Jan 27

Salmon in the Classroom Project is adopted by HHR&GC

Thanks to Holmes Harbor Rod & Gun Club for adopting the “Salmon in the Classroom” project at the SW Elementary School.

Steve Mooney of the HHR&GC presented 5th grade teacher John LaVassar with a $1,200 check while fellow teacher Bruce Callahan, student classroom salmon ambassador Macie Vandewerfhorst, and SWSF Board members Chris Gibson, Bob Wiley and Jean Shaw looked on.

This is the third classroom grant adopted by local clubs, businesses and individuals. Salmon in the classroom is a school-wide (K-5) project where students from all grade levels share in raising salmon at the elementary school. K-5 students will observe and record the amazing transformation of the developing salmon from egg, to alevin, to fry.

The goal of the project is to increase student awareness of how salmon are an indicator species of watershed health and how students can positively impact their local ecosystem by becoming stewards of their environment.

If you are interested in adopting a classroom grant, please contact either Chris Gibson or Bob Wiley.


Jan 18

Teaching compassion, leadership, organization, and perseverance

Several teacher-requested classroom grant proposals involve amounts less than $500, yet result in amazing gains for students. Such was the case of a classroom afghan project last year by Pamela Muncey’s fifth-grade class. Here is a description of the project which the Foundation funded for $150 in her own words:

“This was a wonderful and successful project for my classroom. Every child participated in dying the yarn, rolling it into balls (Yikes! Many tangles!), knitting (even if it was only a few inches…), selling the raffle tickets, and most importantly, choosing the charity to send our money to.

We raised $310.69 by displaying the finished afghan, and selling raffle tickets at our school’s open house in June. The children were adamant that we send the money to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. One of our classmates was diagnosed last spring with type 1 diabetes, and has had a rough time.The students are very attached to each other as this is a 3 year loop class. The family of the student handled the donation and was very touched. The students in my classroom were very proud of themselves.

This was a long project. It took several months, and an amazing amount of perseverance on their part. It illustrated the students empathy for one another (It took a lot of ‘helpers’), their leadership skills, and their creative problem solving.

I was amazed and proud watching them figure out how to accomplish all this, and to get it done on a timeline.”



Dec 17

Be a Santa to South Whidbey’s students…

Thanks to Mary and Steve Boyd for adopting one of our South Whidbey Classroom grants. The donation will be used to purchase noise-canceling headphones for 26 first graders of teacher Michelle Zisette — which will enable them to focus better on specific tasks.

Would you like to give a gift to our community’s public school students? Donations of all sizes are welcome, and if you wish to adopt a grant, just make a note in the ‘note’ section of the PayPal form.

We currently have three priority classroom grants available for: Mr. Leonard Good: Mad Fun Scientist: Physical science/ Chemistry, Matter and Reactions; Salmon in the Classroom; and LMS Band Tutorials from Professional Musicians. Thank you.

You can donate by clicking on SWSF’s website donation page:



And here’s a video about the Adopt-A-Grant program


Dec 17

Read our 2016 Annual Report/Update online!

Didn’t get a copy of South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s Annual Report/Update? Don’t fret. You can read it online!

2016 SWSF Annual Report – Click on the fullscreen button on the lower right.
Or, click here for the PDF of the 2016 Annual Report.

After you see what the Foundation funds, please consider a year-end tax deductible donation to help fund all the teacher-requested grants we received.

Thank you for caring about innovative projects in our local schools!

Nov 11

2016 Classroom Grant Presentations

Follow along as Jean Shaw and Jim Freeman present South Whidbey School District teachers with 2016 classroom grants.

Nov 10

Schools Foundation Distributes Nearly $20,000 in Classroom Grants to District Teachers


Jean Shaw of the South Whidbey Schools Foundation and local “Conductor of Fun” Jim Freeman paid surprise visits to local classrooms on Nov. 9. With balloons in hand, a top hat, feather boa and crown, they distributed grant letters totaling nearly $20,000 to 11 teachers for 13 classroom project requests. Grant awards ranged from $439 to $3,000.  Each campus received at least one grant award, and some of the projects funded involve all campuses.

The Foundation funded 13 out of the 16 requests received and found a patron to fund one of three unfunded project proposals through its Adopt-A-Grant program. It is seeking patrons to ‘adopt’ the remaining two unfunded project proposals.

“Although the number of grant applications received was down this year, all those we did receive were innovative, well-presented and worthy of funding,” said SWSF Board President Chris Gibson.  “The Foundation’s inability to fund them all in their entirety made for some difficult decisions. We are hopeful through our ongoing fundraising efforts, which include Adopt-a-Grant, Dine-Out Wednesdays and our year-end donation appeal drive that we will be able to provide at least partial funding to them all.”

This year’s grant applications included requests to revive performing arts at the high school; digital cameras for use in the journalism/yearbook program; funding for local musician clinicians to work with members of the Langley Middle School Band; sponsoring a marine studies program at the Elementary School; providing seed money to help broaden the reach of the 8th grade Adventure Education program; purchasing a Sensory Water Table for Life Skills students; and purchasing recorders so students can participate in a collaborative effort with the Saratoga Orchestra engaged in a Carnegie Hall-sponsored music education program titled “The Orchestra Rocks.”

For more information about the South Whidbey Schools Foundation, including a full list of the projects funded this fall and how to make tax-deductible contributions to support the schools, can be found at swsfoundation.org.


Oct 01

Dine Out Wednesdays in October

It’s BACK! October is ‘Dine Out Wednesdays for South Whidbey Schools’. When you dine at participating restaurants, a portion of the day’s proceeds will be donated to the South Whidbey Schools Foundation for innovative teacher-requested classroom grants.

Every Wednesday during October, when you eat at or order take-out from Neil’s Clover Patch Café, Patron Mexican Restaurant, Café Langley, Portico, Spyhop, Gordon’s, Freeland Café, Useless Bay Coffee Company, Charmers Bistro, El Corral Mexican Restaurant, Hong Kong Gardens, plus take-out pizza from the Big W Pizza at Ken’s Korner, or dessert from Sprinklz in Langley, you’ll be helping to support the Foundation’s classroom grants program!

And there’s more… On Friday, October 14, Prima Bistro in Langley is donating a portion of receipts to the Schools Foundation. So make reservations now by calling 360.221.4060. Let them know you are there as part of the Dine Out for SW Schools program.

This is an easy way to help fund innovative, teacher-requested classroom grants to enhance the education of our children. We thank all the participating restaurants for making local educational support a priority.

As Jean Shaw and Jim Freeman explain: it’s a win-win for our local schools and our local restaurants.



Sep 01

Nine Teachers Receive Stipends from Schools Foundation

Stipend presentation3Nine South Whidbey School District teachers were presented with $200 classroom stipends at the September 1 teacher and staff assembly in preparation for the new school year. The recipients are either new to the district, or have been given a new classroom assignment.

“We wanted to welcome and support the new teachers, as well as those in new classroom positions this year,” said South Whidbey Schools Foundation President Chris Gibson. “Many teachers use their own money to help outfit their classrooms, and this was our way of showing them that the Foundation cares.”

Michele Sakaguchi, one of the teachers who received a stipend and is making the transition to teach 8th grade math at Langley Middle School shared that “not only are the funds helpful in purchasing materials and supplies for my new classroom, but it’s also great to feel the support that the stipend represents from the South Whidbey Schools Foundation and our community that supports the Foundation.”

In addition to these “kick off” stipends, the Foundation invites all District teachers to apply for classroom grants through the annual South Whidbey Schools Foundation grant program.  Last year, nearly $30,000 in classroom grants were awarded to 26 local teachers to support creative and innovative learning projects that would not otherwise be within district funding allocations.

Pictured left to right are: Kayla Phillips, Leah Tormey, Michele Sakaguchi, Michele Zisette, Heidi Marshall, Charlies Davies, Jillian Cain, Laura Spear, and Michael Washington. Schools Foundation Board members Linda Racicot and Susie Richards (far right), presented the stipends.

Aug 25

Teachers: Get a Jump and Submit Your 2016/17 Grant Now

The 2016/17 SWSF Classroom Grant Application is now available for consideration. Download the Word document now and start outline a proposal for the Foundation to consider in October.

Grant application 2016-17

Aug 02

Breeze and Davis receive Extra Mile and Mentorship Awards

The South Whidbey Schools Foundation awarded two teachers for their efforts during the 2015-16 school year. Speech language pathologist Becky Breeze, a member of the special education departments at both the elementary and middle schools, and South Whidbey High School math teacher Andy Davis were the recipients of the Extra Mile and Mentorship awards, respectively.

The Extra Mile Award acknowledges and honors current teachers for “having gone the furthest in the service of the South Whidbey education community,” according to a press release. Breeze received the award from School Board Director Linda Racicot at a faculty luncheon June 17.

Becky Breeze

“Becky is committed to providing quality services to each student she serves, teams well with all staff, values every student and recognizes their achievements, [and] is a lifelong learner and shares what she learns,” said Robin Roberts, a colleague of Breeze.

The Mentorship Award acknowledges members of the district faculty “who have had a lasting positive impact on members of this year’s graduating seniors.” Andy Davis was presented with the award by graduating senior Grace Houck at the school’s farewell assembly at the high school June 9.


“I’ve had Mr. Davis the past three semesters and although I am not the best calculus student, I still love that class,” Houck said in a press release. “He makes the classroom fun and he is so funny and nice. He’s really an amazing teacher. I hope to be as good as him someday.”

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