GrassRoots: Helping Young Minds to Grow

By: Erika Lavers, SNN Reporter
Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, NF

GrassRoots is a national program of Industry Canada's SchoolNet that funds K-12 schools for the creation of innovative and interactive learning projects on the Internet. There is no staff for the GrassRoots program. Rosalie Corrigan, who is provincial GrassRoots Coordinator worked 3 jobs to get the funding for the GrassRoots projects. The idea of GrassRoots is to develop original projects and share them over the internet and pay the school for the online resources developed by the students. These projects can earn your school from $300, $600 to $900 for individual projects and up to $5500 for some Block projects. The Federal government provides all the funding for GrassRoots projects.

View a clip of provincial GrassRoots Coordinator, Rosalie Corrigan's presentation.

GrassRoots projects are initiated, designed and produced by the teacher and students. They are related to courses taught in school and focus on learning activities carried out using the Internet. Students find online resources and carry out activities to bring this together that result in a final report or product that is put online. GrassRoots projects take place over a significant period of time, the minimum being four weeks.

GrassRoots projects are important because it promotes the development of information and communication technology (ICT) in the classroom. Children become active participants in the learning process thus creating a larger incentive to learn. GrassRoots places a value on publicity and the sharing of resources and it also integrates curriculum objectives and learning outcomes into fun projects.

These are the Funding Categories of GrassRoots projects:

  • Activity Projects – (Category A) $300 web page minimum.
  • Networking Project – (Category B) $600 Involve more than one class, web site minimum.
  • Resource Creation Projects – (Category C) $900 Are more comprehensive in design and use technology (new and old) in unique or innovative ways, web site minimum.
  • Block 1 and Block 2 – provide theme projects.

How to Apply for GrassRoots Funding:

Easy to use, online proposal forms can be found on the GrassRoots website. Your proposal will be evaluated and you will be notified within a week. Go to to access this online proposal form and information on GrassRoots.

There are about 962 projects in the database right now waiting to be approved, because almost all schools apply for GrassRoots projects in April instead of applying throughout the year.

You get the funding from the GrassRoots projects when you have completed the website address (URL), you have a project report and a School Invoice - the invoice has to be an original copy and must be on a school letterhead.

Quick tips for GrassRoots projects is to apply for GrassRoots projects in September when the coordinators have the time to do the project and the funding. A second tip is that producing 3 $300 projects is much easier than producing one $900 project. A third tip is to write down the ID number of your GrassRoots project, so that if you don't hear from the committee then you can call and ask what happened to your project.

For about four months after January, there are GrassRoots representatives in each district that will help teach teachers about GrassRoots and how it works. GrassRoots projects must be finished by the end of the school year.

Bill Jameson believes that GrassRoots is growing at an extraordinary rate and he also says that he expected GrassRoots to get as big as it is and bigger, it was just a matter of time. Bill says, " I believe GrassRoots can restructure the way teachers teach and students learn."