Investing in the classroom through Faculty Grants

Fueling innovative ideas to pursue our mission of preparing future-ready students.

The New Life Academy Educational Foundation seeks to encourage our faculty and staff to be bold in bringing forward new ideas and innovative approaches to pursuing the mission of NLA.  

Sometimes these new ideas and approaches require resources that seem beyond our grasp, so the NLA Foundation the created the Faculty Grant Program in 2018. Accepting applications from teachers, grants are awarded based on availability and creativity. This is the third year of the program, and teachers were able to receive funds to achieve goals, help promote innovation and encourage students to dream big.  

The Faculty Grant Program awarded close to $40,000 to our amazing teachers. We’re always committed to investing directly into the classroom. Our teachers will be busy using their funds to enhance learning for their students.  A few examples of awarded grants include:

Heather Royer was awarded a grant this year to enhance the library and STEAM learning experience and environment for each student’s learning. She received money to purchase 3D printers for middle school and lower school students. Mrs. Royer will also be able to purchase iPads for Lower School and equipment for stop motion (tripods and a green screen) to use for years to come. “By adding new, innovative, fun hands-on technology, new activities, and sustainable engineering components, I’ll be able to impact the students to see beyond what they think they know and can create,” said Mrs. Royer. “I want to help them reach their full potential, while having innovative materials and activities that can be sustainable as well.” 

Brandon Mellett was also awarded a faculty grant this year. His proposal will help all teachers if distance learning goes into effect. “A mobile monitor equipped with speakers and a camera that can be used in any classroom designed to host special speakers (digitally) and create virtual field trip opportunities. In addition, it can be used in rooms with FlexEd learners to be able to participate in class discussions and interactions,” said Mr. Mellett. With this idea, students would be able to experience virtual field trip and interact with volunteers and external speakers

Another grant recipient, Carla Sheehan, came up with an exciting idea that would benefit the whole school: an outdoor classroom. Creating a space outside where teachers and students can comfortably learn outside. Ms. Sheehan saw a need for a semi-permanent learning space outside, especially during COVID. Log stumps and benches would be used for seating, and a permanent blackboard or whiteboard for teachers could also be secured to the ground. “This outdoor classroom would provide a space where students can continue to do their learning,” said Ms. Sheehan. “Learning outside enhances your mood, and this could also encourage incorporating more physical activity across all subject areas. Being outside also allows the opportunity to notice and appreciate nature. It encourages conversations about the world around you and ultimately points them back to our Creator. “ 

A faculty grant was also awarded to Shay Motalebi, to invest in engineering technology. “A Christ-centered, robust and fulfilling engineering program encourages design and problem-solving with a heart for service and glorifying the Lord,” said Mrs. Motalebi. “Students will be more aware of the significance of their God-given gifts and abilities when they learn to apply these attributes to real-life situations. Finding solutions in today’s world requires skills that can only be achieved by access to technology and other resources. By exposing our students to such relevant opportunities, NLA is training future Christian leaders that will greatly impact this world for Jesus.”