US Department of Agriculture: Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants
The Secondary Education, Two-Year Postsecondary Education, and Agriculture in the K-12 Classroom Challenge Grants Program (SPECA) awards grants to:
1) Enhance curricula in agricultural education
2) Increase faculty teaching competencies
3) Interest young people in pursuing higher education in order to prepare for scientific and professional careers in the food and agricultural sciences
4) Promote the incorporation of agriscience and agribusiness subject matter into other instructional programs, particularly classes in science, business, and consumer education
5) Facilitate joint initiatives by the grant recipient with other secondary schools, Institutions of higher education that award an associate’s degree, and institutions of higher education that award a bachelor’s degree to maximize the development and use of resources, such as faculty, facilities, and equipment, to improve agriscience and agribusiness education
6) Support other initiatives designed to meet local, State, regional, or national needs related to promoting excellence in agriscience and agribusiness education
7) Support current agriculture in the classroom programs for grades K–12
SPECA-funded projects encourage academic institutions, in partnership with organizations and employers to identify and address challenges facing the food and agricultural sciences education and workforce community. SPECA-funded project activities support the creation, adaptation, and adoption of learning materials and teaching strategies to operationalize what we know about how students learn. Indigenous traditional ecological knowledge is considered an acceptable topic of research, education, and extension for projects anticipated to be funded, in pursuit of the aforementioned priorities, goals, and objectives.
SPECA applications must demonstrably incorporate a leadership development component to equip students with technical and leadership abilities upon graduation. Specific activities may include:
1. Developing practical applications to increase understanding of leadership roles, including critical thinking, problem solving, and communication skills; ethics and professionalism; and working in teams
2. Connecting the academic classroom experience with daily leadership roles and organizational activities
3. Providing opportunities for mentoring and shadowing
4. Organizing leadership academies, workshops, trainings, etc.
Amount: $800,000 is available for grants ranging from $50,000-$150,000 each. Regular grants are $50,000 (maximum) while collaborative projects may request up to $150,000 (maximum).
Eligibility: Public secondary schools, public or private nonprofit junior and community colleges, institutions of higher education, or nonprofit organizations. SPECA-funded project must focus on any of the K-14 grade levels.
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