top of page

North Carolina Council of Administrators of Special Education

Melinda Jacobs Innovation in Teaching Grant 2023-2024

NC CASE is currently accepting proposals for the Melinda Jacobs Innovation in Teaching Grant.  Melinda Jacobs (1958-2018) was an attorney who focused her career on special education and disability law.  Melinda was a special friend to NC CASE; serving as the keynote speaker for the annual fall conference for many years. Melinda is remembered by NC CASE as a national expert in the area of special education law.  Her presentations informed, entertained and explained.  Her expertise, friendship, talent and sense of humor will truly be missed.


This grant has been established in her memory to honor her dedication to special education administrators across the state of North Carolina. The grant is intended to recognize special education teachers in North Carolina who are implementing innovative strategies in their classrooms resulting in improved outcomes for students with disabilities and their families.


NC CASE is proud to sponsor one grant in the amount of $1000 to be awarded at the October 2024 NC CASE Annual Fall Conference in Wrightsville Beach, NC.  The grant includes registration for the full NC CASE conference for two representatives of the receiving school district.  The recipient of the grant will be required to do a short presentation at the October conference showcasing the way in which the funds will be used to promote positive outcomes for students and/or parents.


 Below you will find the guidelines governing the admission, acceptance, and judging of grant proposals. 


Focus of the grant:

For the 2023-2024 grant period, proposals will be accepted that address one of the following goals.

To begin, expand or increase:

  • Existing school-based enterprise through the implementation of an innovative student-operated business

  • Effective inclusion of students with disabilities in the school environment or surrounding community

  • Self-determination and self-advocacy skills of students with disabilities

  • Reading skills of students with disabilities

  • Math skills of students with disabilities

  • Parental participation at the school level


  • Grant recipient must be a current member of CEC

  • Grant recipient must be currently employed as a classroom teacher of students with disabilities in a North Carolina public or public charter school

  • Grant recipient must agree to attend the 2024 NC CASE Fall Conference (9/29 – 10/2/24) and prepare/present a short presentation for the conference attendees. Recipient can attend the entire conference or just the designated presentation date.  Recipient can also prepare a virtual presentation that would be presented to NCCASE Conference Participants if the grant recipient is unable to attend the conference. 

  • All proposals must​ ​be emailed to the designated address by April 2, 2024. Proposals submitted after April 2, 2004 will be declared ineligible​.

  • No supplementary materials should be attached to the grant proposal.

  • Grant proposals must be completed using a type of no less than 12-point font and standard-sized paper.


  • Grant proposals will be judged by a three-person panel of professionals chosen by the NC CASE Executive Board. The judging will be conducted in a blind format. An impartial representative of the NC CASE will remove the applicant information sheet prior to grant review.

  • When writing grant proposals, ​DO NOT​ make reference to a specific school system or any specific school by name.

  • The winner will be notified by ​April 26, 2024. All winners will be announced to the public at the NC CASE Annual Fall Conference in October, 2024.

Selection Criteria:

To be considered for the NC CASE Innovation in Teaching grant, proposed projects must:

  • Reflect best practices in research-based initiatives in the field of special education.

  • Indirectly or directly result in positive benefits to students with disabilities.

  • Use the grant funding to supplement other funding sources to the greatest extent possible.

  • Feature measurable results that can be evaluated upon completion of proposed project.

North Carolina Council of Administrators of Special Education Melinda Jacobs Innovation in Teaching Grant

Applicant Information: 

Name of Applicant: ______________________________________________________________

Email: ________________________________________________________________________

Position: ______________________________________________________________________

Project Title: ___________________________________________________________________

School District: ​ _________________________________________________________________ 

School: ​_______________________________________________________________________ 

School Address: ________________________________________________________________


School Phone #: ​ ________________________________________________________________ 

Principal: ______________________________________________________________________

Email: ________________________________________________________________________

Superintendent: ________________________________________________________________

Email: ________________________________________________________________________ 

Applicant Signature: ​_____________________________________________________________​ 

Date: _________________________________________________________________________

Applications should be emailed to: 

Teresa Owens

*Please note NC CASE Innovation in Teaching Grant in the subject line.

**You will receive an email confirmation. If you do not receive an email confirmation within five business days, please contact Teresa Owens to confirm your submission was received. 



Melinda Jacobs Innovation in Teaching Grant

Project Overview 

The applicant should attach the following information:

  • Title of the Project

  • Goal(s) of the project​ (Please refer to the goals referenced under the ​Focus of the Grant ​section) 

  • Number of students​ who will benefit 

  • Population to be served, including school system demographics, disability areas, grade levels​ (100 words or less)

  • Summary of project​ (250 words or less) 

  • Justification​ (Please indicate how this project will address student/school system needs and provide ongoing benefits) – (100 words or less)

  • Implementation ​(Please describe your plans for implementation of this project and timelines for implementation activities) – (500 words or less): 

  • Sustainability​ (Please indicate how this project will be continued after the grant period has ended) – 200 words or less: 

  • Evaluation​ (Please indicate how this project will be evaluated) – 200 words or less Budget: Amount Requested 

  • Please indicate other funding sources/amounts that will assist in supporting this project. 


One thousand dollars was awarded to special education teacher Greg Desern for his "iPads for Independence" project at T.W. Andrews High School in Guilford County Schools.  Mr. Desern teaches students in a separate adapted curriculum classroom. Andrews High School is a Title I school where over 60% of students are considered economically disadvantaged. The adapted curriculum classroom focuses on job skills that will advance students to be employable members of the community.

Project Summary: We have a thriving class-operated coffee shop that has now been open for 4 years. Students practice a variety of skills like customer service and making change each morning when they work. The goal of the coffee shop is to introduce job skills in a real life setting to help student generalize the skills they are learning in the classroom. We are requesting $1000 to be used to purchase two iPads Minis and durable cases to protect them. Each iPad Mini costs $400 and a durable case is priced around $50. Estimated taxes and fees for these items is $60-$100. On these iPads we will download a free app called Task Analysis developed by the Clemson Life program. With the use of the iPads and app students will work to increase their independence with job skills like making change, restocking items, and cleaning areas. Teachers will support the students in learning the use of the app and the tasks. With repeated use and practice the students will decrease the number of prompts needed from the teacher to complete tasks and eventually be able to do so with only the help of the task analysis. The use of the task analysis will also be phased out as students master the tasks. This project will expand the existing school-based enterprise in an innovative way due to the use of technology that will provide students with continued opportunities to operate the coffee shop independently in new and more involved ways.

NCCASE encourages special education teachers to apply for the next grant which will be awarded in the spring of 2023..

2021 Melinda Jacobs Innovation in Teaching Grant

bottom of page