking sensory input in a general education classroom environment. As educators, we will need to work closely with the students to help them understand what sensory input they need and how to meet that need in safe environment in the quickest way possible. This grant helps design a room that combines a range of stimuli to help individuals with learning difficulties, development disabilities or sensory impairments. The funds purchase items such as light, pressure, sound and movement sensory.

Sensory Space, Tidwell Middle School - $1,591.05
Students in special education can have sensory needs that need to be met, especially students on the Autism Spectrum Disorder. Creating a sensory space can help the students who are in sensory overload calm down and then get back to work. To create the sensory space, the funds purchase lights, interactive boards for the wall, colorful lights, sensory chairs and interactive mats.

Circle of Friends, Medlin Middle School - $498.87
Sponsored by: Dave Edstrom, Century 21 Mike Bowman
The heart of Circle of Friends is to develop friendships between students with special needs and their non-disabled peers. This grant will start a Circle of Friends group on campus to build these relationships benefiting all students socially and emotionally as a community of learners. Non-disabled students will explore how their peers with special needs experience the world around them as they play and socialize. Students with special needs will receive much needed typical peer interaction which is often too lacking in their environment. The funds purchase interactive games, recreational games, and sensory games.

Coming to you "LIVE" from the classroom!!!, Steele Accelerated HighSchool - $634.45
Sponsored by: Scott Blattner, Edward Jones Investments
Many students receiving Special Education services struggle with note-taking as well as other study skills. This grant supports students receiving Special Education services by providing a "living" copy of class notes through Livescribe pens and accessories. While providing hard copy notes is useful, the Livescribe system provides a visual and audio copy of class notes so students can hear the class and revisit parts of the classroom discussion in or out of school. These recordings would serve as an accommodation for students receiving class notes, but could be accessible for any student.

Escape the Classroom, Cox Elementary - $991.76
Sponsored by: Jolley Orthodontics
Have you ever been to an escape room? Imagine bringing this type of innovative learning into the classroom! It's time to challenge our students and transfer the ownership of learning from the instructor to the student. Using kits, students will find hidden clues, look out for red herrings, and work together to beat the clock in order to solve content based games and open a locked box and escape! The funds purchase various lockable boxes, digit and directional locks, and other resources to create the breakout challenges. Watch Dog Dads and Moms on a Mission will be invited to help create and participate in challenges.

PLAY? A Child's Natural Language!, Cox Elementary - $4,795.22
Play Therapy, as a counseling approach for elementary age children, provides a developmentally appropriate environment for children to communicate their experiences and struggles regardless or cultural background or academic ability level. The development of a play therapy room in the school setting would open the door to a potential shift in the way NISD approaches counseling services for elementary age students that aligns with current research and has been proven as a highly effective way to support student academic and social/emotional needs. This grant funds a play therapy room with a variety of toys, art materials and small furniture as needed. To create an effective play therapy room, "materials should be selected rather than collected". Each toy has a specific purpose and role in the process. Creative-expressive toys, real-life acting out toys, and aggressive toys are all necessary for effective emotional release and expression of experience.

Habitudes: Developing Leaders From the Inside Out, Byron Nelson High School - $1,448.99
Sponsored by: Joeris General Contractors
Purchases Habitudes: Images that Form Leadership Habits and Attitudes is a comprehensive series that combines the power of visual images with relevant, relatable stories and exercises to develop values, character, leadership habits and attitudes. The combination of resources, lessons and intentional practice work effectively transform and empower students to have a lasting impact on their community and a competitive advantage throughout their lives. This grant purchases the four course Habitudes leadership curriculum bundle and the online classroom license.

Escape the Library!, Seven Hills Elementary - $450.00
Sponsored by: EECU
In an Escape Room, a group of people are presented with questions, challenges and puzzles that are often based on a theme, and they must work together to find the answers to escape the room. Breakout EDU has created a kit full of locks, boxes, UV lights, and secret decoder pens that can be used to create exciting lessons, introduce new information, or review a topic with students. The funds purchase 3 Breakout EDU kits to be used with students in the library and, since they are mobile, can also be used in the classrooms when collaborating with other curriculum teachers. These kits will be used across every grade level and in subjects such as math, science, social studies, art and music. Teachers can use planned activities or use the materials to create their own unique escape activities based on the needs of their students.

LIGHTS! CAMERAS! ACTION!, Steele Accelerated High School - $2,879.50
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance
With new jobs being created in technology, understanding functionality and design of images helps build our students into strong candidates for 21st Century careers like "social media videographer", "social media manager" and "social media editor" to name just a few that require photography skills. The goal of this grant is to provide resources for short and long term cross-curricular projects for journalism, yearbook and cosmetology students to build portfolios and create authentic work. By purchasing quality cameras with interchangeable parts, students will receive hands on experience, have the opportunity to contribute to their portfolios and school publications, and learn photo-editing software.

Lights! Camera! Action! A Student-led News Cast!, Seven Hills Elementary - $1,591.61
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance
The students on campus are passionate about finding ways to share the wonderful things they see each day from their fellow students, teachers, and their community, and this grant would provide an outlet for a newscast created and led by students. While traditional newscasts may cover things like the lunch menu or reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, the students' goal for the newscast is to think outside of that box and focus on delivering real, quality stories and information to their school community. As part of this project, students will learn and get experience in a variety of roles such as anchor, field reporter, writer, camera tech and editor. Through these roles students will apply their literacy skills to a real-world problem, advance their knowledge of technology, learn how to present themselves to an audience with regard to public speaking, and learn how to collaborate as a team. The funds purchase the Padcaster Ultimate Studio, a product designed to work with iPads to create a full product studio, and a set of tripod casters.


If you have questions about applying for a grant or hosting a grant writing workshop, please contact Alyssa Edstrom, community relations specialist, at 


Please review the grant guidelines and instructions! Grants that do not adhere to the guidelines will not be considered by the Grant Review Committee. 

2018-2019 Grant Guidelines

NEF Grant Instructions

  • Grant writing workshops may be scheduled at your campus by request!

Video Resources: Tips from NEF

Approved Vendors

  • If you have questions about specific vendors or would like to use a vendor that is not listed above, please contact your campus office manager or the Purchasing department directly. 

    If you have any questions, please contact Alyssa Edstrom at or 817-215-0084.