Grants for Innovative Teaching and JLD logo



Brynn Bagot Public Relations

214.770.4280       [email protected]




DALLAS September 16, 2022 – The Junior League of Dallas (JLD) and presenting sponsor Texas Instruments (TI) awarded 51 Dallas Independent School District (Dallas ISD) educators with grants of up to $2,500 each through the annual Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT) program. In its history, this JLD Signature Project has impacted nearly 15,000 students and awarded more than $2 million to Dallas ISD educators. It is designed to encourage excellence in education by funding special projects addressing reading and literacy enrichment; diversity; special education; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); or arts and culture enrichment across one or more grade levels. This year, nearly $111,000 was distributed to fund deserving educators’ winning projects during a ceremony held September 15, 2022, at Junior League of Dallas Headquarters and streamed online. 


The Grants for Innovative Teaching Committee is in awe of the level of innovation, uniqueness and inclusivity that each of the educators so passionately brought to the table. It is an honor to share that due to the innovative projects that are designed by these educators, at least 8,200 Dallas ISD students will be directly impacted this school year,” said Kiki Gao, 2022–2023 Grants For Innovative Teaching Chair. “The funding of these grants are made possible through generous donations from our sponsors: Texas Instruments, The Agnes Cluthe Oliver Foundation, the Hillcrest Foundation, and Bank of America as a co-trustee. Without their generosity, this program would not exist.”


Some of the grants selected include: Kids Helping Kids, Heart of Hawthorne (Phase 2), and Structure and Functions of the Master Regulators of Pancreas Development. The projects awarded GFIT grants will provide students with diverse experiences and highlight the innovation of the Dallas ISD educators.


Kids Helping Kids was established 10 years ago by an educator and his students who were constructing wooden rocking horses and made a few extra. One of the students suggested they give the extra wooden rocking horses to sick children. With the Junior League grant, they are able to carry on this tradition. The special needs students in the Construction Trades Cluster at Multiple Careers Magnet will be constructing wooden rocking horses to be donated to sick children staying at the Ronald McDonald House while they are undergoing medical treatment during the Christmas Holidays. The students will be using tools and the skills they have learned to construct this project. With the help of this grant, the special needs students are able to bring happiness to sick children and also raise their own self-esteem and self-worth.


The Heart of Hawthorne (Phase 2) aims to support academic achievement, social, and emotional wellbeing, and the development of healthy lifestyle choices. A campus garden will be instrumental in reducing stress among students, while making a positive impact on self-esteem and overall development. Cross-curricular connections through the integration of all content areas (science, math, social studies, and reading) will increase academic success and achievement. Active participation in the campus garden will include health and nutrition awareness, as data suggests that students who grow vegetables are more likely to eat them. This second phase of the Hawthorne garden allows them to expand their program further after seeing great success at their campus after Phase 1, which included starting a garden from scratch with soil and seeds. 


Structure and Functions of the Master Regulators of Pancreas Development provides a meaningful research experience to talented and motivated high school students and teachers to lay the foundation of a new tradition and use this training program to obtain crystals for x-ray crystallographic analysis of a novel heterotrimeric transcription factor complex, PTF1, a key regulator of embryonic pancreas development. The students will study the structure and function of the proteins, be divided into groups, and then each group will clone cDNAs for the proteins and test conditions. The groups will create a presentation of their research and present as members of the school SMART TEAM at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology convention in Seattle, Washington. They will also compete for the Regeneron Scholarship (for seniors). The ultimate goal is to help students acquire full-ride scholarships to college.


“We know that teachers are our best asset to prepare students for future success, and are proud to support teacher recognition programs such as the Junior League of Dallas’ Grants for Innovative Teaching awards,” said Andy Smith, director of giving and volunteering for Texas Instruments. “This is our 12th year to sponsor the awards, and we are excited about this year’s outstanding recipients and their commitment to education and excellence in the classroom.”



The Junior League of Dallas cultivates leaders who collectively address the critical needs of the community. Founded in 1922, JLD is one of the largest Junior Leagues in the world, as well as the largest and oldest training organization for women in Dallas. Active members range in age from 22 to 49 with approximately 85% percent of women employed outside of the home. The JLD provides leadership opportunities to nearly 4,500 women each year through more than 26,000 cumulative hours of experiential and formal training. Uniquely member-run, JLD provides over 130,000 hours in volunteer service and approximately $1 million in funding to area nonprofits each year. For more information, please visit www.jldallas.org or Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter.



The Dallas Independent School District is continually preparing its more than 153,000 students for college or a career. The district offers a competitive mix of innovative programs, choice programs and instructional initiatives that support the increased academic achievement and the social and emotional development of its students. To learn more, visit www.dallasisd.org.




Terry Stotts Multiple Careers Magnet Center Kids Helping Kids
Ward Coats Hillcrest High School Structure and Functions of the Master Regulators of Pancreas Development
Deborah Tubbs K. B. Polk Center for Academically Talented & Gifted Literacy in Hand
Rebecca Lopez Rosemont Elementary School Journey to the Center of the Earth
Rebecca Ajuluchukwu Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary Heart of Hawthorne–Learning Through the School Garden (Phase 2)
Dorcas Kassebaum Ronald E. McNair Elementary School Partly Arty
Cornelia Harris Ronald E. McNair Elementary School Plugged In… To Poetry
Monalisa Chadha Conrad High School Green and Clean Harvest
Efrain Rivera Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy Art and Technology Applications
Elma Martinez Padilla Truett Elementary School Playback, read Forward, Improving Literacy through Personalized Auditory Feedback
Malcom Newman Dallas Environmental Science Academy Middle School The Art and Science of Photography and Production
Eva Flores-Perez Mount Auburn STEAM Academy “Emotionplace,“ My Reading Calming Corner
John Fore Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School Jag Greenscape
Katharine Joss Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School Mission Makerspace, Empowering Elementary Students through Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking
Shannon Smith Alex Sanger Preparatory School Finding Your Zen in My Reading Den
Yesenia Amador Arturo Salazar Elementary School Novel Engineering Lab
Kacie Ingram Thomas J. Rusk Middle School Forever Healthy
Jeanette Sambucetti Prestonwood Montessori at E.D. Walker Learning with Bots
Rikki Schramm Leila P. Cowart Elementary Learner Garden
Arianna Zeb Lee McShan Jr. Elementary Voices of Vickery
Sue Mendoza George W. Truett Elementary School Regulate Our Roar
Whitley Green Hulcy STEAM Middle School Dance, Technnique, & Tech 101
Stefanie Geoghegan Joe May Elementary School Beyond Grades, Decoding, Differentiation, and Data
Megan Vance Harold W. Lang Sr. Middle School Creating Collaborative Partnerships Through STEAM
James Peerson George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Retail Therapy at the Bush Galleria
Gianna LoScerbo-Starkus Skyline High School Personal Investigations, AP Studio Ar
Jessica Burnett L.V Stockard Middle School Teaching Calm
Weslyn Moon Nancy J. Cochran Elementary School Ron Clark AcademyHouseSystem
Manuel Rocha W.H. Adamson High School Leopards Leading the Way
Lauren Whitmore Edward Titche Elementary Authentic Texts for Growing Readers
Shakirae Ajaga George W. Truett Elementary School Calming the Chaos in the Classroom Environment
Norma Pardee N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center Exploration Station
Lidice Martinez Rufus C. Burleson Elementary School Building Readers for the 21st Century
Jamie Nelson Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard Bursting at the Seams
Megan Malone Townview School for the Talented and Gifted Creating a Sensory Spot
Rodolfo Estrada Winnetka Elementary  Learning about STEM in PK!
Jennifer Belchi Segura George W. Truett Elementary School Makerspace in the Science Classroom
Theresa Quintans Jerry Junkins Elementary School Dirt Huggers Fresh Air Garden
Angela Garza James Bowie Elementary School STEM for PreK
Liliana Daza Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School Science Lab for First Graders
Maria Fernandez-Gutierrez John J. Pershing Elementary Break a Leg!
Rebecca Clarke George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary Art Survivor Island
Marvin Gonzalez Downtown Montessori School Innovating with Minecraft
Jeanette Newland George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Reading to lead with Rosetta, Bilingual Language Access
Aleksandra Marczyk George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Makerspace, Innovation Station
Amber Smith Eddie Bernice STEM Academy Fire & Ice
Francis Zalace Clinton P. Russell Elementary School Rainbow Rhythm Band
Jennifer Perez Arturo Salazar Elementary School Makerspace in Second Grade
Tiffany Smith Edna Rowe Elementary School Rock Solid Roadrunner Cheer Squad
Pamela Jenkins Martin Weiss Elementary School Kickin’ It with Keyboards
Sara Ramirez STEM Environmental Education Center Teambuilding & Fitness Trail