On January 7, SBEF hosted a virtual celebration to award $110,000 to 55 Teacher Grant recipients. Watch the highlight video below.

When the current school year started with distance learning, it was clear that teachers would have a growing list of needs for their students with the new format. In response, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation awarded a total of 55 grants to SB Unified teachers totaling $110,000 to meet the needs of their students.

Since 2018, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has offered SB Unified teachers grants between $250 to $5,000 to promote innovative teaching and purchase classroom supplies. This year’s grants helped purchase a wide variety of items, including outdoor seating and shade structures for on-campus hybrid learning, digital cameras, laser cutters for STEAM labs, compost bins for gardening, and books about social justice and current politics.

“We all recognize this has been a difficult year in education and the Ed Foundation is privileged to be able to support our teachers,” said SBEF Programs Manager Katie Szopa.

According to grant recipient Eliane Borba, a Special Education teacher at Cleveland Elementary School who received $1,500 to build an Equity Library, “Receiving this grant from SBEF made me feel like we can still build great things even in these challenging times of Covid-19. More than ever, students and families need the support of their community, and it was great to feel we are in this together.”

Sherri Bryan, a librarian at Santa Barbara High School, used her grant funds for a much-needed update reference material to better serve students remotely. “Thanks to this funding, approximately 2,200 Santa Barbara High School students now have access to a carefully curated, reliable selection of informational reference materials from any device. We were able to replace many of our outdated collections of print reference books with newer resources that can be used by many students simultaneously, and by any of our students at any time.”

Although many teachers are thankful to SBEF for the critical funding, SBEF Grant Committee chair Victoria Juarez knows who deserves the real praise. “The grant committee is proud to support Santa Barbara teachers’ remote learning innovations in the midst of these unprecedented challenges.  Their perseverance, dedication, and hard work inspire us all.”

On January 7, SBEF hosted a virtual awards presentation to celebrate all 55 Teacher Grant recipients.  Superintendent Hilda Maldonado joined in to congratulate the teachers. With this grant cycle completed, SBEF has now awarded approximately $275,000 in funding to 170 teachers over the past three years.