EIA Teacher Awards will Fund Innovative Learning Projects for 2008–09 School Year

August 19, 2008

COLUMBIA, SC – August 19, 2008 – Three hundred and thirty-eight EIA Teacher Awards totaling more than $1.2 million have been approved for 47 South Carolina school districts and for schools operated by the Department of Juvenile Justice.   

The General Assembly provides funding for the awards to promote best practices, creativity and innovation in the classroom.  The Grants Program in the South Carolina Department of Education administers the program, and independent reviewers scored 851 individual and group project applications to arrive at the final selections list.  The awards total $1,212,099 for schools in both rural and urban communities. 

The smallest award is $800 for a grammar project at Lakeside Middle School in Anderson District Five.  Maximum awards of $6,000 were approved for 85 projects involving groups of teachers in districts across the state.

“These projects reflect innovative approaches to educating the children of South Carolina,” said State Superintendent of Education Jim Rex.  “I commend these teachers for taking the lead in matching innovative approaches to their schools’ needs.”

Anderson District One schools led the state in the number of approved projects (47) and in total funding at $137,766.  Schools in Anderson District Five had 44 projects approved for $141,255, while Aiken County’s 28 approved projects garnered $85,197.

The EIA Teacher Awards program supports practices and procedures aimed at improving instruction.  Awards may be used to pay for projects including: 
• assessments of student performance;  
• activities that help parents reinforce their child’s learning at home;
• computer-assisted instruction;
• techniques for motivating and rewarding student achievement;
• techniques for improving students’ study skills; and
• innovative teaching strategies, activities and materials to meet the
needs of specific groups of students.

Teachers applying for the awards must provide a detailed proposal outlining the activities they wish to have funded.  Starting in September 2008, districts will receive monthly installments from the South Carolina Department of Education to cover the approved costs of projects.

Eligible applicants are currently employed South Carolina K-12 public school teachers (teachers, guidance counselors, media specialists and speech clinicians). Teacher specialists and curriculum coaches may participate as part of a group project.  Each year, this competitive awards process begins with a Request for Proposals (RFP) and ends with a final report that is due at the end of the school year (approximately June 30).