2024 Academy Scholarship & Affiliate Grant Recipients



Deborah Chapman
Learning Forward Michigan Academy Scholarship
Fenton Area Public Schools * Fenton, MI

Deborah’s involvement in the academy experience will help to develop and implement a plan that will provide evaluation of the implementation of MTSS in her district using a continuous improvement cycle. Having a passion to support all learners, it is important that professional learning in regard to MTSS isn’t a checkbox that a district is looking to achieve, but a system of learning that is created to support all learners in an evolving society. Additionally, it is important that all staff have the knowledge and confidence to meet every student where they are. By participating in the academy, she hopes to gain the knowledge and tools to create and implement this professional learning plan in ways that will engage all staff and translate to learning by all students. With the support of her administration and participation in the Academy, she will be able to support the development and implementation of a strong system of professional learning revolving around the MTSS process, which will build capacity the staff and support all students’ academic, behavior, and SEL needs.

Sarah Elwell
Sybil Yastrow Memorial Academy Scholarship
American Federation of Teachers * Silver Spring, MD

Sarah’s project will focus on identifying equitable engagement content, processes and conditions for success in professional learning, assess whether equitable engagement practices in professional learning may lead to greater use of equitable practices among educators and their students, and evaluate the link between levels of engagement and broader mobilization. The Intended outcomes are to provide strategic design guidance, outline markers to examine to create equity-based professional learning and create pathways to resolve potential conflict when implementing these practices, increase in equitable practices within the classroom and school community, which will hopefully lead to more success across various demographics and a more positive, courageous and representative, and leverage professional learning as a touchpoint for greater advocacy.

Megan Hewitt
Stephanie Hirsh Academy Scholarship
Gwinnett County Public Schools * Sugar Hill, GA

Megan’s project will focus on professional learning they provide to truly be focused on meeting the needs of each and every learner. She believes Learning Forward will provide tools needed to ensure they are continuing to move towards building an equitable system. One strong step for GCPS was selecting a high-quality instructional material rooted in the Science of Reading to ensure that each and every child has access to build knowledge with worthy, compelling, complex texts. She wants the professional learning that they provide to truly serve each of the groups they have an opportunity to interact with: administrators, coaches, and teachers. Shifting their professional learning to be more facilitative will strengthen how they equip leaders, coaches, and teachers to truly be leaders of their own learning.

Amanda Johns
Patsy Hochman Memorial Academy Scholarship
Blue Ridge Independent School District * Blue Ridge, TX

Amanda’s project will focus on using professional learning communities to talk about real time data, dive into upcoming units and lessons, and talk about specific instructional strategies for intervening with students in the subject of mathematics. The model will focus on identifying teachers’ strengths in instruction, professional learning communities where we are all learning together as well as from each other, and the end of the day’s big celebration will be student growth through unit assessments and STAAR data. Her work will focus on the following goals:
-By the end of the 2025-2026 school year, each grade level at Blue Ridge Elementary will meet at least one time per month to discuss real time math data and plan for future small group instruction at least 90% of the time.
-By the end of the 2025-2026 school year, Blue Ridge Elementary will grow from 0 to a 3 in STAAR results for math achievement and growth in grades 3,4, and 5.

Ana Lara
Stephanie Hirsh Academy Scholarship
Miami-Dade County Public Schools * Miami Gardens, FL

Ana aims to establish a robust system of professional learning that yields specific and measurable outcomes. First, she intends to enhance professional growth by implementing targeted training programs, increasing employee expertise in technology integration and AI. This, in turn, should translate into improved student and employee growth, fostering a dynamic and engaging learning environment. Additionally, the focus on equity will result in tailored initiatives, addressing the diverse needs of educators and promoting an inclusive education system that ensures equitable opportunities for all students future. The data and evidence informing these goals include assessments of current professional development needs, analysis of educational trends, and recognition of the transformative potential of technology in teaching. By aligning outcomes with these insights, she’ll ensure their efforts address specific gaps, leading to improved teacher effectiveness, enhanced student learning experiences, and a more equitable educational system in response to the identified challenges and opportunities.

Jessica Leedy
Sybil Yastrow Memorial Academy Scholarship
Prince George’s County Public Schools * Columbia, MD

Jessica’s goal is to extend their Computer Science Education Week from a virtual code night to include an in-person event at an elementary school. After submitting a proposal, the computer science department supported her initiative financially and with materials. This type of support exists from all the departments she works with, including her own, science department. These departments understand the need for additional opportunities within their large district to promote equity of opportunities and resources. The district, which includes over 200 schools, has pockets of wealth and poverty. Our office of Equity, Diversity, and Belonging works hard to highlight these disparities and asks departments to reflect on their practices to combat these. The science department works to provide a variety of curriculum and professional development support to promote equity, which is at the forefront of curriculum and instruction. We are a diverse district and recognize that what is best for one is not best for all. Her problem of practice will focus on meeting the needs of a population which has grown 195% in ten years in their district of multilingual learners.

Peggy Stewart
Dale Hair Affiliate Development Grant
Learning Forward New Jersey

Learning Forward New Jersey aims to address the reorganization of the board, to meet two new organizational challenges. The first challenge is the influx of new engaged and skilled members who are less familiar with Learning Forward’s vision and mission, as well as the work of an affiliate. The second is the opportunity for new learning of the entire board related to standards and equity. This strategy grants us an opportunity to strengthen our organizational structure, enhance governance, and revitalize partnerships. By focusing on these areas, we can operate more efficiently, align with our mission, and forge stronger partnerships to advance our goals.


Our vision

The Learning Forward Foundation will establish a sustainable stream of funding to develop leaders who empower educators to learn for student success.

Our mission

The Learning Forward Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization, raises money to provide scholarships and grants to support and empower educators from across the globe to design high quality teaching that results in growth and achievement for every student through professional learning.

Annual report