Jeanie Ritchie Innovation Grants

JRG grant logo

The mission of the MPAEF funded Jeanie Ritchie Grant is to enable teachers to pursue innovative teaching programs in their classroom, grade or school and provide educational experiences that students would otherwise not be able to have. The grants funds are a part of the annual grant provided by MPAEF to the school district and are an important part of the Foundation’s motto: Investing in Education. Together.

District teachers have been applying for these Grants for over 35 years. Each year, teachers with unique teaching concepts prepare a comprehensive grant and present their idea to the Jeanie Ritchie Grant committee who evaluate the grant to see if it meets the program's three key qualities of innovation, creativity and enrichment.  And each year, the program grows.   In the first grant cycle during the 1984-1985 school year, 8 projects were funded with a total of $2,200.    Most recently during the 2019-2020 school year, 26 grant projects were funded with over $39,000 in funding. 

Thank you to everyone who donates to MPAEF and to all of the teachers among us who go above and beyond to make our school district the very best!

CLICK HERE to see highlights from the 2018-2019 grant recipients.

CLICK HERE for the press release about the 2019-2020 grant awards.

CLICK HERE to see an article from The Almanac about the 2019-2020 grant awards.

Jeanie Ritchie Innovation Grant Awardees for the 2019-2020 school year:




A Mindful Classroom

Rachel Naishtut Encinal

Access for All

Pam Musladin & Deanna Kraz Laurel


Jammie Behrendt & Russ Peterson Hillview, Encinal, Laurel & Oak Knoll

Apple Valley

Steffany Cressey


Bringing Learning to Live with On-Going Engineering

Laura Zielinski Oak Knoll

California Indians and Missions

Joan von der Linden & Tisha Whiteley


Call and Response

Richard Vaughan


Celebrating with Mochi

Rachel Bergeron


Dinosaurs Rock Assembly

Esme Collier


Engineering in Action

Anna Kogan & Christina Johnson


Equivalent Fraction Extravaganza

Jocelyn Guerra


Kid Magicians

Tony Yob

Oak Knoll

Know Your Zone

Russ Peterson


Math Manipulatives

Sara Bartlett

Oak Knoll

Math Mazes

Alicia Payton

Oak Knoll, Encinal & Laurel

Melba Beals

Valerie Cypert



Michelle Tom

Oak Knoll

Mock Caldecott

Jacqui Cebrian

Oak Knoll

Music to my Ears

Jeriann Hirsch


Native Plant Garden

Michelle Tom

Oak Knoll

Ongoing Classroom STEAM Workshops

Joyce Chan Oak Knoll

Outdoor Classroom:  Natural STEAM

Steffany Cressey Encinal

Start the Growing

Sandra Horwitz Laurel

Teaching Phonics with Engagement and Fun!

Sydney Merk Encinal

The Music and Movement of Argentina

Elizabeth Harrison Laurel

Thinking About Thinking

Grant Conour Laurel

Applying for a Grant:

If you are an MPCSD teacher with an idea that you would like to submit to the Jeanie Ritchie Grant Committee, we are excited to see your grant submission during the next grant application cycle. Here is what to do.

  1. Review the 2019-2020 Call for Applications document and the Grant Review Rubric to know how grants are evaluated and email us with any questions.
  2. Fill out a grant application 
  3. Submit your application by the due date via e-mail. Please watch this space for details about the next grant cycle.
  4. You will receive an email confirmation once your grant has been successfully submitted.
  5. The Jeanie Ritchie Grant Committee will review your grant application. The committee is comprised of parents from each school in the district, a teacher representative from each school in the district and the Director of Curriculum.
  6. You may receive questions from the committee to get clarity on your application.
  7. The committee will hold a Grant Review Meeting on an announced date to review and vote on all grants.
  8. The MPAEF and Superintendent will decide to grant or deny grant funding.
  9. You will receive an email informing you of whether your grant was selected. If selected, instructions will be included in this email.

The Grant Process:

School Principals and Site Councils are playing in integral part in the awarding of Jeanie Ritchie Grants at each school. The Jeanie Ritchie Grant committee chairs will be available to help with grant applications along with the teacher representatives on the committee. We have one at each school and they are are all experienced Jeanie Ritchie grant writers. The idea is to get great ideas to work in classrooms and on District campuses, not to create endless paperwork for our busy teachers and staff!

Grants for Funding 2019-2020 School Year: 

  • Friday, October 4, 2019: Grants are due by 5pm (please submit via e-mail to
  • Thursday, October 17, 2019: Grant review meeting
  • Thursday, October 24, 2019: Grant notification

If you have any questions about your grant application please feel free to email the Jeanie Ritchie Grant Committee chair

Grant Documents: