FRISCO (CBSDFW.COM) – Through the annual program “Grants for Great Ideas,” a North Texas school district is rewarding educators for their passion.

At Nelson Middle School in Frisco, librarian Gaya Kumar was surprised with a grant for over $3,500.

“It’s very exciting because this kind of money, to have in the library… when you have so any budget cuts… means a lot,”  said Kumar.

Frisco educators were asked to submit an idea for equipment or projects for their students – something that the district doesn’t fund.

The Frisco Education Foundation chooses the winning applications.

“This year, we’re awarding over 40 teachers over 40 grants to 33 campuses for a little over $107,000,” said Frisco Education Foundation Director Allison Miller.

Volunteers, civic groups and community leaders raised money through fundraisers and grants.

“We have seen an uptick in the applications and the need here throughout the district. We now have over 57,000 students and over 7,000 employees, so that growth is both our greatest inspiration and our largest challenge,” said Miller.

Students at Scoggins Middle School cheered on eighth-grade science teacher Nancy Gardner as she received her grant.

Gardners said she would use the funds to continue “Steam Night,” which is where students showcase projects in science, technology, engineering, the arts and math.

“This money provides opportunities for students and stuff I can’t do. That’s one of the biggest things for teachers. I want to provide opportunities for my students,” said Gardner.

This is the Frisco Education Foundations’s eighteenth year. It has awarded over $657,000 in teacher grants.