The Bosch Eco+ STEM Teacher (BEST) Grant Program operates as a partnership between the Bosch Community Fund and the School of Education Center for Education Design, Evaluation, and Research (CEDER).
The mission of the program is to advance sustainability and STEM education in ways that inspire, excite, and engage. The program supports innovative inquiry-based learning experiences by awarding grants of up to $2,000 to educators. BEST grantees have access to professional learning opportunities and a network of driven and like-minded colleagues. BEST Teacher Grants support a wide range of STEM and sustainability projects. Popular topics include coding, human-centered design, agriculture, and climate science.
CEDER partnered with the Bosch Community Fund in 2017 to lead the administration, evaluation, improvement, and scaling of the BEST Program. In the three years that CEDER has administered the program, grant-making has scaled four fold. This represents an increase from 62 participating educators and an estimated 8,700 students in 2018-19, to 325 educators and an estimated 39,000 students in 2020-21.
Michael Craig is a Special Education Teacher and Horticulture Instructor at Charles R. Drew Transition Center in Detroit Public Schools Community District. Drew Transition Center is a school for students aged 18-26 who have moderate and severe cognitive, developmental, and physical challenges.
Michael was first awarded a BEST Teacher Grant in the 2015-16 grant cycle, and has been awarded a grant every year since*. Mr. Craig’s BEST Teacher grants have supported the development of various elements of Drew Transition Center’s horticulture program such as hydroponic systems and virtual living walls. This year’s grant will be used to purchase a FarmBot, a hands-free robotic STEM instrument that students will use to learn alternative growing mechanisms. Mr. Craig shared the following reflection on the impact of his BEST Teacher Grants on his work:
“The Impact of these projects is both immediate and continuing, for the Drew Horticulture Program's work includes the constant use of these materials in the yearly education and instruction for students in their quest to acquire horticulture skills. The BEST Teacher Grant Program, through these awarded projects, has assisted in the production of thousands of pounds of produce that has been donated to local food pantries to aid the food scarcity issues in the City of Detroit.”
The CEDER team looks forward to continued collaboration with the Bosch Community Fund and our partners in districts across the country as the program continues to expand to reach more teachers, students, and communities.
About the Bosch Community Fund
The Bosch Community Fund is the corporate foundation for Bosch in North America. The Fund has awarded more than $32 million in grants to various 501(c)(3) organizations and educational institutions in over 45 Bosch site locations. Established in 2011, the Bosch Community Fund focuses primarily on the enrichment of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education, the advancement of environmental sustainability initiatives and eco+STEM, a cross-section of the two.
*With the exception of 2017-18, there was no grant program this year.