Hoots and hollers and cheers, the rattling of noise-makers, a whole lot of laughter, and even a handful of happy tears were just some of the things you may have witnessed on September 18-19, better known as Prize Parade Days.

The Abilene Education Foundation, accompanied by AEF board members and members of the school board, once again marched through the halls of Abilene ISD campuses, awarding unsuspecting – yet hopeful – teachers and counselors with STAR (Supporting Teachers with Academic Resources) Teacher Grants.

Each September, AEF awards STAR Teacher Grants of up to $1,000 to deserving teachers based on grant proposals submitted during the summer, for a wide array of projects – from i-Pads and technology, to flexible seating options, to incentives designed to reward classroom attendance. Grants are read, evaluated, and ranked by a panel of readers.

This year was a particularly competitive year, as AEF received an impressive 170 applications.  Of those, AEF was able to award 75 grants to 96 teachers across 24 campuses, totaling $60,000 in funds to support curriculum and classroom enrichment.  Thanks, in large part, to employee participation in AEF’s annual Payroll Deduction Campaign, this year’s grants exceeded last year’s funding by over $10,000!

A small sampling of this year’s grants included: a rap (you read that right – as in “bust a flow”) program for teaching elementary-level vocabulary, flexible seating options, updated student libraries, resources for book clubs and lunch bunches, incentives to promote student attendance, tablets, cameras for senior projects, an educational field trip, projection screen technology for theatre production sets, and so much more.

STAR Teacher Grants are funded primarily through the AISD Payroll Deduction Donation Campaign, individual donors, and matching funds from Kaye Price-Hawkins/Priceless Literacy, and the Greathouse Foundation. The Abilene Education Foundation is proud to partner, year-after-year, with the fine educators of AISD to promote and enhance excellence in education through enrichment of the district’s programs.