Highline Schools Foundation Awards Record Amount of Classroom Grants

The Highline Schools Foundation recently awarded $41,539 through 78 classroom grants at 35 different schools in the Highline School District. 142 grant requests were received – “a sizeable increase from 2011,” according to Foundation Trustee Scott Gifford.  Thanks to the generosity of this year’s Oktoberfest Auction attendees, and the success of the Burien Brat Trot, the Foundation was able to increase their grant awards by more than $10,000 in 2012—thereby funding 78 of these grants (more than half of the requests) in the District.

Prize Patrol SignThese grants were given out via the Foundation’s “Prize Patrol”—surprise visits by Foundation Trustees to staff meetings, classrooms and assemblies during which the checks are presented to excited and deserving district staff. Photos can be found on our Facebook page.

Nanci Tangeman, a co-founder of MAD Grants shared her thoughts: “Teachers jump up and down. Counselors and librarians get choked up. That’s when we really feel the dedication and enthusiasm behind the ideas on those applications. Later in the year, when the stories start coming in about how the grants were put to use – that’s when we see how a little bit of money put in the right hands can make a big difference.”

The Foundation’s Excel Grant program was created to support classroom innovation in our district, and to provide teachers resources they need to help our students be successful! An Excel Grant is an award of up to $1,000 for a specific project. The Foundation applauds each teacher’s dedication to providing the best possible education for our students. The Grant Review Committee (comprised of Foundation Trustees) had the challenging task of selecting the most worthwhile and innovative projects, while also spreading the grant awards district-wide.

MAD Grants come from Chris Blumenthal, a graduate of Grant High School in Portland, OR (1981) and Nanci Tangeman, a graduate of Mt. Rainier High School in Des Moines, WA (1979). They started MAD Grants in 2002 after Chris heard a radio story about a couple in Boston who had started a grant program for teachers in their school district as a way to give back to their community. They donate to the Foundation every year to fund a number of projects.

Some of this year’s grants recipients:

Project: Help the Visual and Kinesthetic Learners!

Bow Lake Elementary: Susan Bjelke & Foundation Trustee Erin Ambrozic

Susan Bjelke, Music Specialist at Bow Lake Elementary pictured with Erin Ambrozic, Foundation Trustee

“I am proud to be a music teacher at Bow Lake Elementary school in SeaTac.  This year, our district adopted a wonderful new music curriculum. The students and I are thrilled with this engaging program however, due to the high cost of the curriculum and budget constraints, the district was not able to purchase the accompanying charts/visuals, music examples, and children’s books.” ~ Susan Bjelke

Project: Go to the mat for these kids

Pacific Middle School - Philip Wallen

Philip Wallen, Fitness Teacher at Pacific Middle School pictured with Lisa Tuman, Foundation Trustee

“I would like to update the mats used at Pacific. Many of the activities we do during fitness class require the use of mats and the ones we have are probably over twenty years old with tears and the foam is coming out. They are used during fitness testing pre- and post-test, for relays, during work out days twice a week, and during yoga.  They will be used for years to come in fitness.” ~ Philip Wallen

While the Foundation makes a concerted effort to give to as many schools as possible who have applied for grants, sometimes restricted monies or extraordinary grant requests make this impossible. The Foundation takes its grant process very seriously and spends a great deal of time and energy on making funding decisions in order to benefit our students and further the Foundation’s goals. We thank all applicants for their initiativeand we hope to fund even more grants in 2013!

A complete list of all the funded grants can be found HERE.

Since 1999, the Highline Schools Foundation has been supporting innovation and excellence in Highline Public Schools. Our funding priorities focus on programs to improve academic achievement, supporting college and career readiness, grants to teachers for engaging classroom projects, the arts, athletics, and programs that keep students in school and productive. Highline is a district full of need and opportunity. The Highline Schools Foundation is the only non-profit organization dedicated to all schools in our district—our goal is to help as many students as possible be successful!

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