Teachers:

Apply for Bright Ideas education grants

20years-graphicNorth Carolina's electric cooperatives are kicking off the 20th year of awarding Bright Ideas education grants to North Carolina teachers and are now accepting grant applications. Nearly $600,000 in Bright Ideas grants will be awarded to educators statewide in the 2014–15 school year to fund creative, hands-on classroom projects that fall outside traditional school budgets. Teachers can learn more and apply online at ncbrightideas.com.

"North Carolina's electric cooperatives support the local communities they serve, and Bright Ideas grants are a substantial way for us to help teachers make a differencefor their students," said Lindsey Listrom, Bright Ideas coordinator for North Carolina's electric cooperatives.

Bright Ideas grants are available to K-12 teachers for innovative projects in any subject. Educators can apply individually or as a team by submitting a simple online application. Maximum grant amounts range from $1,000–$3,000, depending on the sponsoring electric cooperative's policy.

Applications are accepted through September, with the final application deadline date varying regionally. Listrom noted it could pay to apply early. Teachers who submit their applications by the early bird deadline of Friday, Aug. 15, will be automatically entered to win one of five $100 Visa gift cards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the creative elements, implementation, goals and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application, grant-writing tips and examples of past winning proposals can be found at ncbrightideas.com.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Bright Ideas educations grant program. Since 1994, North Carolina's electric cooperatives have contributed more than $9.1 million to Tar Heel teachers for 8,800 projects benefiting more than 1.6 million students in the state.

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