North East Educational Foundation awards $310K in grants

Oct 30, 2020 | News

North East Educational Foundation (NEEF) board of directors made their rounds virtually this year to hand out more than $300,000 in Innovative Grants to North East ISD (NEISD) educators.

NEEF Executive Director Amy Lane announced eight recipients during Convocation earlier this year and NEEF board members surprised an additional 33 winners by video this week.

“These grants will supplement NEISD curriculum and help teachers bring learning to life for their students,” Lane explained.

Teachers like Jacob Smith are extremely grateful.

“I am very humbled and honored to be selected for this year’s NEEF grant, especially with all the ‘extra’ things going on,” Smith said.

He received a $15,000 grant to purchase a laser cutter for the Engineering Department at Eisenhower Middle School.

“I look forward to introducing the students to the machine as soon as possible,” Smith added.

The students will be using the laser cutter to build bridges, buildings and other structures depending on the unit they are learning about. Other fun projects they plan to use the equipment for includes ornaments around the holidays, logos and student awards.

Pre-K Academy at West Avenue teacher CindieMarie McKenzie is just as grateful and excited for the $13,190 grant she and Kelly McManus received to create a variety of outdoor learning experiences with playground equipment.

“I am elated about the fortune of the support from NEEF to fund this project,” McKenzie said. “We cannot wait to furnish the children with an amazing set of new opportunities in their outdoor learning spaces.”

The project aims to go beyond the normal traditional school playground and introduce children to a balanced ‘whole-child’ outside play experience.

“We know that this is a huge blessing to our campus, and one that will not be taken for granted,” McKenzie added.

Bradley Middle School teachers Krystine Ott and Wes Ryan received more than $9,000 to fund virtual reality headsets for the Social Studies Department.

“We are extremely excited to move forward with this new and exciting technological approach to history,” Ott said.

Other projects funded by NEEF this year include innovative learning tools like electronic invention kits for a STEAM Ahead program, as well as a blow-up planetarium that will help elementary students learn about the study of earth and space.

Funds for the grants are raised by NEEF through annual events, giving campaigns and donations from NEISD business partners and community members. To learn more, visit:

NEEF is a private non-profit charitable corporation that works to raise money to expand educational opportunities for NEISD students.

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