Bright Ideas Educational Grants

bright ideas logo

At Randolph Electric, we believe there is no more important investment than in our state’s youth. That’s why for more than 20 years, the electric co-ops of North Carolina have offered Bright Ideas education grants to Tar Heel teachers in K-12 classrooms across the state.

Bright Ideas grants provide funding for innovative, classroom-based projects that would otherwise not be possible. Since 1994, we have touched the lives of more than 2 million students who have participated in 9,800 Bright Ideas projects, and given out more than $10.2 million. Each year, close to 600 grants are funded across the state.

Proposals can come from any area of the curriculum. Projects must directly benefit students, provide ongoing benefits, and use innovative teaching methods. A panel of previous Bright Ideas grant winners, various counties’ Teachers of the Year, as well as retired teachers, carefully reviewed and discuss each application before deciding on the final awards.

To apply, teachers must include a budget, explain the implementation, goals, creative elements and evaluation of the project, and have approval from the school principal. Applications will be judged in a competitive evaluation process, and judges will be on the lookout for projects that feature innovation and creativity. The application and grant-writing tips can be found at www.ncbrightideas.com.

2019-2020 Bright Ideas Winners

Amanda Blake, Westmoore Elementary 

Student Sensory Safe Haven—$1,000

Provides a sensory room which helps to educate students on ways to build resilience for themselves by creating a safe space for students who are in sensory overload.

Kim Collazo, Robbins Elementary

We're Outta Here! Taking the STEM Lab Outside—$1,600

Provides motion detection camera traps and handheld GPS devices to allow students to make observations, collect, analyze and globally share data about local living species to  better understand the real-world work of scientists.

David Lackey, Uwharrie Charter Academy High School

Flight School—$1,650

Provides students the opportunity to become certified, commercially licensed drone pilots.  Students will complete a rigorous curriculum covering drone laws and regulations, safety, flight techniques, airspace information, radio frequencies, physics, and reading sectional maps to ultimately obtain a Part 107 commercial drone license.

Celia McKinney, Green Ridge Elementary

Learning Experiences Under the Sun—$2,000

Provides students with six science expeditions in the outdoor areas of Montgomery county.  Teachers join Muddy Sneakers instructors to teach the required science standards in an outdoor setting and help students connect with the natural world.

Sarah Moore, Uwharrie Ridge Six-Twelve

Chicken Nuggets on Mars—$1,300

Allows students to explore alternative ways to grow different types of crops for chickens besides soil to extend their thinking to hydroponics and micropropagation—as they might have to do if they lived on Mars.

Chrissy Neelon, Uwharrie Charter Academy High School

iSculpt on an iPad Like a Pro—$1,000

Provides pressure-sensitive drawing tablets for students to design and create three-dimensional sculptures by first sculpting an object on a computer with digitized clay that can then be 3-D printed into sculptures.

Jamie Staley, Coleridge Elementary

Let's Get Excited About Reading!—$1,000

Updates the school's library collection to provide new easy reader and fiction books to draw interest and create excitement for children.

Colleen Stanley, Uwharrie Charter Academy Elementary School

Building Our Social/Emotional Library for EC Students—$450

Builds a library of read-aloud books that teach students empathy and how to build appropriate social skills and emotional well-being. 

Steven Watson, Charles McCrary Elementary

Mustang Lacrosse—$2,000

Introduces lacrosse to all fourth- and fifth-grade students to help strengthen various skills that carry over into other sports as well as academics. Will additionally support an after-school lacrosse club for interested students to dive deeper into the sport.