Stillwater News Press

Local News

October 3, 2012

Stillwater school foundation awards fall grants totaling $6,250

STILLWATER, Okla. — In a few weeks, several teachers in Stillwater Public Schools will be using new materials and equipment in their classrooms. In today’s world of severely stretched budgets in public education, SPS teachers are fortunate to have another source to try for additional resources when the district is unable to fund those items. That source is the Stillwater Public Education Foundation (SPEF). On Tuesday, the foundation announced funding for eight grant projects totaling $6,250 at five school sites in the district.  

SPEF is a nonprofit organization in place to support the district and provide educational “extras,” according to the foundation’s Executive Director Jenifer Bartley.

“SPEF was established in 1984 when community members saw a need to do more to financially support the district,” said Bartley. “SPEF is built on the premise that meaningful enrichment programs and innovative instructional materials are not attainable solely through traditional funding sources.”

The foundation raises money through donations and fundraising events, such as the SPEF Gala held last week. Dollars donated to SPEF help fund its grant program, which awards grants to SPS teachers in both the fall and spring semesters.

“Stillwater Public Schools is very fortunate to have a wonderful organization like SPEF that funds teacher grants and supports teachers and students in the classroom,” said Stillwater Middle School Principal Cathy Walker.

The number and dollar amount of grants allocated each semester varies, according to Bartley.  

“On average, we receive anywhere from 10 to 20 applications a semester. Our Allocations Committee has a budget to work with and after that it’s really about the quality and quantity of the applications,” Bartley said.

“As a nonprofit, of course we want to stretch our dollars as much as possible,” said SPEF Allocations Committee Co-Chair Julane Whipple. “The committee looks for projects that are innovative and sustainable, but we also want to see that a high number of students will be impacted as well. Collaborative proposals that work across multiple subjects or grade levels usually receive strong consideration because they benefit a large population.”

After submitting a collaborative proposal involving Oklahoma State University’s Writing Center staff, Stillwater High School teacher Ashley Moore learned her project was selected.  

“SHS is really excited to partner with OSU in creating the first peer-centered high school Writing Center Program,” said Moore. “With SPEF’s funding assistance, we will be able to buy the necessary books to train high school students as writing consultants and to establish the Writing Center as a fundamental resource for all students for many years to come.”

Cheryl Stroope teaches at both Stillwater Middle School School and Stillwater Junior High School. She was informed Tuesday that the two proposals she submitted were selected for funding. Stroope was seeking funding for projects at both sites.  

“A document camera was at the very top of my wish list for the junior high vocal music program,” Stroope said. 

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