Student-Teacher Mini-Grants Program Helps Build Stronger Classrooms, Enhances Instruction

Hailey Mesmer

For many college seniors, that last semester can be overwhelming. Taking senior pictures. Purchasing a cap and gown. Applying and interviewing for jobs. Making career decisions. But for many of the students in the NC State College of Education, that last semester can also mean additional, unplanned expenses.

College of Education students spend their final semester student teaching, which can cause them to incur out-of-pocket expenses for classroom supplies or resources. In an effort to help support these students, the college created the Student-Teacher Mini-Grants Program.

The Student-Teacher Mini-Grants Program — established as the result of a generous donation to the NC State College of Education Excellence Fund — was started to support the work student teachers are doing in their classrooms.

Kathyrn Hall ’20MAT, who is pursuing a Master of Arts in Teaching, was awarded a mini-grant this semester to facilitate the purchase of a flip camera for her classroom.

“Within my classroom, we are working on implementing test taking strategies to be utilized by every student throughout the school,” Hall said. “Rather than just telling the students how to follow each step, this camera will allow the teacher to model the expectation, as well as allow the students to become the teacher and show their work to the class.”

The program provides student teachers with funding ranging from $100 to $200 to purchase supplies and resources that are usually out of reach for many schools, such as robotics, DNA lab kits, battery packs, graphic novels and more. With the grant, student teachers are able to bring innovative teaching techniques to their K-12 classrooms and at the end of the semester, they have reusable, creative materials they can use in their own classrooms.

“The student teachers I observed truly cared for their students. They were enthusiastic, patient and resourceful. By supporting their needs, in and out of the classroom, we enable these future educators to add value to their subject matter as well as help ease other expenses such as transportation, meals and materials,” said Lyn Andrews, an NC State College of Education donor who has supported the mini-grants program. “Having educators that successfully connect with their students results in untold possibilities.”

Since the program started in spring 2019, the NC State College of Education has awarded more than 40 grants, with over 2,460 K-12 students in North Carolina impacted by the student teachers who received grants.

Help Us Make An Impact

Keep an eye out for how you can support the mini-grants program during the second annual NC State Day of Giving, March 25, 2020.

Erin Thomas Horne ’10PHD, director of professional education and teaching assistant professor, says she would like to be able to support at least 25% of student teachers per semester.

“We have about 225 students who are in classrooms as student teachers during the spring semester. Being able to provide 25% of them with a grant would allow about 50 to 75 students to bring innovative ideas and teaching instruction into their classrooms,” she said. “It would also provide them with start-up resources and materials for their own classrooms.”

To be considered for a grant, candidates must be in their Professional Semester and must complete an application describing the learning experience and needed materials. At the conclusion of the semester, each grant recipient must submit a summary report on what they did and its impact on the students and the school.

“In addition to being a useful tool to use in the classroom, completing the grant writing process is a useful tool that I can transfer into my future career as a teacher,” Hall said. “I am so thankful for this opportunity.”