Building off the success of last year’s inaugural program, Goleta Education Foundation (GEF) is calling for applicants for 2020-21 professional development scholarships.

Applications are open to local elementary educators to seek financial support for professional development that enhances their students, colleagues and community.

In October, GEF awarded professional development scholarships to eight educators in the Goleta Union School District (GUSD), who carried out their activities through early 2020. The recipients were selected from a pool of 18 applications, representing 30 educators

Teachers attended conferences on community building, science education, support for English learners, and early literacu; finding the financial support of the grants greatly improved the students’ educational outcomes and the community as a whole.

“Being able to attend this conference impacted my classroom by giving me insight into new activities to incorporate, and the opportunity to share these insights with other teachers,” said Ana Carolina, a teacher at El Camino Elementary School.

“One activity I implemented in class helped build students’ writing abilities, as well as our classroom community; students learned to give each other feedback and positively comment on one another’s work,” she said.

Danielle Martinazzi and Tara Vowels, teachers at Foothill Elementary School, attended a kindergarten conference and learned creative, inexpensive and engaging ways to teach kids who enter school with varying levels of math comprehension.

One example is adapting the card game Go Fish to reach all students, no matter their math proficiency.

“As soon as we came back to school, we taught our students how to choose the level that was right for them, and they were so excited to try out the new math workplaces,” Martinazzi, said.

Based on coments from teachers and administrators, GEF recognized the need for resources for educators to pursue targeted professional development opportunities. With initial funding provided by the Williams-Corbett Foundation, GEF created the Professional Development Scholarship Fund.

The results of last school year’s success is evidence the program has a lasting impact for students and for the broader community.

To apply and learn more, visit GEF’s Professional Development Scholarship Fund page, Deadline to apply is Oct. 2; recipients will be notified mid-October.

GEF offers support for all the schools in the GUSD, with the goal of creating parity across all educational programs for a variety of learning groups. The GEF is a 501(c)3. To learn more or make a tax-deductible donation, visit