The New Jersey Department of Education announced on May 6 the award of nearly $2 million in grant funding designed to enhance teacher climate and culture by supporting districts in developing and implementing strategies to reclaim teacher time. The grants will aid districts in reducing administrative paperwork and streamlining other tasks that pull educators away from the classroom.

Eighteen school districts are being awarded Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation Grants, established as a key recommendation of Gov. Phil Murphy’s Task Force on Public School Staff Shortages.

“Teachers have one of the most important and challenging jobs in our society, playing an integral role in the lives of young learners and setting them on course for lifelong success. Doing our part to uplift our educator workforce not only signals our appreciation of their hard work, but it also directly benefits our students,” Murphy said. “This grant program is yet another innovative measure to combat burnout in the teaching profession, allowing educators to focus their time and attention on what matters most – educating and inspiring the next generation.”

“We know that in order to attract and retain quality teachers, we need to help school districts foster a positive climate and culture in the workplace,” said Kevin Dehmer, acting commissioner of education. “Our goal is to work with school districts to discover those practices that can reduce administrative bureaucracies, streamline operations and give educators more time to focus their efforts where they can have the greatest impact: the classroom.”

The Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation Grant Program will support schools with efforts such as:

  • Developing policies and procedures designed to streamline administratively burdensome aspects of the teacher-evaluation process.
  • Leveraging artificial intelligence technology to assist with functions such as outside communications and lesson planning.
  • Creating a library of ready-made instructional materials and model lesson plans that other teachers can readily access, thereby reducing the time educators spend exploring and researching such materials for their lessons.
  • Moving away from weekly lesson planning, where teachers submit lesson plans every week for an administrator’s review, toward submitting unit plans that achieve the same goal but may be submitted every several weeks instead.

The 18 school districts receiving Teacher Climate and Culture Innovation Grants are tasked with measuring the effectiveness of the innovative practices, programs and policies to reclaim teacher time and replicate effective practices statewide. 

The grant program will run until Feb. 28, 2025. Awards, which ranged up to $200,000, were based on the number of teachers in the district and prioritized to ensure all regions of the state were represented in this opportunity. Award recipients include:





Northern Region:

Bergen CountyNorthern Valley Regional$125,000
Bergen CountySaddle Brook Township$125,000
Essex CountyNewark$200,000
Warren CountyGreenwich Township$74,993
Central Region:

Middlesex CountyDunellen$125,000
Middlesex CountyNorth Brunswick Township$86,626
Middlesex CountyOld Bridge Township$199,998
Monmouth CountyFreehold Regional High School District$200,000
Somerset CountyFranklin Township$200,000
Somerset CountyHillsborough Township$199,410
Southern Region:

Camden CountyCollingswood$125,000
Gloucester CountyDelsea Regional High School District$125,000
Gloucester CountyElk Township$75,000
Gloucester CountyGateway Regional School District$33,137
Gloucester CountyNational Park Borough$24,632
Gloucester CountyWenonah$23,513
Gloucester CountyWestville$24,992
Gloucester CountyWoodbury Heights$24,992