Follow along as Jean Shaw and Jim Freeman present South Whidbey School District teachers with 2016 classroom grants.
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.
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.
Nine 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.
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.
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 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.”
More than $15,000 for classroom grants was raised at this year’s South Whidbey Schools Foundation annual dinner and auction gala held May 21. According to Foundation Treasurer John Riley, it was one of the most profitable fundraisers in the nonprofit’s 20-year history, over which time it has provided more than $225,000 to fund teacher-requested classroom grants.
Attendees were escorted into the event by “Leader in Me” vested students from Caryn Ploof’s fourth and fifth-grade class, where they enjoyed performances by the Langley Middle School Jazz Band, poolside demonstrations by the South Whidbey Academy Underwater Robotics Club, and inspiring talks by teachers Bruce Callahan (5th grade) and Greg Ballog (high school science) and parting remarks by graduating senior Sophia Stoughton, who has been the student representative to the Foundation for the past two years.
There were also displays of Foundation funded projects, a thank-you to restaurants that participated in the “Dine Out Wednesdays for Schools” program, and another encouraging revitalization of the high school drama program.
Island County Commissioner Helen Price-Johnson (Dem), was in attendance and commented how grateful she is for the work the Foundation does to support teachers and build a strong community. George Henny, Co-CEO of Whidbey Telecom, and his wife Tonya were also in attendance. Henny spoke about what an honor it was for Whidbey Telecom to adopt the “Leader in Me” project under the Foundation’s “Adopt-a-Grant” program, and praised the Foundation for helping to build meaningful collaborative relationships between community and schools.
Jim Freeman, South Whidbey’s “Conductor of Fun” kept the crowd in stitches while deftly extracting bids exceeding face value for just about every one of the 18 live auction items, which included overnight stays around Puget Sound, Mariner’s tickets, a signed Felix Hernandez jersey, and a Georgia Gerber otter sculpture. District Superintendent Jo Moccia hosted the final event of the evening, a new game which gave participants a chance to win one of seven prizes, including the top prize of $1,000 in cash, by purchasing cards from a poker deck for $50 each. Following SWHS PTSA President Shelly Ackerman’s lead from the past two years, this year’s $1,000 winner, Kay Wiley, donated her winnings back to the Foundation.
Foundation President Chris Gibson ended the evening by thanking all those who participated, and in particular Gala sponsors – Heritage/Whidbey Island Bank & Lead4ward; wine donors – Comfort Wines & Clinton Foodmart, and all who donated auction items.
The South Whidbey Schools Foundation is a non-profit 501c3 organization dedicated to supporting innovation and excellence in the South Whidbey schools. Information about the various ways to support the Foundation, including a list of current projects available for adoption, can be found at the Foundation’s website: SWSFoundation.org.
Thank you to all the auction item donors and all the attendees who made this year’s dinner gala fundraiser a success!
There will be live music from the LMS Jazz Band, a wine bar, a before-dinner silent auction, reports from Greg Ballog and Bruce Callahan, who received classroom grants last year, an after-dinner live auction hosted by popular local host Jim Freeman, and a brand new after-dinner game.
This event is for everyone who supports our local schools and wishes to help fund innovative, teacher-funded classroom grants that promote educational excellence.
Let us know if your business or group would like to sponsor a table this year.
South Whidbey Schools Foundation’s new “Adopt-A-Grant” program got off to a good start in 2016 with six sponsors of classroom grants totaling more than $5,000.
The program connects community sponsors who are passionate about a specific area of education with a teacher-requested classroom project in that area.
SHOUT-OUTS OF GRATITUDE TO…
Whidbey Telecom for the 4th and 5th grade “Can You See a Leader in Me?” program;
Dan and Ellen Sargent for MakerSpace STEM kits for kindergarten through 5th grade to explore engineering and design;
Kathleen and Jeff Landel in honor of Dick and Bobbie Lagerstrom for funding “Learning with LEGOs: an Introduction to Engineering, Programming and Robotics” for second-graders;
Jim and Vicki Theel for “Redesigning Professionalism: Constructing Education From the Inside Out” for South Whidbey High School teachers;
Phil and Karla Boshaw for sponsoring “A Splash of Red: Book-It Repertory Field Trip Workshops” for kindergarten through fifth-grade; and
Dave and Barbara Bennett for sponsoring Langley Middle School Band Clinician Tutorials, a program in which local musicians work with 6th to 8th grade band students.
If you’d like to sponor a classroom grant, please contact Chris Gibson or Bob Wiley. Contact info and details can be viewed at www.SWSFoundation.org under the Adopt a Grant menu tab. Thank you for enhancing the education of South Whidbey students!