Humboldt Education Foundation (HEF) just awarded the second round of classroom grants to teachers and students in the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD). Due to a high number of literacy-based grant applications submitted in the first quarter the HEF grant committee decided the second quarter would have a literacy focus. Aimee Fleming, Principal of Lake Valley Elementary and HEF board member, said, “The committee had a variety of ways to do this through technology, such a Kindles, literature sets, leveled readers, and tying literacy through writing.”
The grant application requires a description of the project needing funding and the number of students that it would benefit. The grant opportunity helps further the mission of HEF, which is to provide community support for excellence in education and contribute to the educational experiences that impact the lives of students. The funds are proceeds from the annual Teacher of the Year event and generous sponsors. A total of $6000 was committed to fund grants in the first three quarters of the 2019-2020 school year.
According to Fleming, “The decision still remains difficult on which grants to fund as each decision affects students in a different capacity. Teachers are all focused on good intentions and trying to determine how to make a decision that affects teachers, students and learning, is always a difficult one.” This round a total of 13 grants were received by the committee, requesting a total of over $6,800. If all could be funded a total of 900 students would benefit. The $2000 awarded this year to five winners, will positively impact learning for 460 students. The breakdown is as follow:
- Kelly VanKirk, Lake Valley Elementary 6th grade ELA teacher was awarded a class literature set to “Bond Over Books.” The book is a Restart a story about a bully who wants to change. This lit set not only is a great focus for reading, but a character-building opportunity.
- Diane Hamilton, a middle school teacher at Bradshaw Mountain will be purchasing six Kindles and increasing eBooks to offer.
- Marissa Busk, from Lake Valley Elementary was awarded funds for “I Survived” Literature study set for her 4th grade students to help tie reading and science standards together.
- Lani Hammond, a Title One teacher at Coyote Springs Elementary will acquire various books through Scholastics to have students in their Title One program pick a book of their choice and take home to practice reading at their interest and ability level.
- Tracey Scheffert, a 1st grade teacher from Granville Elementary School will purchase writing materials to help students become more fluent writers and published writers.
The committee follows up throughout the quarter with teachers to monitor progress. From the first round, Amy Van Winkle was awarded a grant for her guitar program. During the end of the semester performance in December, she chose three exemplary students to receive a guitar of their own. The students were shocked to receive these guitars. The grant also helped supply Ms. Van Winkle with additional parts and accessories for her guitar ensemble. She really stretched her dollars!
Applicants who were not selected will use other avenues for funding such as Donors Choose, various grant programs or self-fund by teachers which, Fleming says, “it’s very normal and sad to say happens, or worse yet commonly students will go without because funds are just not available”.
The next HEF grant call will go out in March and be announced when students return after spring break. HEF is always looking for donations to help fund more grants each quarter. For more information, go to www.humboldteducationfoundation.org and donate on the front page or go to the Teacher of the Year tab and become a sponsor.
The Teacher of the Year Event is so important to the HUSD for many reasons; it gives students the ability to express their appreciation for teachers, it raises funds for student scholarships; and thanks to sponsors money raised is used throughout the year for classroom grants.
In addition to quarterly grants, HEF recognizes student and teachers at the annual Teacher of the Year event scheduled for March 24, 2020. Other Foundation projects include; the Carm Staker Scholarship Award for graduating BMHS seniors, a Student Orchestra Project and the Hungry Kids Project (HKP). The HKP project serves the children of HUSD by providing weekend meals bags every Friday. District staff refer students for the program. It provides food for those who may not have access to adequate weekend meals. Over 180 students receive food on weekends, during the school year.
The Humboldt Education Foundation is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization and an approved State of Arizona Qualifying Charitable Organization for the Arizona Tax Credit program.
For more information, contact James Clemens at 928.499.2288