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Teach for the Planet Challenge Seeks to Promote Teaching for Sustainability

9/23/2014

Teach for the Planet Challenge Seeks to Promote Teaching for Sustainability

9/23/2014

Through Partnership With DonorsChoose.org Paul G. Allen Family Foundation Pledges $300,000 to Fund Innovative, Hands-On, Interactive Sustainability Classroom Projects from Teachers Nationwide

SEATTLE – The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation and DonorsChoose.org announced today the launch of the Teach for the Planet Challenge to support innovative environmental and sustainability classroom projects from entrepreneurial teachers across the country. The Foundation and DonorsChoose.org are calling for high-impact, hands-on project submissions that promote sustainability education. To encourage teachers to submit projects, the Foundation is launching a match offer to cover half the cost of qualifying projects through the DonorsChoose.org platform. The four teachers with the best projects will be announced in January and will receive $10,000 each to apply toward future DonorsChoose.org projects.

“We support broad-scale efforts to help teachers rethink education and we’ve chosen to partner with DonorsChoose.org because of their incredible platform to encourage and empower teachers to do so,” said Dave Ferrero, education program manager for the Foundation. “The power of this platform is that it will help us to address the urgency of our world’s environmental challenges. With the right kind of inspirational classroom experience that helps bring to life the challenges of sustainability, today’s student will become tomorrow’s innovator.”

The Teach for the Planet Challenge demonstrates the urgency of transforming educational instruction methodologies to meet the environmental challenges facing our world. The Foundation and DonorsChoose.org are supporting new approaches to sustainability and environmental education to help foster the next generation of innovators who can tackle these challenges. The Teach for the Planet Challenge will highlight new ways of environmental learning, spark interest in sustainable innovations and provide models for classroom projects that teachers can apply across the United States.

 “The Teach for the Planet Challenge marks the first time we’ve ever publicly recognized and rewarded the most innovative, inspiring teachers and projects on our site,” said Charles Best, founder and CEO of DonorsChoose.org. “We’re thrilled to work with the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to fund sustainability projects nationwide, and to honor the teachers who are finding exciting ways to educate their students about the environment.” 

About the Challenge

To participate in the challenge, teachers can submit their best sustainability projects on DonorsChoose.org, and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will match all donations to qualifying projects. Projects will be accepted through November 30, 2014 and must demonstrate an innovative way to teach an environmental or sustainability lesson in a unique, hands-on, interactive learning style. DonorsChoose.org staff, with input from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, will choose 60 semifinalist K-12 teachers from qualified projects, and an expert panel will narrow entrants down to three finalists per grade category (K-2, grades 3-5, grades 6-8 and high school). Finalists and their projects will be posted on Facebook in December 2014 and the public will be invited to vote for their favorite in each grade category. The teacher in each grade category whose project receives the most votes will receive a $10,000 DonorsChoose.org gift card to apply toward future project requests. Finalists will receive $3,000 DonorsChoose.org gift cards and semifinalists will receive $750 DonorsChoose.org gift cards. Visit the DonorsChoose.org website for full details on evaluation criteria.

In an effort to further scale the impact of the winners, a call to teachers will be made in January 2015 for another round of project submissions. In this second phase, teachers will be asked to model new projects after those that were featured in the first round with the aim of furthering successful approaches to teaching sustainability. DonorsChoose.org and the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation will provide additional funding and support to featured projects in this round as well.

About DonorsChoose.org

Founded in 2000, DonorsChoose.org makes it easy for anyone to help a classroom in need. At this nonprofit website, teachers at half of all the public schools in America have created project requests, and more than a million people have donated $265 million to projects that inspire them. All told, 12 million students—most from low-income communities, and many in disaster-stricken areas—have received books, art supplies, field trips, technology, and other resources that they need to learn.

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