Grants In Place

Innovation and Impact

Awarding exceptional rural educators community grants to carry out place-based projects.

Since 2015 the Rural Schools Collaborative and its Grants in Place partners have awarded over $500,000 in place-based education grants to innovative rural teacher leaders.

Rural Schools Collaborative's Grants in Place program consists of two primary components: RSC's Grants in Place Fellows program, which was reorganized in 2019, and the National Signature Project Award in collaboration with the National Rural Education Association. The Fellows program is limited to teachers who teach in public schools that are located in the geographic regions of RSC's Regional Hubs, and the National Signature Project Award is open to any rural public school teacher in the United States of America.

Grants in Place Fellows (Fall)

The Grants in Place Fellows program is offered in conjunction with our Regional Hub partners. The Fellows Program awards innovative rural teachers within each of RSC’s Regional Hub areas, each year, to carry out a place-based education project. Grants are awarded to projects that will take place in the current school year.

Eligibility for this grant is extended to rural classroom teachers in school districts that are located in Rural Schools Collaborative's Regional Hub areas.

We invite you to explore the archive of Grants in Place projects:

Grants in Place: National Signature Project Award (Spring)

The National Rural Education Association and Rural Schools Collaborative are proud partners of the National Signature Project Award, open to any rural classroom teacher in the United States.

Three classroom grants are awarded to outstanding and innovative classroom projects that exemplifies the very best in place-based education. The Signature Award is $2,500, and two runner-ups at $1,500. The National Signature Project Award accepts applications in the spring.


Rural Schools Collaborative and National Rural Education Association also offer recipients’ travel and registration fees for attendance to the annual National Forum to Advance Rural Education.

We invite you to explore the archive of Grants in Place projects:


History of Grants in Place

The Grants in Place Program was first announced by Rural Schools Collaborative in April of 2015. The program’s mission is to award classroom grants to rural teachers interested in carrying out an innovative place-based education project with their students and communities. Place-based education is an essential approach for rural classrooms, as the model purposefully connects learning and communities to increase student engagement, academic outcomes, and community impact. The Grants in Place program awards rural teachers across the country who are practicing place-based education in their classrooms.

Since 2015 the Rural Schools Collaborative and its Grants in Place partners have awarded over $500,000 in place-based education grants to innovative rural teacher leaders. Learn more about the history of the Grants in Place Program.

Celebration of Learning

Check out the stories from this annual, virtual event that bookends the Grants in Place Fellows! These final presentations celebrate the teacher-leaders after completing their place based education projects during the school year, and offer a chance for our Regional Hub Partners, school leaders, and the broader community to get inspired and learn from one another.

We invite you to explore the archive of Celebration of Learning event:

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When can I apply?

  • The Fellows application is open annually from mid-August to mid-September. The National Signature Project Award accepts applications annually from March through April.

2. Am I Eligible to apply?

  • The Fellows program is open to any rural educators within our Regional Hubs. The National Signature Project Award is open to any rural educators in the US. Both programs require applicants to be located in the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES) classification codes 31, 32, 33, 41, 42 or 43. Confirm your school's eligibility by visiting NCES's interactive map.

3. What is place-based education?

  • Our partners at Teton Science School describe place-based education best: "Place-based education is an approach that connects learners and communities to increase student engagement, boost learning outcomes, impact communities and promote understanding of the world around us." We invite you to check out past Fellow projects for inspiration.

4. When will applicants be notified of a final award decision?

  • The respective grant selection committees meet once the grant applications close. The Fellows cohort is announced each December, and the National Signature Project Award recipients are announced annually, in May.

In Partnership with NREA

Meet Our 2023-24 National Signature Project Award Recipients

Rural Schools Collaborative and the National Rural Education Association are proud to announce Kim McCully-Mobley of Aurora, Missouri, as the 2023-24 National Signature Project Award recipient for her place-based project, "All Roads Lead Home Veterans Honor Garden."



RSC and NREA are also proud to announced our runner-ups for the 2023-24 National Signature Project Award! Our NSPA runner-ups are Will Miller, of Charlemont, Massachusetts, and Carrie Guillaume, of Leopold, Indiana. Will Miller will be leading his place-based education project, "Developing a Sustainable Maple Syrup Production System" and Carrie's awarded project is, "Feeding our Community."

Learn More About Their Projects