The New Jersey Department of Education recently announced a $2 million grant program designed to incentivize local educational agencies to address teacher climate and culture with the specific focus of exploring strategies aimed at reclaiming teacher time.

The Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation grant will provide LEAs with the opportunity to develop policies, programming, guidance and/or equivalencies aimed at reclaiming teacher time through the reduction of administrative paperwork and other tasks, which diverts teacher attention from classroom instruction. The NJDOE grant application is not prescribing specific activities to meet these goals in order to encourage innovative approaches to empower educators and reduce bureaucracy, and it is expected that the best practice strategies developed from this grant program will be implemented in school districts throughout the state.  Grant awards will range from $75,000 to $200,000, based on the number of teachers in the district.

“Building a positive climate and culture in the workplace is a critical factor that affects the ability of school systems to attract and retain highly qualified teachers,” said Kevin Dehmer, acting commissioner of education. “Reporting requirements can potentially distract from classroom instruction, so this program allows for an honest look at how administrative functions can be streamlined, reduced, or eliminated to continue the ongoing support of teachers.”

The Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation Grant Program was established as a key recommendation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages in New Jersey, created in November 2022. One of the primary recommendations of the 25-member task force, which included Dr. Timothy Purnell, executive director and CEO of the New Jersey School Boards Association, called for implementing policies and procedures that reduce administrative paperwork and other tasks that pull teachers away from classroom instruction.

Notice of Grant Opportunity Application Deadline Dates

The grant opportunity is open to all public LEAs and is now available on the NJDOE’s Office of Grants Management webpage. The application will be completed using the Electronic Web-Enabled Grants System accessed through the NJDOE’s Homeroom web portal. The application must be submitted by 4 p.m. on March 14, 2024. Specific details regarding the notice of grant opportunity and the application can be found through the EWEG system.

For more information regarding these opportunities please reach out via email. For technical assistance regarding access to EWEG, reach out via email.