Humboldt Education Foundation (HEF) awarded the third round of classroom grants to teachers and students in the Humboldt Unified School District (HUSD). Covid restrictions caused quarter one grants to be postponed but this year HEF awarded 22 teacher grants for a total of $15,260 for the 2020-2021 school year.
Newly elected HEF President Guy Roginson shared, “These are exciting times as we slowly emerge from this pandemic and get back to the important work of educating our kids and striving to get our school schedules back to normal. Doing so takes people. The teacher grants provided by the Humboldt Education Foundation represent a big thank you to all teachers who have been working this past year under extraordinary circumstances. Of course, it is also important to say thank you to school district administration and support staff that help make the teachers’ work possible. The Humboldt Education Foundation would also like to thank our sponsors, donors and tireless volunteers who make our important work of supporting our teachers and students possible. Let’s continue to work together in 2021, emerging from this recent experience with gratitude, service and collaboration.”
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 $15,000 was committed to fund grants for the 2020-2021 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 $10,215. If all 13 grants could be funded a total of 2,993 students would benefit. The $5,700 awarded this quarter to eight winners, will positively impact learning for 2,746 students. The breakdown is as follow:
• Julie Miller, Lake Valley Elementary P.E. teacher was awarded $1,000 to replace or add new soccer balls, basketballs, mats and other old equipment with more new items to encourage physical activity.
• Katrina Kadah from Lake Valley Elementary was awarded funds to order math manipulative such as fractions kits, place value disks and base ten blocks for the whole school.
• Amy Bowser, Lake Valley 4th grade teacher was awarded $916 to purchase science kits including fossil bricks and clean water science kits for use by all 4th grade students.
• Jennifer Torp, 1st grade teacher from Coyote Springs asked for $100 to purchase center time activities to help her students understand math problems.
• Dustin Shideler, P.E. Teacher at Coyote Springs Elementary was awarded $600 to purchase new equipment to help his student stay active during Covid. This will also alleviate students from having to share equipment.
• Kristin Ott, Occupational Therapist at Coyote Springs was awarded $600 to purchase playground equipment to help her students learn fine motor skills while on recess.
• Sandra Clark, computer science teacher at Bradshaw Mountain High School, was awarded $834 to purchase software that teaches her students financial literacy such as banking and budgeting to use in their future.
• Lynette Buskirk from Mountain View Elementary was awarded $650 to purchase items to help her kindergarten class become proficient writers. She will purchase student journals, easels, chart paper and markers for her students.
The committee follows up throughout the quarter with teachers to monitor progress and teachers are happy to provide pictures of their purchases in action.
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”.
HEF teacher grants are made possible solely by donations and sponsorships for the Teacher of the Year banquet. 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 students and teachers at the annual Teacher of the Year event. This year’s banquet is tentatively scheduled for May 4th. 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.