Supporting Teachers

The Berkeley Public Schools Fund gives teachers and support staff several opportunities each year to improve their teaching practice and expand learning opportunities for students. During COVID-19 and school closures, we are focusing our efforts on meeting basic needs for students and families and ensuring that all students are equipped for distance learning. During this time, our regular grant categories are temporarily suspended.

Classroom Grants

The Schools Fund and our community believe that directly supporting teachers is one of the best ways to help students succeed.

The Classroom Grant application period for 2019-2020 closed on September 30th.

Award Criteria

In evaluating grants, we look for a clear and detailed description of the project, its budget, and of how funds will be used. For a list of tips for successful application, check out our Needed Materials and Tips. Overall, we look for projects that:

  • Encourage collaboration and strengthening of practice among teachers
  • Enhance teaching of core academic subjects as well as the arts
  • Expand equity and opportunity by helping students discover and reach their potential
  • Support differentiated teaching and multi-modal learning styles
  • Increase parent and community involvement in our schools

Who Can Apply

Priority is given to projects that effectively impact the most students per dollar granted.

  • Any BUSD teacher or team of teachers
  • Principals
  • Any school or District personnel
  • Specialists or resource staff

What Can Be Applied For?

Grant projects must directly benefit students and schools during the school year being applied for. Items such as:

  • Curriculum materials
  • Supplies
  • Certain equipment
  • Guest speakers or artists
  • Professional development
  • Field trips
  • Anything that you can show will enhance your teaching and your students’ learning!

A few notes: Licenses for subscriptions or software will only be granted for one year. For instructional technology (iPads, computers, etc…) please make sure you explain how the equipment applies to or enhances your curriculum and let us know if you’ve completed any related professional development or if you have plans to do any professional development.


Strategic Impact Grants

There will not be a Spring 2020 application process for Strategic Impact grants due to School Closures/COVID-19. The Schools Fund is instead directing its resources toward the students and families most impacted by the crisis.

Community Partners: Schools Fund staff will contact you about the 2020-21 school year.


Strategic Impact Grants are larger grants serving the grade, department, school, inter-district, or District level. The grants involve teacher collaboration on a project or coordination with an outside organization. The purpose of Strategic Impact grants is to support bigger needs including curriculum transitions and enhancement, professional learning communities, programs that target more equitable outcomes for socio-economically disadvantaged students, and pilot projects supporting goals that are aligned between Schools Fund and BUSD. Strategic Impact grants have supported Professional Learning Communities, new approaches to language instruction, literacy initiatives, and extended learning programs.


In 2014-15 we identified five organizations with which to permanently partner as Community Partners: the Berkeley Symphony, Community Resources for Science, the Berkeley Repertory Theatre, WriterCoach Connection, and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. The Schools Fund has supported the high-impact programs offered by these organizations for years (several of them for decades!); by identifying them as official Community Partners, we are ensuring their presence in classrooms for the foreseeable future. Each organization has a track record of providing programs that enhance and enrich the educational experience of our students.

Strategic Impact Grant funds cannot be used to create, expand or partially fund District positions on a temporary or permanent basis.

If your grant proposal is going to include hourly pay to BUSD staff and/or subs, please determine the following information and contact Fiscal Services to develop an accurate cost estimate: 

  • Number of certificated teachers to be paid
  • Number of classified staff to be paid, and names if you know them
  • What the time will be used for (e.g. training, curriculum development, participation in other activities, etc)
  • Frequency and timing of activities (e.g. “teachers will meet monthly for 2 hours per month from January through May”, or “participation in 2-day workshop on 1/10-1/11”)
  • How many subs will be needed, and when.

Please contact us with questions at 510.644.6244 or

Strategic Impact Grants are reviewed two times a year by the Schools Fund Board of Directors. There will not be a Spring 2020 application process for Strategic Impact grants due to School Closures/COVID-19. The Schools Fund is instead directing its resources toward the students and families most impacted by the crisis.

Community Partners: Schools Fund staff will contact you about the 2020-21 school year.

A list of 2018-2019 Strategic Impact Grants can be found here.

Once a grant has been approved, payments can be requested by completing a Strategic Impact Grant Check Request form.

Please complete Strategic Impact Follow-Up Reports by the end of the school year or contact the Schools Fund to make other arrangements.

Teacher Summer Fellowships

2020 Summer Fellowships Application period has now closed.

About Schools Fund Summer Fellowships

Inspired by the accomplishments of Berkeley High graduate and award-winning Bay Area journalist Belva Davis, and with the support of the Herb Singer Fund, the Schools Fund created a summer fellowship program in 2012 to encourage BUSD teachers to aspire to the highest levels of professionalism and creativity in their field. These grants serve to broaden teacher personal and professional experiences with professional development opportunities beyond those that normal budgets and time may allow. The Fellowship may cover course fees, transportation and living expenses, professional materials, and project documentation costs. 2018 Summer Fellows and their projects are listed here, and 2017 Summer Fellows and their projects are listed here.

fellowshipbwSummer Fellow applicants must have completed three years of teaching in BUSD. Summer Fellows who do not return to BUSD in the fall after their fellowship will be required to return the grant money awarded. Typical grant amounts for individual Summer Fellowships do not exceed $2500.

2019 Fellows: If you have not completed your Follow-Up form, please do so as soon as possible. If you have already completed your Follow-Up, please let us know how your fellowship influenced your classroom this year by filling out your Year Later Follow-Up form by end of the school year.