Facebook grants awarded to NJ teachers

Twenty-five teams of Newark, New Jersey, teachers today received more than $200,000 in grants for their innovative plans to improve their schools, NJ.com reported. The grants were funded by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s $100 million gift to Newark’s schools.

More than 100 teams of teachers applied for the money after Foundation for Newark’s Future — the group charged with spending Zuckerberg’s gift and all funds raised to match it — announced their plans to award grants to teachers with innovative ideas.

Janet Mino, a teacher at John F. Kennedy School, will use a $7,729 grant to buy 10 iPads, which she plans to use to help 31 autistic students learn to communicate.

When Mino learned about an app that could help nonverbal autistic students communicate, she spent $500 of her own money to buy an iPad and found that the app was remarkable in helping her students.

“After working with one student on my personal iPad, he was able to order lunch at the mall. He had a voice,” Mino told NJ.com. “If we had iPads years ago, do you know how far along these young adults would be in the world?”

This fall, teachers will be able to apply for an additional $400,000 in teacher innovation grants.