SBCEO Announces Winners of Remote Instruction Innovation Grants

Nineteen Remote Instruction Innovation (RII) grants have been awarded to educators countywide by the Santa Barbara County Education Office (SBCEO).  These new grants, funded by Cox Communications and other partners through the SBCEO Teachers Network, support local teachers in addressing the unprecedented challenges of shifting to digital classrooms and redesigning teaching and learning. Both teachers and students faced unexpected hurdles in virtual learning environments. These grants recognize teachers for their creative and effective solutions to online instruction and create an avenue for sharing their inventive approaches via our website

"Educators employed novel strategies, developed new techniques, and created engaging student projects while utilizing inclusive learning spaces and attending to students' social and emotional needs," said Dr. Susan Salcido, Santa Barbara County Superintendent of Schools. "We value our partnerships with the businesses and organizations that make innovation grants possible."

The Teachers Network offered the RII grants in response to the challenging adjustments teachers were forced to make to their instructional practices due to school closures. 

“Throughout our history, Cox has been committed to supporting education in the communities we serve,” said Kirsten McLaughlin, Market Vice President for Cox Communications in Santa Barbara. “This past year presented unforeseen challenges to educators. We’re honored to support the innovative work done by the Santa Barbara County Education Office through these grants to keep scholars connected to their curriculum, extracurricular activities, and peers.”

Anthem BlueCross, Montecito Bank & Trust, and Southern California Edison also partnered with SBCEO to offer this new grant to local transitional kindergarten through twelfth grade public school teachers in Santa Barbara County.  The grant-winning proposals spanned a wide variety of subject areas, grade levels, schools, and districts.  A selection committee composed of educators and community members evaluated the applications. 

Educators received awards of up to $700 to purchase materials, resources, equipment, and professional development.

Examples of winning projects include:

"By creating and posting videos that model language, developmental learning strategies, and behavior support strategies, I can model a variety of activities and strategies families can use with their children on their own time," said Laura Ishikawa at Hancock Preschool.

Fe Demition at Miller School created learning packs for her transitional kindergarten students. Families attended a distribution day where they received math manipulatives, guided reading books, and other literacy-building tools that, when coupled with Demition's online instruction, engage students with shared resources and learning experiences.

Krista Caniano at Lompoc Valley Middle School identified a challenge her students faced with managing their virtual courses that directly impacted their learning. She said, "If students cannot log into online learning independently, they need a modified approach. The individual login books I use give a pictorial view, so they can learn step by step how to attend their online courses and complete online work."

Lara Willbanks at San Marcos High School addressed students' social-emotional wellbeing by developing an engaging five-minute method for beginning Zoom class.  The technique supports students' connection with her, the content, and their classmates.

The SBCEO Teachers Network offers various grants and awards to local PreK-12 teachers via partnerships with local businesses, agencies, foundations, and individuals. Visit teachersnetwork.sbceo.org for more information.  Curriculum Project Grants, Collaborative Learning Team Grants, and TeachNet Technology Grants are also available.