Innovative Teaching Grant

The Puyallup Valley chapter awarded John Garrett with the 2010 Innovative Teaching Grant. Garrett, a technology teacher at Surprise Lake Middle School in Milton, started an after-school technology club that promotes science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education for girls.

In 1996 Puyallup Valley Branch of AAUW began offering Innovative Teaching Grants to teachers in grades kindergarten through twelve in our four area school districts.  We continue to offer grants and have added a fifth district in our local area.  The Grants are intended to extend classroom enrichment and instruction, provide opportunities that are not available with regular district funds and will benefit a maximum number of students.  Proposals are also evaluated on equity issues and assisting girls in developing increased interest and skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics.    Grants are awarded each fall to maximize learning for the current year.  Our award recipient presents and explains his/her project at the April Branch meeting.

From 1996 to 2022, the Branch has awarded over $21,000 in Grants to a total of 55 teachers from Puyallup, Sumner/Bonney Lake, Orting, Fife and Chief Leschi School Districts.  IF each Grant ONLY impacted 30 students, that would amount to well over 1600 students  who have benefited from the Grants.  Many of the items purchased with the Grants have been used in multiple classrooms over multiple years, leading to an uncounted number of students who have had access to these innovative projects.

2022-2023 Chief Leschi Schools will be the Innovative Teaching Grant recipient

2021-2022 No Innovative Teaching Grant was awarded due to Covid 19.

2020-2021 Innovative Teaching Grant.
John Shula, a Digital Media teacher at Fife High School, was the 2020-21 recipient of the Innovative Teaching Grant.

The Grant was used to purchase equipment to enable “vlogging,” or video blogging, a form of communication that engages an audience in a personal fashion (and for some individuals, can be financially lucrative).   We are looking forward to viewing Vlogs produced by the students at Fife High School.

2019-2020 Innovative Teaching Grant
Puyallup High School Biology teachers Rocquel Stanley and Katie Coats were awarded the  2019-20 AAUW Innovative Teaching Grant.  The Grant was used to expand their microplastics lab for at least four years.  This allows them to reach upwards of 1000 sophomore biology students.  Microplastics are the microscopic breakdown of plastic trash in the water.

The teachers encouraged students to bring tap water and bottled water to class; while they provided additional items that may contain microplastics.  Seagull excrement was tested to detect plastics consumed directly or through the food web.  Puget Sound sand and ocean beach sand were tested to see if there are microplastics reaching our shores from ground up plastics in the ocean.  Every item they tested showed at least one piece of microplastics per 500 ml/g of substance.  The largest density of microplastics was in the Seagull excrement.

The Grant recipients are looking forward to continued testing for microplastics in our environment and working with students to devise plans to reduce plastic waste.

We were pleased to be honored as one of 19 finalists for the Breaking Through Barriers Awards at the 2011 AAUW National Convention in Washington, DC.

For more information on this project, email