HCEA Receives Grant from NEA Great Public Schools Fund

Beginner to Board Certification Program Aims to Strengthen a Pipeline of Teaching & Learning for Early Career Teachers in High-Need Schools


Ellicott City, Maryland: The Howard County Education Association (HCEA) will use an $82,746 three-year NEA Great Public Schools (GPS) Fund Grant to build and maintain a pipeline of high-impact professional learning targeting early career teachers to support their commitment to continuous improvement, cultural competence, and fostering student success through the National Board Certification (NBCT) process. This grant will be implemented in collaboration with the Howard County Public School System to create a pathway to accomplished teaching using the National Board Certification process.


“NEA is committed to supporting innovation, empowerment, and improvement through the GPS Fund program, which includes a priority focus on early career educators and racial justice in education,” said NEA Vice President Becky Pringle. “These grants provide critical resources to our affiliates to help cultivate and sustain practices and programs that demonstrate the continued commitment of NEA members to advancing education professions and helping students succeed.”
The HCEA will target early career educators in high-need schools by providing supports for continuous learning and improvement in a professional learning community (PLC) setting through the Beginner to Board Certification program. Thirty teachers will engage in a multi-year PLC experience based on the tenets of the National Board Certification process to improve reflective practice, peer coaching skills, teaching with equity and culturally proficient practices and habits of mind, and differentiation in instruction. The program aims to provide a forum for deepening teachers’ relationships with their students and their commitment as lifelong learners.


Bollman Bridge Elementary School, under the leadership of National Board Certified Teacher Casey Schurman and Teacher Development Liaison Camille Washington, will pilot each stage of the PLC and will train subsequent schools and teacher leaders. Implementation of the grant, including teacher leadership training, will be supported by Jennifer Hlavka, who also leads the HCPSS National Board Certification Support Program, from the Office of Teacher and Paraprofessional Development and Support.
“We are grateful to have this program in Howard County. This is the type of educator led program that will help our early career educators grow as professionals and develop and master the skills they need to help students succeed.” said HCEA President Colleen Morris. Morris, along with HCEA Vice President and NBCT Doug Lea, have partnered with Hlavka to not only strengthen collaborative work between the county and union for enhanced educator impact but also to lead and refine this model of teacher-led and student-centered professional learning.

Grants from the GPS Fund are made directly to NEA state and local affiliates for promising projects and ideas that help improve student success. Since its inception, the GPS Fund has awarded more than 100 grants, totaling more than $26 million.  HCEA looks forward to tapping into more of these resources to support our students.


To learn more about the GPS Fund grants visit www.nea.org/grants/gpsfundgrants.html.