APEGA Innovation in Education Awards | APEGA

APEGA Innovation in Education Awards

APEGA Innovation in Education Awards

The APEGA Innovation in Education Awards enables Alberta educators to incorporate meaningful, educational experiences in their grade 1 to 12 classrooms. These engaging, hands-on, and student-led initiatives can take place during class time or outside of school hours.

Awards of up to $5,000 each, totalling $50,000, will be awarded to facilitate innovative, STEM-focused classroom initiatives.

Successful initiatives will be engaging, hands-on, and student-led, while having a positive impact on a community outside of the classroom. Through such initiatives, students will gain a deeper understanding of STEM topics and develop skills that will empower them to pursue their interests. By exposing students to real-life applications of STEM and the positive impacts that associated fields have on the world, we can increase interest and diversity within the fields.

Applications for the 2020/21 school year open in September 2019.


All educational, administrative, and support staff members currently employed by a grade 1 to 12 school or school board in Alberta are encouraged to apply. Applicants must be certified to teach in Alberta and be members of the Alberta Teachers’ Association. Schools on the border of Alberta are eligible if their students are Alberta residents. Recipients must be in roles that enable them to complete the initiative with a large group of students and must have the full support of their school or school board.

Initiative Criteria

Activities conducted through this award must:

  • be carried out by at least one class of grade 1 to 12 students at the recipient’s school
    • This is not intended to be an enrichment program – it should engage at least one class of diverse students and diverse learners, during regular school hours
  • be focused on science, technology, engineering, or math (STEM) and require students to apply STEM concepts. Initiatives must have at least one component with specific focus on engineering or geoscience.
  • be student-led, hands-on, and engaging
  • encourage skill development in students while teaching realistic and relevant applications of STEM fields
  • have a positive and measurable effect on the class and on the larger community outside the classroom (e.g., students gain a better understanding of a STEM topic, develop skills, and create something for or educate a group outside the classroom)
  • be completed between the beginning of September 2019 and the end of May 2020, with a project duration of at least six months.

Download the Printable Evaluation Rubric (PDF) 

Students learning from a teacher about the outdoorsTimelines

Recipients need to report to APEGA on their initiative’s mid-year progress by January 1, 2020 and again by March 31, 2020. Reports must include photos and videos, timeline and budget updates, and initiative-specific metrics (such as the number of students engaged, the initiative’s influence to-date, and unexpected challenges and modifications to the initial plan).

In June 2019, we will invite winners of the 2019/2020 cycle to a celebration event showcasing the winners of the 2018/2019 school year and introducing the new group of winners. Similarly, in June 2020, winners of this award cycle will be invited to the event.

A final report summarizing the initiative’s outcome will be due by July 15, 2020. This will include a video created by you and your students showcasing your initiative and providing the number of students who participated, the final cost breakdown, and additional initiative-specific data.

child playing with an outdoor globeApplication Process

There are three components required for a complete application. 

Applications for the 2020/21 school year open in September 2019.

Submissions closed for 2019

1. Initiative Proposal

Provide basic information about yourself and your school, as well as the goals and outcomes of the initiative.

As part of this step, you will be asked to fill in and submit a proposed budget and timeline of key milestones.

Download the Budget & Timeline Template (DOCX)  

2. School support

Provide a letter of support from your school principal that addresses the following:

  1. How will the school administration support you in completing the initiative as described (e.g., will it make an in-kind donation or provide support staff or additional time and resources)?
  2. How does this initiative tie in with your school's or school board's goals?

3. Video submission

Create a video to tell us more about yourself and your proposed initiative. This is a chance to be creative and demonstrate how you would showcase your initiative's success should you be selected.

Questions to answer in your video:

  1. What is your proposed initiative?
  2. Why do you want to pursue this initiative?
  3. In what way do your background and interests relate to the initiative?
  4. Have you completed an initiative like this before? Please describe your experience and any lessons learned.
  5. How will this initiative benefit your students?
  6. Explain your students’ role in the initiative. How will you incorporate student voice and choice within your project framework? How will students actively influence the project (within your initiative’s scope)?
  7. What other benefits will this initiative have? Specifically, how will it affect or engage the larger community outside of the classroom?
  8. How will you measure success?

Videos should be a maximum of 3 minutes long. Ensure the video is labelled with your name and your school's name.

How We Choose Recipients

Recipients will be selected by a panel of APEGA staff members and Professional Members based on how well the initiative meets the selection criteria, the level of planning in the proposal, and the expected effects of the initiative on the students and the community.

For your project to be selected, you must clearly meet all project criteria and provide specific project details with demonstrable impacts. We also encourage you to incorporate extensive student choice. To accomplish this, we recommend establishing a framework for your initiative that will allow you to meet all of the specific proposal criteria. Within the project scope, identify student choice points and how students will influence the project. Address how this may change the scope of your project, and how you will adapt to these changes.

Terms and Conditions

  • Recipients can use additional external funding to support their initiatives.
  • APEGA funds not used for the agreed-upon initiative must be returned to APEGA at the end of the school year.
  • If the recipient’s employment at the school ends during the term of the agreement, the funds will stay with the school, provided the initiative will be completed by an alternative staff member. If no substitute can be found, all funds must be returned to APEGA.
  • APEGA retains the right to withhold or withdraw funds if the initiative is not completed as described in the application form or if the reporting is not completed.
  • APEGA must be notified of significant changes to the initiative, and the recipient must receive APEGA’s written approval of the changes before proceeding.
  • An individual or school may apply more than once with different initiative proposals, but there can be only one recipient per school, per award year, and the amount received must be dedicated to a single initiative. Collaborative applications that include multiple teachers and classrooms are encouraged.
  • The award must not be used to fund food, travel, or capital expenses (e.g., a class set of equipment or upgrades to school facilities) unless they are crucial to the completion of the initiative. Such expenses must be clearly outlined and justified in the proposed budget and approved by APEGA.
  • We will not fund competition/event fees or travel to competitions/events. Teacher Professional Development course fees and associated costs will not be covered
    • Note that project-specific field trip fees and associated travel costs would qualify for funding
  • The purchase of technology may be covered, but it must be economical as well as necessary for the completion of the initiative

Initiative Inspiration

Use the following ideas to kickstart your brainstorming. Remember, these are meant to be sources of inspiration and should not limit your own creative process.

  • The Invisible Bicycle Helmet
  • Students create an app in partnership with a community organization that solves a problem affecting the community. Students learn coding and the organization gets a useful app to solve a problem.
  • Students create a device and associated communication campaign to bring awareness to forest fire risks and actively prevent fires from starting.
  • Students develop resources (printouts, presentations, etc.) and they use them to deliver outreach activities to local community members. Topics would relate to Science/Math curriculum, address community issues, provide students with engagement opportunities.
  • Students travel to an area affected by Dutch elm disease, learn to identify affected trees, map the location of diseased trees, and create a website to allow members of the public to add their sightings.


If you have questions, please contact us at outreach@apega.ca or 780-426-3990 ext. 1103.

Download the Printable Innovation in Education Awards Information Package (ZIP)