The School Zone: News


Teachers across 23 Spring Branch ISD campuses were surprised this month as sponsors of the J. Landon Mini-Grant Program dropped by classrooms to announce the awarding of grant dollars to the 2018 winners.

“Thanks to the J. Landon Short Mini-Grant, I will be able to purchase classroom resources for my STEM class,” said Juan Pablo Suarez, a Science teacher at Spring Branch Elementary. “It is a wonderful opportunity to receive this grant because it will benefit the students at Spring Branch Elementary. We meet every week with a group of 4th graders to learn about computer programing and coding.“

Click here to view a photo gallery of all our winners.

For 29 years, SBISD has conducted a Mini-Grants for Educators program. In 2000, The Robert and Janice McNair Foundation created a permanent endowment for the program in memory of J. Landon Short, a lifelong education advocate, and SBISD patron.

This year 67 applications were submitted. Each application was reviewed, using a blind judging process, by at least two members of a review committee made up of SBISD staff, partners and program sponsors. Grants of up to $500 for individual teachers or $750 for teams were awarded to the 38 highest-scoring applications.


During the 2018-2019 school year over $20,800 in mini-grants will fund projects such as Keeping the Xylophones Playing, Exploring Science with Smartscopes and Promoting the Love of Literacy for Latinos.

The winning projects would otherwise not be possible without the investment of this year’s generous sponsors: CITGO, First Community Credit Union, Marine Well Containment Company, Robert & Janice McNair Foundation, Spring Branch Education Foundation, and the West Houston Chinese Church.

“Marine Well Containment Company is proud to partner with SBISD in funding J. Landon Short Mini Grants as it is a targeted way for us to endow STEM education and reward teachers who are going above and beyond to help their students excel in STEM-related field,” said company CEO Don Armijo. “Further, these grants foster strategic thinking among grant petitioners and allow them to advocate for projects that focus on student interests and plug necessary gaps in the traditional curriculum.”

Click here for a full listing of all the 2018 J. Landon Short Mini-grant winners.

The real ‘winners’ of the mini-grants are the students whose teachers came up with unique ideas for teaching and learning, submitted applications for the funding, and now will enjoy learning in highly creative and interactive ways.

“We are so grateful to our partners for their support of this program,” said Abby Walker, SBISD Coordinator of Strategic Partnerships and Volunteers. “Thanks to their generosity, J. Landon Short Mini-Grant winners are able to turn their innovative ideas into reality in their classrooms.”

If you or your organization would like to participate in this Win-Win-Win opportunity for next school year, please contact Abby Walker, 713-251-2289. J. Landon Mini-Grant Program sponsors are welcome at any level and will be invited to serve as application judges and to make surprise visits with grant funds to award-winning teachers next fall.