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.
Stillwater Public Education Foundation
Fall 2012 Grant Allocations
Total Allocated - $6,250
• Gaining Perspective: Avoiding the Art Culture Bias. Provides funding for the Art program at Stillwater Middle School to purchase art prints, posters, DVDs and other resources for art education to increase student knowledge of a broad array of art styles and artists. Grant Allocation: $500 awarded to Crista McCann.
• Creative Possibilities Despite Limited Abilities. Provides funding for the Art program at Stillwater Middle School to purchase art supplies that accommodate students with fine motor issues and physical disabilities. Grant Allocation: $450 awarded to Crista McCann.
• Play to Read. Funding is provided to purchase 15 educational board games that target reading comprehension skills for third-graders at Richmond Elementary School. Grant allocation: $350 awarded to Lisa Cox.
• Rock the School with Schoolhouse Rock! Funding is provided to Stillwater Middle School to support the production of a curriculum-driven musical Schoolhouse Rock! The funds will be used to purchase the musical show kit. Grant Allocation: $600 awarded to Cheryl Stroope.
• Street Photography - An Integrated Approach to Learning. Grant funds are requested to purchase three Canon digital cameras and resource materials on documentary/street photography project at Lincoln Academy. The collection of photographs will be displayed in a public setting for the cultural benefit of students and the Stillwater community. Grant Allocation: $500 awarded to Aaron Frisby.
• Data Collection & Analysis. Grant funds are provided to Stillwater High School to purchase 15 Texas Instruments Nspire CX graphing calculators and four Texas Instruments CBR2 data collection devices. Matching funds will be available to purchase an additional 15 calculators and four CBR2s to complete a full classroom set. Grant Allocation: $2,600 awarded to Mark Thomas.
• The Big Picture. Grant funds are provided to the Stillwater Junior High School music program to purchase a document camera to support multimedia
instruction. Grant Allocation: $600 awarded to Cheryl Stroope.
• Writing Center Program. Grant funds are provided to purchase resource materials to create a Writing Center at Stillwater High School to provide support for improved composition and critical thinking skills. Grant Allocation: $650 awarded to Ashley Moore, Debbie Dawson and Jennifer White.