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Lighting the Fire

Our Programs


Alabama Teacher of the Year

Since 2001, the JEFCOED Foundation has managed the district level competition for this, the nation’s oldest teacher recognition program. Over the years, JEFCOED teachers have been named Alabama Teacher of the Year at the Elementary or Secondary level seven times. In 2003, Dr. Betsy Rogers was named National Teacher of the Year and represented the Jefferson County School District the world over as she spoke to educators throughout that year and modeled outstanding teacher leadership.


Career Pathway Initiatives

The challenge for our 13 JEFCOED high schools to produce graduates who are fully prepared for their next steps toward a meaningful, sustainable and successful career has never been greater than today. Whether that means “prepared” to attend a two or four-year college, technical or trade/skills training programs or entry level application to a job directly after high school, the JEFCOED Foundation supports and helps to expand opportunities for all post-grad students to succeed.


Central Alabama Children’s Fund

Limitations on public education funds sometime restricts schools from being able to meet personal needs of students who experience unexpected hard times. The Foundation partners with the United Way of Central Alabama to establish a fund for these situations and works through district supervisors to identify and help meet the needs. Whether left homeless by a house fire or changing family dynamics, we offer students assistance as they adjust to the changes.


Coupons for Classrooms Campaign

The Foundation coordinates one district-wide fundraiser annually for all 57 JEFCOED schools – the Coupons for Classrooms Campaign. These early Spring campaigns have netted our schools over $1.5 Million in the past two decades and also provides budget for the Foundation’s Teacher Classroom Grants Program. In addition to hundreds of savings coupons from Birmingham merchants, there is a section of offers from national merchants that can be used all over the country. Each book also has a personal code to download on your cell phone that enables you to search for coupon discounts in any one of 235 other cities. A student seller prize program keeps the campaigns lively and competitive.


Educator Grants Program

The flagship program of our Foundation, classroom grants were first offered to teachers in 1992. Since then, over $1 Million in $500 and $1,000 grants have funded projects that allowed teachers to expand the boundaries of their classrooms and bring lessons alive for their students. Almost 2,000 grants have been issued to enhance and add to the basics of core curriculum lessons. The program continues to open new doors for teachers in connecting with the changing ways that students learn.


Healthy Learners Fund

Medical research tells us that student who are hungry do not retain knowledge at a level that will sustain a normal learning experience. While families can apply for free or reduced priced meals for students, lunch accounts still sometimes go unpaid because of unexpected financial circumstances. Donations from area businesses and individuals maintain this fund for unpaid accounts so that students can enjoy healthy meals and be fully prepared for learning.


Lead Teacher Mentor Program

To place a high quality teacher in every classroom has been the number one goal of JEFCOED’s new teacher mentorships since the Foundation-supported program began in 2006. Designed to support educators in years 1-3 of their practice, the program assigns a highly skilled mentor for each teacher and offers stipends to mentors for the shared professional development. Lower attrition rates, relationship-building, and sharing of teaching strategies are consistent outcomes of the Mentor Program.


McDollars for Teachers

The Foundation manages a fund that was established by a generous donor for the purpose of helping new teachers in their first classroom assignment to help make their rooms inviting, functional and safe for their first students. The program offers a $500 grant to first year teachers in qualifying schools in Jefferson, Shelby, Calhoun and Etowah Counties and is distributed through an application process every summer. The late Max Cooper of McDonald’s CLP established the fund in memory of his wife, a kindergarten teacher her entire career.


Regions Leadership Academy

We believe the key to dynamic, successful schools is leadership. This partnership provides a five-tiered approach to build leaders at all levels of experience in our schools. Using many best practices from the business community, along with exposure to nearby districts exhibiting those practices successfully, emerging and veteran leaders address management skills, personal traits for leaders, instructional guidance and a plan to manage a culture of change and to utilize valuable community resources.


Science Olympiad Teams

The inherent curiosity of students is channeled into avenues for creativity, design and experimentation that result in learning experiences for members of the 51 JEFCOED Science Olympiad Teams throughout our district. The Foundation recognizes the achievements of these teams by providing awards for the competitions and helping to link area business support with the needs of the program. In addition to the SO teams, five schools host Destination Imagination Teams and prepare them for competitions.


Second Mile Teacher

Each school year, some faculty member stands out among their peers for a specific achievement, recognition or accomplishment that impacts student learning and enhances the climate and culture of that school. In May, as the school year winds down, the Foundation asks each school to identify that one teacher to be celebrated as one who “went the Second Mile for students”. A special recognition event is hosted for the school nominees.


Stellar Teaching Program

JEFCOED Foundation supports candidates for National Board Certification with fee and mentor support and forms affinity groups for renewal candidates. Since 1999, 255 educators have become National Board Certified Teachers while teaching in a Jefferson County District classroom. The current group of 147 active NBCTs in JEFCOED classrooms and administrative positions continues to rank as the largest of any Alabama district.