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.”

May 30

More than $15,000 raised by annual dinner gala

DSCN0535More 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.

2016 Gala thank you2

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.


May 29

Highlights from the 2016 Gala

Thank you to all the auction item donors and all the attendees who made this year’s dinner gala fundraiser a success!

Mar 17

Buy Your Tickets for the 2016 South Whidbey Schools Foundation Dinner Gala

It’s  time to make your reservations to attend SWSF’s fabulous Gala Dinner and Fundraiser on Saturday, May 21 at Useless Bay Golf & Country Club to support classroom education grants.

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.



Mar 13

Adopt-A-Grant Program Attracts New Sponsors

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.

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!

SWSF Adopt A Grant Banner1

In the photo above: South Whidbey Schools Foundation Board members: (l) Sophia Stoughton, Tom Walker, John Riley, Linda Racicot, Bob Wiley, Chris Gibson, David Pfeiffer, Kay Wiley, Susie Richards, and Jean Shaw promote the Foundation’s new Adopt-A-Grant program.

Dec 10

Adopt-A-Grant for enhanced education


Are you someone who would like to have a direct effect on student education in our South Whidbey community?

Do you have a particular academic or artistic area of interest that is so near and dear to you that you would like to help foster it in our schools? If so, then the Foundation’s “Adopt-A-Grant program” will be of interest to you.

Each year the Foundation receives dozens of requests from teachers for innovative projects, programs, or equipment in order to enrich their students’ education. Our Board works hard to raise money to fund these grant requests, but we don’t always raise enough.

That’s where you come in.

We’re looking for sponsors – community patrons, really – to fund a particular grant proposal of special interest to them.

We’ve included synopses of all the grants approved for funding for the 2015/16 school year. If you find a particular request that speaks to you, please contact our Adopt-A-Grant coordinator and Board member, Bob Wiley, or Board President Chris Gibson at the contact information provided below.

Please note, you can adopt a grant already funded by the Foundation.  Doing so simply frees up the previously earmarked Foundation funds to be used for another underfunded grant.

“Why not just make a general donation?” you might ask. Well, you certainly could, but we are trying to build relationships through this program. For instance, the teacher who requested the grant will contact you personally (if mutually agreeable) when you fund their classroom project to let you know how your donation is directly enhancing the learning experience of her or his students.

As you make your  charitable gifts, please consider our Adopt-A-Grant program.

Bob WileyBob Wiley
email at wileygolfbums@whidbey.com
(360) 321-2326



SWSF5Chris Gibson
email at: GibsonC@nwattorney.net
Phone: (360) 221-8099



Nov 04

Nearly $30,000 in Classroom Grants Awarded by SW Schools Foundation


SWSF_Nov_1South Whidbey Schools Foundation awarded nearly $30,000 – a new record for the nonprofit organization – to fund 26 classroom projects for the 2015/16 school year.

The projects include robotic kits for second-graders to learn engineering and programming using Legos, an aquaponics and an aeroponics chamber, growing salmon in the classroom, a sound recording studio, exploring watershed science, and atomic modeling at the high school. Of the $29,780 awarded, $17,800 was for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects.

Retired educator and SWSF Board Member Jean Shaw went to all four schools November 2, presenting teachers with funding letters and balloons, frequently receiving hugs from the educators and applause from students.

The Schools Foundation raises money through an annual Spring Gala, the local Dine-Out Wednesdays for SW Schools program, a March talent show, and an annual appeal drive.  All these efforts, however, were not enough to cover the $42,922 in requests that it received this year.

“We had to make some difficult choices,” said SWSF Board President Chris Gibson, “but we did our best to fund or partially fund 22 projects right away and have committed to funding four more early in 2016 after our annual fund drive. We’re also looking to develop an “Adopt-a-Grant” program and just had our first donors step up to fully fund a project which we could only partially fund,” he said.

Since its inception in 1994, the Schools Foundation has funded more than $225,000 in teacher-requested projects and materials to enhance educational excellence, projects which the school district is unable to fund due to tight budgets.

A full listing of classroom grants is available on the Foundation’s grants page at http://southwhidbeyschoolsfoundation.org/educational-grants/



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