April 12, 2017

DuPont, East Ridge Elementary Schools Awarded Prestigious Annenberg Grants

PEF is pleased to announce two grants of $50,000 each from The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children to DuPont Elementary and East Ridge Elementary. DuPont will remodel and repurpose the existing library into the “Epicenter of Learning and Collaboration,” provide students with new books and e-readers, build a “Mealtime Conversation” learning lab, and refurbish areas dedicated to technology and collaboration. East Ridge will allow students at all levels to benefit from a new “Synergy Station” with updated reading materials, literary technology, and new seating in their library.

This is the eighth year of a collaborative effort between PEF and The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children resulting in significant financial support to 14 area schools. 2017 marks the final year of grants from the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, which will have given a total of $7 million to 91 public elementary schools that are in financial need and serve a high proportion of children from families living in poverty.

“For a decade, the Leonore Annenberg School Fund has sought to create new learning opportunities for public elementary school students,” said Gail Levin, Ph.D., director of the program, which is administered by the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania. “We are grateful for the steady, hands-on support of our regional partner organizations, the commitment and passion of teachers and staff in each school recipient, and especially the children who gave joy and meaning to our collective efforts.”

“Leonore Annenberg was committed to improving the lives of children, particularly those who, with support, will become leaders of the next generation,” says PEF president Dan Challener. “These grants certainly underscore the heart of her mission to provide students resources to help them shine brightly. We are so pleased to announce this year’s awards to Dupont Elementary and East Ridge Elementary. The public will be invited to celebrations at each school in the fall to see how these grants are making a difference for students.”

In 1997, the late philanthropist Walter Annenberg made a special opportunity grant to Chattanooga as part of his national call to arms in support of American public education. That support, which recognized the merger of city schools with the surrounding Hamilton County system, helped to create PEF’s Leadership Initiative. Several years later, additional support was designated for a strategic communications plan and mission-focused public relations work. The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children grants build upon this legacy of partnership.

In total, The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children has given over $1 million to schools in southeast Tennessee. Previous local grants have funded diverse projects including a reading lab, multimedia facility, art studio, media center, classroom technology, playground improvements, science lab, classroom book nooks, Chromebooks, a student leadership program, software, and technology upgrades.

About the Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children

The Leonore Annenberg School Fund for Children, a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania, provides educational resources of immediate and direct value to schools serving children with great need. Visit

March 31, 2017

Project Inspire featured in U.S. News and World Report

Read the full article at

Graduate Teacher Residency Programs Help Educators Make the Grade

Through these programs, prospective teachers train to help low-income, high-need schools

By Margaret Loftus, Contributor | March 30, 2017, at 9:30 a.m.

… Similar to the medical school residency, where physicians are trained in hospitals alongside practicing clinicians, these teacher prep programs give participants almost immediate exposure to leading a K-12 classroom instead of holding off and providing a shorter student-teaching stint just before they earn a degree.
“The best place to train a teacher is in a school,” says Mark Neal, the director of Project Inspire, a teacher residency in Chattanooga, Tennessee. “Everything you’re learning is being applied in a classroom.”

… So far, retention rates are promising. While federal data indicate that about 1 in 6 public school teachers leave the profession within the first five years, other estimates suggest that the figure might be as high as 50 percent. In 2015-2016, the five-year retention rate across NCTR programs was 70 percent.

March 16, 2017

Shop AmazonSmile and help PEF with every purchase


Did you know AmazonSmile gives back to nonprofits? Each time you shop through, the company donates 0.5% of your eligible purchase to the organization of your choice!

It’s easy to get started. Simply click the button above! Then shop til you drop, knowing you’re helping PEF invest in teachers, develop leaders, and support students every time you fill your cart.

February 1, 2017

MBD: Girl Edition seeks high school applicants for 24Hour Generator

We are looking for young women interested in participating in the third annual 24Hour Generator, a reverse-pitch competition open to high school girls from across the Tennessee Valley and co-hosted by PEF, CO.LAB and GPS. The event will take place March 11.

Please share the flyer and application with students who spring to mind, or recommend them using the same application form.

The 24Hour Generator can be a great opportunity for students who break, rather than fit, the traditional mold – we’re not just looking for the class presidents or the valedictorians, but instead for girls who may have yet to find their passion. Here are a set of profiles to illustrate types of students who may make especially good candidates.

Some quick details, with more information available at

  • Applications are open to female high school students, grades 9 through 12, whether home-schooled, publicly or privately educated. We have 50 spots available in this year’s event; applications will close February 20th.
  • Local businesses and startups present challenges to teams of students; these teams then work with business leaders and mentors to develop a unique solution and pitch over the following 24 hours.
  • Teams will present their ideas to the public and a panel of judges, for prizes and recognition, at Mad, Bad and Dangerous: Girl Edition on March 11th.  The final pitch event will be open to the public, so families, friends and teachers are welcome to attend and cheer on their students.
  • Our sponsors graciously cover the costs of attendance, meals and transportation for all participants.
  • The Generator is an all-nighter, with female chaperones and security.
  • Participating students have received internships from the companies with whom they’ve worked, and we’ve seen friendships blossom. It’s a great opportunity for shier, creative talents and out-of-the-box thinkers!
  • Participants and their families will all be invited to a VIP reception with community and entrepreneurial leaders after their event.

Questions? Contact PEF’s Geoff Millener (423.648.4448 or

January 4, 2017

Final FFT workshop offered Jan. 10

Join us for a final workshop and information session before applications are due on January 31. This will be particularly useful to those who have started writing their applications and have specific questions, but is open to all. Please share this with your networks!

Tuesday, January 10 at 4:30 PM

PEF Leadership Center
100 East 10th Street, 3rd floor
Chattanooga, TN 37402

This event is free, but you must RSVP to Joni Martin via email. She will send parking information when you register.

December 5, 2016

Looking for the perfect gift?

The best gifts make a difference all year – how about a gift that transforms public education?

We are happy to recognize donations in honor or memory of a teacher, family member, friend, or colleague. Simply note the name of the honoree on our online giving form and list the name and address for the gift notification (your gift amount will not be shared with the recipient).

Donate to PEF today!

November 29, 2016

Fund for Teachers application workshop

Join us at PEF to work on your application for 2017 Fund for Teachers fellowships on Tuesday, December 13. Stuck on a particular section, or confused about what’s allowed and not? Bring your work so far and lots of questions – Leslie Graitcer will walk you through the process.

RSVP online to this free event beginning at 4:30 pm in our 3rd floor Leadership Center.



October 3, 2016

Fund for Teachers now accepting applications

Fund for Teachers has opened applications for summer 2017 expeditions. All applications are completed online through the FFT site and are due by January 31, 2017.

Fund for Teachers provides educators, possessing a broad vision of what it means to teach and learn, the resources needed to pursue self-designed professional learning experiences. FFT grants are used for an unlimited variety of projects; all designed to create enhanced learning environments for teachers, their students and their school communities. We believe that supporting teachers’ active participation in their own professional growth, positively impacts student learning and achievement.

Applicants must meet the following eligibility requirements.

Full-time preK-12th grade teachers:


  • Spending at least 50% of their work week in direct classroom instruction
  • Returning to the classroom in the consecutive school year
  • Will have at least three years’ experience as a preK-12th grade teacher at the end of the school year


Individuals may apply for up to $5,000 and teams may apply for up to $10,000 (while team members may be from different schools, districts or states, all members must meet the eligibility criteria). Upon award, Fellows will receive 90 percent of their grant, the remaining 10 percent to be reimbursed upon completion of post-fellowship requirements.

Read a few blogs written by 2016 Fellows to get inspired, then start your application today!

September 27, 2016

Now hiring: Project Inspire communications and talent coordinator

Through a variety of programs and partnerships, PEF works to improve student achievement in Hamilton County public schools. The Project Inspire teacher residency is one such PEF program and partnership. Through a partnership with HCDE and Tennessee Tech University, Project Inspire recruits outstanding individuals who desire to provide equitable access to engaging, effective teaching for all students and then trains them through a rigorous process to become teachers for our county’s high-need schools.

At Project Inspire, we understand that the success of our program, and even the success of HCDE public schools, depends on being able to recruit talented individuals who have what it takes to become fantastic teachers and eventually, teacher leaders who are committed to our school district and the success of students. This role is critical to our program’s growth. You will be working closely with program staff and district partners to implement a communications strategy for the teacher residency program as well as assisting in the development of new pipelines for recruitment of individuals who may enter the teacher residency program.

Read the entire position description online. Interested candidates should send a resume and well-written, persuasive cover letter to by Friday, October 14.

Public Education Foundation is an equal opportunity employer with a demonstrated commitment to hiring individuals who reflect the diversity of the communities we serve. Please share this opportunity with your networks.


August 22, 2016

iPLC helps educators amplify effect of technology

Since the late 1970’s education reformers have pointed to value of thriving professional learning communities. In the last three decades, educational researchers have thoroughly documented the critical role these collaborative groups play in implementing real change throughout a school and school system. In practice the idea is simple: identify individuals who have a shared interest and similar, yet different expertise, and develop a forum for them to share their insights so that the group as a whole can glean the unique value each individual offers.

With the emergence of personalized technologies and their increasingly common presence in classrooms over the last 5 to ten years, it has become clear that providing students and teachers with access to technology is only the first step in productive 21st century classrooms. As technology’s pervasive role in the classroom continues to evolve, teachers are desperate to stay up with best practices for leveraging its amazing capabilities. To support teachers in this pursuit, PEF, with support from the Community Foundation, started iPLC—a year-long cohort comprised of K-12 teachers from across Hamilton County strategically designed to identify, refine, and share innovative and effective uses of instructional technology. This year, based on feedback from previous cohorts and members of the community, we are excited to announce that we will be offering the iPLC experience along with a new option iPLC Genius—designed for our most tech-savvy teachers with a desire to lead and serve as a point of contact for others who are looking to develop their capacity to effectively leverage new technologies.

While many of our supporters have generously placed substantial investments in classroom technology in public schools across Hamilton County, we want to ensure that teachers have access to training on how to use those technologies for an improved student experience, and we hope to provide teachers an opportunity to share discoveries they have made along their journey. Hamilton County has some of the best teachers in the country. iPLC and iPLC Genius offer those teachers a chance to be heard and to help ensure that every student has access to a quality education.

— Michael Stone, STEM Director of Innovative Learning

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