Supporting Excellent Science Teaching for Georgia

GSTA Awards and Grants

The annual GSTA Awards and Grants recognize excellence and innovation in Georgia science education and serves to raise awareness and exposure of the outstanding work being done in our state. The GSTA Awards Program is supported by member donations, the Georgia Science Teachers Education Foundation, and generous sponsors. GSTA Awards and Grants help support the science educators and their science educational programs, professional development and proactive efforts in the science education.

A distinguished panel of professional science educators will review applications and select the recipients.

For more information contact Dr. Nicole Page, the Awards Chair, or Justin Harvey, the Foundation Chair.

General Criteria and Guidelines

To be eligible for consideration, applicants must be current GSTA members teaching science in Georgia, exceptions include administrators and students who must be nominated by a GSTA members. All work included in the application must be current and cumulative, as applicable. Applications must be complete, including all required components submitted according to the specified guidelines, and received by the deadline in order to be considered.

Recipients can receive one award, scholarship or grant per school year. The same award, scholarship or grant will not be given to the same recipient two consecutive years. Current GSTA and GSTE Foundation board members, committee chairs, and their immediate family members are not eligible to apply for an award, scholarship or grant during the year in which they serve in this capacity.

Recipients of the GSTA awards, scholarships or grants are required to submit a brief article about their project, program, or coursework by October 1, 2023, to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media. (Information about article submission will be provided to recipients at a later date.)

All information included in the application should be typed, double spaced using 12 point font with the exception of the resume and letters of support or recommendation which may be single spaced. Recommendations should be on letterhead when possible, limited to one page, signed and dated accordingly. Specific guidelines, such as other page limits for length, can be found with the description of the award components.

The information for all components of the application should be included within and submitted as a single document to be uploaded as part of the GSTA Awards & Grants Application using the link provided in the registration confirmation email. Applicants can only upload one (1) file in a pdf, Microsoft word, or Google doc format.

All completed applications are to be submitted no later than Wednesday, November 30, 2022 at 11:59 PM. Recipients will be notified in January 2023. The awards ceremony to honor and recognize recipients will be held in February 2023.

Click on an award below to learn more and apply.

GSTA District Mini-Grants (not currently open; apply for project grants below)

The mini-grants for the 2022-2023 school year were awarded in August. Recipients of the district mini-grants are asked to complete the project during the 2022-2023 school year and submit a brief article for submission to communications@georgiascienceteacher.org for the eObservations/social media by January 31, 2023. (Information about article submission will be sent to recipients.)

The mini-grant applications for the 2023-2024 school year will open in late spring to be awarded at the beginning of the school year (in August 2023). We will be awarding two mini grants per GSTA district.  

District mini-grants are designed to fund creative class projects. GSTA provides $300.00 per project award. Teachers who need funding for special, smaller classroom projects are encouraged to apply for mini-grants. Recipients of the district mini-grants are asked to complete the project during the school year in which the award was received and submit a brief article for submission to communications@georgiascienceteacher.org for the eObservations/social media.

GSTA Teacher of the Year

The GSTA Science Teacher of the Year (TOTY) award recognizes a distinguished teacher who exhibits ongoing excellence in the teaching of science and commitment to its improvement. The award is available for elementary school, middle school, high school, and college science teachers with four or more years of classroom experience. Each award includes a check for $1500 and a complimentary registration to GSTA’s annual conference. To be eligible, applicants must meet the general criteria and guidelines.

Recipients of the GSTA Teacher of the Year are required to submit a brief article to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by October 1, 2023. Recipients are also encouraged to present at the annual conference (held in February). (Information about the article submission and conference presentation will be provided to award recipients at a later date.)

Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

To apply for a GSTA Teacher of the Year, applicants must complete Parts 1 and 2.

Part 1: Register for the GSTA Teacher of the Year application submission process here. After completing the registration process, applicants will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. 

Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name (if applicable), and grade level with courses/subjects taught. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTA Teacher of the Year.  

Section 2: Lesson Plan. Provide a lesson plan you developed and implemented based on grade level appropriate science standards that reflects your view of science education. The submitted plan should illustrate how you utilize effective science teaching practices to meet the diverse needs of your students to promote mastery of the science standards. (If the lesson supports a larger unit plan, provide information to establish the context of the lesson.)

Section 3: Lesson Reflection. Provide a reflection based on your experience teaching the lesson you described in Section 2. The reflection should include why you felt the lesson was successful, how you responded to students’ needs and any challenges, and how the lesson reflects your view of science education. 

Section 4: Professional Engagement. This section may include a resume and/or description of how you have continued your education in science to enhance and improve your professional practice. This may include active involvement in professional organizations, attendance and/or presentations at conferences, pursuit of advanced degrees or certifications/endorsements, participation in professional learning outside your school/district, and/or serving in leadership roles.

Section 5: Letters of Recommendation. Provide three letters of recommendation—one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant principal), one from a colleague, and one from someone familiar with your work (i.e., former student/parent, professional within the organization of which you are an active member, or district/system level supervisor/coordinator).

GSTA Teacher of Promise

The GSTA Teacher of Promise (TOP) award recognizes exceptional promise for ongoing excellence in science teaching. The award is available for K-12 science teachers with one, two, or three years of teaching experience. Each TOP will receive a monetary award of $750.00 and a complimentary registration to GSTA’s annual conference. To be eligible, applicants must meet the general criteria and guidelines.

Recipients of the GSTA Teacher of Promise are required to submit a brief article to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by October 1, 2023. Recipients are also invited to present at the annual conference (held in February). (Information about the article submission and conference presentation will be provided to award recipients at a later date.)

Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

To apply for a GSTA Teacher of Promise, applicants must complete Parts 1 and 2.

Part 1: Register for the GSTA Teacher of Promise application submission process here. After completing the registration process, applicants will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. 

Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name, and grade level(s) with subject(s) taught. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTA Teacher of Promise.  

Section 2: Science Lesson. Describe a lesson you developed and/or implemented based on grade level appropriate science standards that reflects your view of science education. Be sure to include the teaching practices you utilized to meet the diverse needs of your students to promote mastery of the science standards.

Section 3: Lesson Reflection. Provide a reflection based on your experience teaching the lesson you described in Section 2. The reflection should include why you felt the lesson was successful, how you responded to students’ needs and any challenges, and how the lesson reflects your view of science education. 

Section 4: Professional Growth. Explain how you are improving your practice as a science teacher (include pursuit of an advanced degree, endorsement/certification programs, professional learning, and/or active involvement in professional organizations).

Section 5: Letters of Recommendation. Provide three letters of recommendation—one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant principal), one from a teacher leader (department head, instructional coach, team/grade level leader), and one from someone familiar with your work (colleague, former student/parent, student teaching supervisor, or district level supervisor/coordinator).

Provide the following prompt to each person writing a recommendation: The GSTA Teacher of Promise award recognizes teachers early in their careers who show exceptional promise to be outstanding science teachers. Please indicate in what capacity and duration you are familiar with the nominee and the specific qualities you are aware of that make this person a “teacher of promise”. In your responses, please cite specific evidence of the qualities you mention. 

    Georgia Science Administrator of the Year

    The Georgia Science Administrator of the Year award recognizes a school level administrator who acts as a champion for science education and demonstrates a commitment to its improvement by offering continuous support of science educators and programs in a K-12 school. The Georgia Science Administrator of the Year will receive $500 and a complimentary registration to the annual GSTA conference. To be eligible, applicants must be nominated by a GSTA member, currently serve in a K-12 Georgia school and meet all other general criteria and guidelines.

    Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

    The nominating GSTA member will complete Part 1 of the application process. The nominee will complete Part 2 of the application process after receiving the confirmation email from the nominator.

    Part 1: The GSTA member will nominate and register for the Georgia Science Administrator of the Year application submission process here. After completing the registration process, the nominating GSTA member will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. Please follow the instructions in the confirmation email to complete the application process and provide the nominee with one letter of recommendation to include in the application. 

    Part 2: The Georgia Science Administrator of the Year nominee should compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

    Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name, and current administrative position. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as the GSTA Administrator of the Year recipient. 

    Section 2: Science Education Philosophy. Describe recent science lessons, related programs and/or learning opportunities you observed at your school. Explain how these reflect your view of teaching and learning in science. (2 pages maximum)

    Section 3: Science Education Support. Explain how you support science education by describing the actions you have taken to support the needs of the teachers (both instructional and professional), students, school, and/or community. (2 pages maximum)

    Section 4: Resume or Academic Vita. Include post-secondary academic history, certification fields and types, employment history, professional and/or leadership experience (i.e., membership in professional organizations, offices held, attendance and/or presentations at professional conferences, and published work). (3 pages maximum)

    Section 5: Letters of Recommendation. Provide three letters of recommendation—one from the nominating GSTA member, one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant/associate principal), and one from a teacher, parent, or district level personnel familiar with your work in supporting science teaching and learning.

      GSTA Project Grants

      Project grants are designed to fund class projects that support student learning. GSTA provides a grant up to $750 per project. Recipients of the project grants should complete the project during the 2022-2023 school year. To be eligible, applicants must meet the general criteria and guidelines.

      Recipients of the project grants are required to submit a brief article about the project to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by June 15, 2023. (Information about article submission will be provided to grant recipients at a later date.)

      Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

      To apply for a GSTA Project Grant, applicants must complete Parts 1 and 2.

      Part 1: Register for the GSTA Project Grant application submission process here. After completing the registration process, applicants will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. 

      Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

      Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name, and grade level(s) with subject(s) taught. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTA Project Grant recipient. 

      Section 2: Project Title & Description. Provide the title and description of the project including a summary of activities or learning experiences the students will engage in that promotes mastery of specific science standards and excellence in science teaching. 

      Section 3: Expected Outcomes. Explain how the project will enhance student learning in science and contribute to your efficacy as a science teacher.

      Section 4: Timeline & Budget. The timeline should include dates of activities for the project. The budget should include the costs of materials to complete the project.

      Section 5: Letters of Support. Provide two letters of support—one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant principal) who will approve your completion of the project and one from a colleague or parent familiar with your work.

      GSTA Teacher Scholarship

      The GSTA Teacher Scholarship consists of a monetary award for science teachers to use toward continuing their education through the completion of college coursework, endorsement/certification programs, or summer learning programs. The amount of the award (up to $1000.00) will depend on the cost of the course or program including travel and/or lodging expenses. To be eligible, applicants must meet the general criteria and guidelines.

      Recipients of the teacher scholarship are required to submit a brief article about the course or program to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by October 1, 2023. (Information about article submission will be provided to scholarship recipients at a later date.)

      Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

      To apply for a GSTA Teacher Scholarship, each applicant must complete Parts 1 and 2.

      Part 1: Register for the GSTA Teacher Scholarship application submission process here. After completing the registration process, applicants will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. 

      Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

      Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name, and grade level(s) with subject(s) taught. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTA Teacher Scholarship recipient. 

      Section 2: Course/Program Description. Describe the course or program including a summary of activities or learning experiences you will engage in that promotes excellence in science teaching and mastery of specific practices, content or science standards. Please include whether participation will occur in person (identify location) or virtually.

      Section 3: Expected Outcomes. Explain how participation in the course or program will help you enhance student learning in science, meet your professional learning needs, and help you contribute to excellence in your professional learning community (grade level, team, department, school or district). Describe what actions you will take to share what you learn to promote excellence in science teaching and learning.

      Section 4: Timeline & Budget. The timeline should include dates for the application and notification process, your acceptance status (if known), and the beginning and end dates of the course or program. If you must use professional or personal leave to participate, indicate whether the school has approved your leave of absence for the dates specified.

      The budget should include the costs of enrollment, travel and/or lodging to participate in the course or program. If a substitute is required for the dates specified, indicate who will cover this cost. Identify any additional funding that has been applied or will be received to support your participation in the course or program. For example, the program cost is $1500, and you have received $500 from your science department, which includes funds to pay the substitute teacher.

      Section 5: Letters of Recommendation. Provide two letters of recommendation—one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant principal) who will approve your participation in the course/program and one from a colleague.

      GSTEF Conference Grant

      The Georgia Science Teachers Education Foundation (GSTEF) Conference Grant supports teachers in achieving their professional learning goals through attendance at a state, regional, or national science conference. The amount of the grant (up to $750) will depend on the cost of registration, travel and/or lodging. To be eligible, applicants must meet the general criteria and guidelines.

      Recipients of the conference grant are required to submit a brief article about the conference to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by October 1, 2023. (Information about article submission will be provided to grant recipients at a later date.)

      Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

      To apply for a GSTEF Conference Grant, applicants must complete Parts 1 and 2.

      Part 1: Register for the GSTEF Conference Grant application submission process here. After completing the registration process, applicants will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Awards & Grants Application. 

      Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Awards & Grants Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

      Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. Also include your current employment information: school name, district/system name, and grade level(s) with subject(s) taught. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTEF Conference Grant recipient.  

      Section 2: Conference Description. Describe the state, regional or national science conference including a summary of activities or learning experiences you will engage in that promotes excellence in science teaching and/or mastery of specific teaching practices, content or science standards. You may include information about the conference theme and/or session strands. Please include whether participation will occur in person (identify location) or virtually.

      Section 3: Expected Outcomes. Explain how participation in the conference will help you enhance student learning in science, meet your professional learning needs, and help you contribute to excellence in your professional learning community (grade level, team, department, school or district). Describe what actions you will take to share what you learn to promote excellence in science teaching and learning.

      Section 4: Timeline & Budget. The timeline should include registration deadline, conference dates, and dates of specific events (such as short courses, professional learning institutes, or field trips/tours) you plan to attend at the conference. If you must use professional or personal leave to participate, include whether the school has approved your leave of absence for the dates specified.

      The budget should include the costs of registration, travel and/or lodging. If a substitute is required for the dates specified, include who will cover this cost. Identify any additional funding that has been applied or will be received to support your attendance at the conference. For example, your school will pay $355 for registration while you will cover the cost of travel, lodging and meals.

      Section 5: Letters of Support. Provide two letters of support—one from a school level administrator (dean, principal or assistant principal) who will approve your attendance at the conference and one from a colleague.

      GSTA Student Scholarship

      The GSTA Student Scholarship consists of a monetary award for students to use in continuing their science education through formal or informal educational programs including camps or undergraduate college programs/courses. GSTA members will nominate students in grades 6-12 or attending a college/university in Georgia for the scholarship.  Nominated students can apply individually or as a group participating in the same program for an award amount up to $1000. To be eligible, applicants must be nominated by a GSTA member and meet the general criteria and guidelines.

      Recipients of the student scholarship are asked to submit a brief summary of the program and what they learned from their experiences to be shared in the eObservations newsletter and/or social media by October 1, 2023. (Information about submission will be provided to scholarship recipients at a later date.)

      Application Process (Evaluation Rubric)

      The nominating GSTA member will complete Part 1 of the application process. The nominee will complete Part 2 of the application process after receiving the confirmation email from the nominator.

      Part 1: The GSTA member will nominate and register for the GSTA Student Scholarship application submission process here. After completing the registration process, the nominating GSTA member will receive a confirmation email containing a link to the GSTA Student Scholarship Application. Please follow the instructions in the confirmation email to complete the application process and provide the nominee with one letter of recommendation to include in the application. 

      Part 2: Compose a single document with the information for each section listed below. The information should be in section order following the general guidelines (also listed at the top of this page). Using the link provided in the registration confirmation email, complete the GSTA Student Scholarship Application and upload your document as the last item in the application.

      Section 1: Biographical Information & Photo. Provide your first and last name with a current photo of yourself. For students in grades 6-12, include your school name, district/system name, and grade level. For college students, include your school name, year in college, and major area of study. If submitting the application as a group, include the appropriate information for all individuals in the group. The submitted photo will be used by GSTA in the awards program, eObservations newsletter, social media, and website should you be selected as a GSTA Student Scholarship recipient. 

      Section 2: Program Description. Describe the educational program or course including a summary of activities or learning experiences you will engage in that supports your continued learning of science. Please include whether participation will occur in person (identify location) or virtually.

      Section 3: Expected Outcomes. In one page or less, explain why you want to participate in the program and what you expect to learn from your experience.

      Section 4: Timeline & Budget. The timeline should include registration deadline, program or course dates, and dates of specific events (such as field trips/tours) you plan to attend.

      The budget should include the costs of registration, travel and/or lodging. Identify any additional funding that has been applied or will be received to support your enrollment in the program or course.

      Section 5: Letters of Recommendation. Provide two letters of recommendation—one from a school level administrator (dean, program advisor, principal or assistant principal) and one from the nominating GSTA member. Students under 18 years of age must also have a letter of support from a parent or guardian (include contact information—home address, phone number, and email).

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