NAESP Partners With Wahl Foundation to Offer $40,000 in Grants to Innovative Elementary Schools

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NAESP member schools that serve students in grades K-5 are invited to apply for “UNthink My School” grant.

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Through a recent collaboration with the Wahl Foundation, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) today launched a school grant program called “UNThink My School” that will award a total of $40,000 to schools that champion themes of innovation and creativity.

The Wahl Foundation, which is a component fund of the San Diego Foundation, will award one $20,000 grant and 10 $2,000 “UNthink My School” grants to schools that use artistic concepts and creative expression to solve school problems and spur innovation. Applications will be accepted and reviewed from Oct. 6, 2015 until Feb. 15, 2016. Winners will be announced in March 2016.

"Principals are proudly committed to providing a well-rounded and complete education that enables each child to reach his or her fullest potential in every way—socially, emotionally, physically, and academically,” said NAESP Executive Director Gail Connelly. “We also know that most schools struggle with resources. We hope that even the act of applying for these grants will spark some innovative ideas that will not only help schools, but the communities they serve,” she added.

Possible grant projects could reinforce an anti-bullying campaign, focus on campus safety, overcome learning inequalities, decrease truancy, or address resource challenges. The grant was created as a way to reinforce themes in Erik Wahl’s book, UNThink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius. There are two criteria for applying: Schools must be in the United States serving students in grades K-5; and the school’s principal must be a member of NAESP.

“We are committed to innovation in education, and that’s why we wanted to offer meaningful grants to schools that creatively fix a problem and make a significant impact,” said Tasha Wahl, the Wahl Foundation executive director. “We also wanted to reward teachers, principals, and other staff who are bold in their thinking, and who are not afraid to do things a little differently.”

NAESP helps principals navigate the intrinsic 21st century challenges that come with the transformation of the nation’s school systems. The Association advocates for principals’ professional development that will ultimately benefit the children in the communities served. The “UNthink My School” grant dovetails with NAESP’s commitment to arts-enhanced school experiences and creative approaches to provide modern, innovative support to principals.

Applicants can visit the Wahl Foundation website to learn more and apply. Follow #UNthinkMySchool on Twitter and Facebook for updates, tips, and strategies.

Established in 1921, the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP) leads in the advocacy and support for elementary and middle school principals in the United States and internationally. NAESP supports principals as the primary catalysts for creating lasting foundations for learning through policy development, advocacy, professional development programs, and resources for effective instructional leadership. NAESP advances the profession on behalf of all principals, providing specialized support and mentoring for early career principals. Key focus areas include pre-K-3 education, school safety, technology and digital learning, and capacity-building educator evaluation. To learn more about NAESP, please visit

Erik and Tasha Wahl created the Wahl Foundation because they are passionate about integrating the arts in education. They believe that incorporating artistic concepts and creative expression into the learning process can be transformative for classroom and school environments. The Wahl Foundation is dedicated to enabling positive change. We gravitate toward other projects that serve education, the underserved, the arts and other innovative projects that fall beyond those areas.

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