Educator Grants

Through a competitive grants process, we award funding to educators who have creative ideas that will capture the attention and imagination of their students. Funding is for projects that cannot be supported through the regular district budget.

We offer two grant cycles per academic year in which we award funds to educators in the school district for special projects that otherwise would not be possible.

Due Dates: 

Fall Application 

Due by October 15

Spring Application

Due by February 15


                                    All applications due by 5:00 p.m.

click here for the application

click here for instructions for the application

To date we have funded over 118 creative projects in grades kindergarten through 12 throughout the Auburn public schools. See below for descriptions of all the projects we have supported that have enabled students to learn in unique and innovative ways.


2015/2016 Grant List

2014/2015 Grant List

2013/14 Grant List

2012/2013 Grants List

2011/2012 Grants List



EDUWARE SOFTWARE, Auburn High School                 
By purchasing the online version of Eduware’s test- generating softwear, all biology teachers at AHS now have the ability to easily access the most current state assessments from their classrooms.  This software enhances the quality of biology education and extend learning opportunities to the students. The teachers are able to work together to create practice assessments tailored to their students; increasing their students’ chances of higher Biology Regents scores.


GENRE BOOK CLUB, Seward Elementary                    
Fifth grade participants in the Genre Book Club will read six books, each from a different genre, over the school year. After weekly discussions with other members, where they will have turns as discussion director, they will create a video trailer about their book using iMovie. These video trailers will then be placed on the library website as a promotional tool to encourage other students to read these books selected by the book club. 


“PRIDE” Goes to College, Genesee Elementary        
Starting with the 5th grade, each class level at Genesee will contribute a chapter to the fiction book they will publish about their school mascot “Pride” and his adventures visiting the colleges that have adopted their classrooms as part of “No Excuses University.”  The students will research their particular college and its’ mascot, and as a class, over a week-long period, create a chapter that focuses on Pride’s interaction with the mascot  of their adopted school.  The book will be illustrated by the students, and when all the classes have contributed, it will be printed by BOCES and distributed to all students, staff, and college contacts and be placed in all elementary and the Seymour Library. An electronic version of the book will also be available on the Genesee website.  The students will be building their literacy skills, and learning to work collaboratively as they create their book. 

iRead & iLearn with iPods!, Genesee Elementary               
Two iPod Touches will be used to motivate and empower selected K through 3rd graders at Genesee Elementary to control their own learning.  Student’s expression, comprehension and fluency are improved when they have the advantage of the instant feedback and differentiated instruction that this technology offers.  The students can record themselves reading, listen to pre-recorded stories, review sight words using digital flash cards, and play interactive learning games.  These devices will be available for loan to classroom teachers when not being used in the AIS reading room.                                                     

Self Leadership, West Middle School    
Seventh and Eighth graders at West Middle will participate in a writing-based program that stresses self leadership skills. A presenter will come in during their English classes in October and discuss the importance of being a positive influence on yourself despite negative peer pressure, difficult living situations or outside influences.  This program is run by young adults and high school age students from the national FFA association, and they will work on packets with the students in their classrooms.


Kids Corps, West Middle School      
Students and staff at West Middle continue to volunteer their time and talent in this very successful three-year old program to improve their school environment.  Plans for this year include a rain garden to reduce runoff erosion , painting 7th grade lab tables, making the recycling program more efficient and creating more school murals for inspiration and to showcase school pride.  These projects give the students an invested ownership in their school and pride in their accomplishments, while utilizing their artistic skills and their academic skills in Science, Math, and Social Studies


2009/2010 Educator Grants

REDUCING GIRL WARFARE!, East Middle School     
Female students at East Middle School will learn the tools needed to resolve interpersonal conflict in a healthy manner as they view a film written, directed and acted by their peers.  Bullying, isolation, and relational aggression are increasing societal trends among middle school girls and are a source of significant stress.  Viewing the film and utilizing the skills presented can help increase the self-esteem and personal confidence of these students and promote positive peer relationships. The Technology Club will be filming this program.

Genesee Elementary is one of only 60 schools in the nation in the “No Excuses University” an innovative, high-expectations program where college readiness is continually communicated.  All the classrooms at Genesee have been adopted by a college or university, and the students identify with that school and its’ academic goals by wearing t-shirts, hanging banners, and exhibiting other college-related items in their classrooms.  This grant money will make it possible to purchase those spirit-inspiring items that have not been donated, and that are a necessary component of this program and the standard of excellence it fosters.

“LIBRARIES GOT GAME”, All Elementary and Middle Schools
Students in all of Auburn’s elementary and middle schools have access to the board games purchased by this grant in their school’s library. This is a pilot project based on research that shows students are motivated to learn through gaming.  Gaming events in a library setting can bring in new users , foster positive library experiences and encourage positive social interactions and relationships among the students.  A Gaming Club , school Gaming Tournaments, and a Family Game Night planned extend the benefits of this program. 

This is the second year of a highly successful project that brought together motivated students and teachers to improve their school environment.  This year projects include improving their garden, painting lab tables and wall murals, and making stepping stones for muddy areas on the West Middle School grounds.  Students are empowered when they see their efforts making a difference in their learning environment, they take pride in their school and are encouraged to continue volunteering in the wider community.

HEALTHY-CHEFS-FOR-A-DAY, West Middle School    
Seventh and eighth graders at West Middle School will learn valuable healthy eating principles by becoming chefs-for-a-day with the guidance of Wegman’s Food Markets.  All students in the Home & Careers and Health classes will participate in a lunchtime cook-a-thon with Wegmans’ culinary chefs visiting their school and guiding them in food preparation.  The importance of nutrition and a healthy lifestyle is part of their curriculum, and now the students get a chance to work collaboratively with their peers and with professionals to reinforce these important life skills.  A pre-project survey of eating habits and a follow-up essay by the students will help determine the success of this project.

WORD PLAY TO LEARN-A COLLECTION OF WORD GAMES, Casey Park Elementary School        
AIS Reading students in grades 1-5 at Casey Park Elementary School will have a collection of word games to enhance the instructional reading plan they currently use.   The students enjoy playing the games, and so do not display the frustration and lack of focus they may experience in other word-practice formats.  They are enticed to develop and practice word skills they need to succeed and attain their reading level goals.  Pre-testing and post-testing of the readers in this program will take place to evaluate the games’ contribution. 

BOOKERCISE:  THE WALKING BOOKCLUB, Herman Avenue Elementary School             
Twice a day, fourth and fifth graders at Herman Ave Elementary will be exercising their bodies and their literacy skills at the same time!  Using “Playaway”  audio players, ten students at a time will wear pedometers and walk for 20 minutes while listening to an audio book.  Students who have problems with maintaining a healthy weight, and/or struggle with reading will particularly benefit from this activity, but the goal of this program is to develop physically fit youngsters with a love for reading.  At the conclusion of each walk, students will make a journal entry that includes the number of steps they took and their response to the portion of the book they listened to.  Pedometer Award Bracelets will also be awarded as the participants reach walking benchmarks.

SUMMER BOOK PROGRAM, Seward Elementary         
Eighty Seward Elementary students will choose five free books that will be mailed to their homes every two weeks throughout the summer.  This project promotes reading for low-income students whose families cannot afford to purchase supplemental books that will keep their children reading during the summer months. “Good fit” books are chosen with the help of their teachers, and the students looked forward to receiving their own books in the mail and to building their own personal libraries.  This provides a very important link between home and school, and a parent survey has been added this year.  If the survey is returned in the fall, another free book will be added to their child’s library, and their name will be placed in a raffle for a gift card.


PURCHASE OF GREG MORTENSON’S BOOKS, All Elementary, Middle and High Schools
Over 300 books by the renowned humanitarian and bestselling author Greg Mortenson to distribute to all the schools in the Auburn School District.  Three separate reading levels of the book “Three Cups of Tea” readied the students and faculty for Mr. Mortenson’s visit to Auburn as the first in our “Inspiring Speakers” Series. Thank you Columbian Foundation for making this project possible!

AHS MUSICAL “THE WIZ,” Auburn High School
$350 was awarded to the AHS Drama Club to purchase lighting needed for its’ musical productions in the auditorium.  Previously these items were borrowed or rented.

A $500 donation was made to help the East Middle School Odyssey of the Mind Team meet their expenses when they qualified to compete in the World Finals to be held in Michigan in May 2010.

This year’s “Visiting Author Series” invitee, David Greenberg appeared at all our elementary schools in March.  Copies of his 2008 award-winning book “A Tugging String” were purchased for the district’s students. The Cayuga County Chapter of the NAACP made a generous contribution to this project. Thank you NAACP!

The first annual Dean LaDue scholarship awards were given to Ms. Danielle Ryan (Gannon University) and Mr. Justin Sawran (Nazarath College). Each senior received a $500 award.


LOTE MOBILE  iPOD LAB, Auburn High School
A portable cart with 30 iPod devices was purchased to assist  Auburn students and teachers in their foreign language classes. The students’ learning experiences are enhanced with this new lab where each iPod touch can output and record audio material and also display and record video and photo content.  This information can all be transferred onto one computer that can travel from classroom to classroom. Thank you Stardust Foundation of CNY for providing a Matching Grant to make this special project possible!

2008/2009 Educator Grants

West Middle Kids Corps, West Middle School
Modeled after President Roosevelt’s Work Corps, student volunteers will meet after school throughout the year to tackle school improvement projects. Students will brainstorm ways they can improve their school environment and initiate projects that lead to a cleaner, fresher and better looking school. Project ideas may be painting murals to brighten hallways or cover graffiti, building benches for the area near the bus stop or planting potted plants or flower gardens near building entrance and courtyards. Program leaders will incorporate lessons on environmental impact, science and math at program.

Good Hand Washing Habits – Good Health!, Genesee Elementary
5th grade students at Genesee Elementary will learn about the scientific method by conducting a hand washing experiment that uses black light technology and a liquid which shows up under the light if hands are not thoroughly washed off.  Students will explore several websites in the computer lab. They will collect and record data, create graphs based on the data and draw conclusions about the importance of proper hand washing and prevalence of germs based on their data. Students will create and hang posters which will highlight the results of their experiment and offer advice on the importance of hand washing. 

Writing Feedback and Revision with Digital Voice Recorders, Auburn High School
50 Digital voice recorders will be purchased for a senior writing class to help students better understand the writing revision process. Teachers rarely have enough time to conference with each student during class time, so it is difficult for them to give personalized or detailed instruction on how a student can improve their writing.  Digital voice recorders would allow the teacher to give more detailed feedback on each student paper than writing or in class conferencing would allow. 

Casey’s Character Café, Casey Park Elementary
This project will transform the school breakfast program into “Casey’s Character Café. Students will be greeted each morning by a “hostess” who seats them in a café style atmosphere where each table is neatly decorated with a tablecloth and flowers and labeled with a character education trait such as self-discipline, responsibility, honesty. This project will allow 220 students who participate in the daily breakfast to start their day in a calming manor that will allow them to focus on their schoolwork.             

Reach For A Read, Genesee Elementary    
Sturdy chair pockets  were  purchased for First Graders at Genesee Elementary School  to encourage  and assist them in their Daily Five literacy tasks program .  These pockets provide easy access to the “good fit “ books the children choose. The Daily Five program  is designed to fully engage students in reading and writing and will help the students become successful readers. 

Summer Books, Seward Elementary
Approximately 60 Seward Elementary students will choose five free books to be mailed to their homes every two weeks throughout the summer.  This project promotes reading for low-income students  whose families cannot afford to purchase supplemental  books that will keep their children reading during the summer months. Parents will be sent a letter at the beginning of the program explaining the importance in maintaining the reading skills the students have mastered during the school year.  The children will look forward to receiving their books in the mail and to building their own personal libraries.

Body Order Systems Videoconference, Seward Elementary
Fifth graders at Seward Elementary  participate in a hands-on presentation of the five major body systems , part of their science curriculum, via two videoconferences presented with the help of Cayuga-Onondaga BOCES.  The children are able to experiment alongside their virtual presenters, engaging in activities and asking questions to reinforce their understanding.

Leadership & Life Skills Through Outdoor Physical Experiences, Owasco Elementary
“Classroom in the Woods “  at Orenda Springs Experiential Learning Center in Marcellus provides 70 fifth-graders at Owasco School a chance to learn valuable leadership and life skills.  For two days the students will engage in cooperative interactions in a natural environment that stimulates their curiosity for learning. Outdoor rope activities  help the students become more self-motivated and to value the diversity of others along with experiencing  and appreciating the wonders of nature.

We Can Make A Difference Banners
Awarded to the Auburn School Board of Education to promote unity and community awareness to their WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE public awareness campaign

Teacher Recognition
Conference fees awarded for Shelly Connors, winner of the NASPE (National Association for Sports and Physical) award for Educational Excellence. Shelly will attend a national conference in Tampa FL. During the summer break.  Funding was provided by the Columbian Foundation. Thank you Columbian Foundation!

Kevin O’Malley Author Visit
Visiting Author, Kevin O’Malley will present three evening programs that are free and open to the public. How to get a book published, Silly Poetry Contest Reception and Book signing at Seymour Library.  Funding was provided through a grant from the Wyckoff Family Foundation. Thank you!


All Genesee Elementary third grade students participated in two live videoconferences allowing them to explore underwater marine and coral reef life.  The students interacted with educators from aquariums in the Florida Keys and Queensland, Australia by asking questions and viewing live feed from the underwater cameras.  More than 5000 sea creatures could be viewed during the sixty minute program while the children analyzed the interactions between those creatures and learned about healthy ecosystems.

A recycling program run by West Middle students was instituted to help them understand how their actions impact their world and environment.  Paper recycling bins were purchased for all classrooms and common areas of the school and the students monitored how much the school refuse was reduced after the recycling program was in place.  Math skills were utilized and important science curriculum topics such as pollution and the environment were stressed. 

Free Reading Book Club, Auburn High School     
Harry Potter books were purchased and distributed to 40 “at-risk” AHS students before the Christmas break to encourage independent reading.  Students are part of a reading club established by staff from the English and Social Studies Department to help students who are struggling with reading proficiency due to academic or social concerns.  Students then participated in group discussions and were offered extra credit for completing extra assignments related to their independent readings. 

Forty graphing calculators were purchased for students whose families’ budgets were not able to provide them.  These calculators were kept in the classroom and signed out daily which allowed the students to complete homework in Advanced Science and Math classes.

Author and former NFL player, Tim Green spoke at assemblies to students and staff at both middle schools on the importance of literacy and the impact reading and writing have had on his life.  The students participated in a question and answer period and classroom follow up discussions of the author’s message.  Mr. Green’s presentation highlighted the fact that students can excel in both academics and extra-curricular activities, and the two can be used in combination to achieve excellence. 

MOVEABLE DRAWING LAB, Auburn High School   
12 Mobile Drafting Boards were purchased for students in the technology department  to assist them in their drawing design and engineering classes.  These mobile boards allow all drafting materials to be centrally stored and located then easily moved  when needed to alleviate overcrowding when multiple projects are being conducted in the same space.

BEYOND GARBAGE, East Middle School
East Middle School Students and staff learn the importance of recycling as an alternative to paper disposal. Recycling bins were purchased for all classrooms and common areas of the school, and the benefits of recycling were explored in Science and Math classes.  Students wrote about their findings in their ELA classes, and the Art Dept. included a special unit on using recycled or found objects as an artistic. Medium

TEAM CHALLENGE for AT-RISK GIRLS (August 2008), West Middle   
Guidance Counselors at West Middle School accompanied  twenty sixth- grade girls to Cayuga Nature Center in Ithaca to take part in a Team Challenge event.  The program goals were to build positive relationships between students that will encourage positive self-esteem.  The students explored the difference  between healthy and unhealthy risk-taking and the importance of improving their conflict resolution skills.  Coursework continued in the 2008/09 school year with bi-monthly team challenge activities to reinforce the lessons learned in Ithaca and to extend the positive impact of this program. 

Students in the Physical Education classes at Auburn High School received the funds to purchase a Dance Dance Revolution Video Game system.  This interactive video game captures the attention of today’s tech-savvy teens in order to get them moving through dance. The system uses music and a floor mat to promote movement, and workout modes are adjustable for various levels of aerobic ability.  All grades and skill levels can benefit from a fun workout.

SYRACUSE OPERA-DON PASQUALE, Auburn High, East and West Middle    
106 Auburn High School students attended the opera “Don Pasquale” at the Crouse-Hines Theater in Syracuse in April 2008.  In May 2008 actors and directors from the Syracuse Opera Company conducted playwriting and performance workshops for the students at both East and West Middle schools.


Using GPS units, fifth grade students had the opportunity to enhance their math, science and technology skills while collecting data to generate a geospatial map.  This project promotes environmental awareness by teaching the students about watersheds and how they are affected by pollution.  A guest speaker from the Cornell Cooperative Extension and a visit to the IAGT at CCC  enhanced their learning and introduced the students to possible career opportunities

Sixth grade students become the authors and illustrators of their own books.  The goal was to spark interest in writing and enable students to connect with their artistic abilities while promoting self-expression.  Grammar skills were targeted as were the use of literary elements and figurative language.  This project also serves to promote social interaction and communication skills as the students share their books with others.

CAYUGA READS-“NICKEL and DIMED”, Auburn High School   
Students joined the community in the reading of the non-fiction book “Nickel and Dimed-On Not Getting By in America.”  The books were purchased for their classrooms, and the teachers led discussion groups on the book’s theme-the plight of the “working poor.”  In addition to various classroom projects involving the book, students attended a community-wide lecture and participated in an essay writing contest.

STAR CITIZENS OF AUBURN, Herman Avenue Elementary  
Fourth graders spent the year participating in ten distinct monthly community service projects to help them learn what it means to be a responsible citizen.  The children learned to appreciate their community and the impact of their actions on those around them.  The community programs that benefited from the students attention included the SPCA, Salvation Army, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Coats for Kids and the Christmas Elf.

BREAKING THE SILENCE, All Elementary Schools (Fifth Graders)  
Fifth grade science teachers in each elementary buildings incorporated this 3 to 5 day scripted lesson plan  with activities into their curriculum.  With the aid of school psychologists the students learned about mental health diseases including depression and anxiety and how these illnesses affect the body.  The lessons are based on true stories and teach that brain disorders are caused by biology and are very treatable. This program helps de-stigmatize mental illness so children can more easily recognize the warning signs and get the help they need.

Students in the 7th and 8th grade Home and Career classes discovered unfamiliar fruits and vegetables that can have a positive impact on their eating habits.  The students investigated, purchased and prepared easy recipes for their peers from a broad list of foods that were previously unknown to them.  A guest presenter from Wegman’s produce department gave the class  presentations in the foods’ nutritional content and how to select and prepare them.  The children learned the importance of being health-conscious, adventurous food shoppers and were encouraged to choose positive life style choices.

“CHARACTER MATTERS”  MUSICAL, Casey Park Elementary     
First and third grade students who regularly team up on “buddy” projects together produced and performed a thirty minute literature-based musical.  This production was performed twice during the school day for their peers and once in the evening for the community and reinforced positive character- traits the children have been learning.

OUTDOOR EDUCATION/SNOWSHOES, Herman Avenue Elementary    
All students in Herman Ave Physical Education classes had the opportunity to learn the life-long physical activity of snowshoeing.  The lessons taught using snowshoes featured a cross-curricular learning experience with history (our nations’ early explorers and the obstacles they faced),  and science where the students’ experiments involved snow.



          Auburn High School journalism teacher, Andrea Fusco, was thrilled this school year to find that she had been given a $1000 special grant from the Auburn Education Foundation to purchase equipment for her class. This money was a donation to AEF from Jay Goldman, Auburn High Class of 1974, to be awarded to Ms. Fusco. Three ipad minis were purchased for use by the journalism students. A recent visit to the classroom found the students using the ipads for interviews, pictures, research and for writing articles. As one student said, “We use them for everything!” Ms. Fusco reported that the ipad minis allowed her to bring the class into the 21st century. 

In May, 2015, Jay Goldman was inducted into the Auburn Alumni Hall of distinction. Returning to Auburn from Silver Spring, Maryland brought back fond memories of his days at Auburn High School where his journalistic interests began. This is what sparked Jay’s desire to give back to the high school in the form of a donation to be awarded as a grant to Ms. Fusco.


Jay Goldman’s career in journalism began at the high school when he enrolled in the journalism elective course and joined the staff of The Outlet, the student newspaper. This interest then became a passion that developed into a career. During high school, Jay was hired by the Citizen-Advertiser to cover varsity and junior varsity sporting events. After receiving an M.A. in print journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, Jay worked for the Syracuse Herald-Journal for almost 10 years, mostly covering the education beat. He is presently the editor of School Administrator, a monthly magazine covering education issues for school superintendents across the country.

Auburn Education Foundation thanks Jay Goldman for his generous donation that brought such excitement to the journalism class at Auburn High School.