Foundation Awards Inspiration Grants

The MCPASD Education Foundation awarded 12 grants worth more than $11,000 as part of its bus tour on Wednesday, April 26. In addition, earlier this year the Foundation provided $10,000 to fund supplies and materials for MakerSpace areas in all district schools, including six elementary schools, two middle schools and two high schools.

The $21,000-plus that was distributed in 2017 is a record for the Foundation, executive director Perry Hibner said.

This year’s Inspiration Grants included:

  • $1,100 to Elm Lawn’s Holly Dregne and Kara Flynn to purchase 15 books along with STEM supplies and resources that will be used by every kindergarten classroom in the school.
  • $700 to Glacier Creek’s Kim Stieber-White to purchase several self-selected, high-interest books for students living in poverty within the school boundaries to combat the summer literacy slide.
  • $575 to Kromrey’s Kerry Burke to purchase 24 yoga mats, a mindfulness chime, a singing owl and a large rolling cart for storage. Staff will also have access to a binder with mindfulness practice scripts for lessons with students.
  • $500 to Middleton High School staff members Molly Meck and Alison Turner to purchase four breakout starter kits, which can be used by students of all ages to work collaboratively to solve a series of critical thinking puzzles. The boxes will be piloted in some advisory classes next year and expanded in 2018-19.
  • $1,000 to Gust Athanas of MHS to pay for training and books that can be used by student services staff to help students and colleagues deal with stress reduction.
  • $1,100 to Northside’s Travis Follen to purchase supplies for multiple gardens. The gardens will help supply the school with fresh produce on a year-round basis.
  • $500 to Park’s Luke Kramer to purchase 25 youth-sized mats to be used by all fourth-grade students in order that they can be introduced to the emotional and physical benefits of yoga.
  • $600 to Park’s Cassie Roberts to purchase two touch screen monitors to be used by all students as part of technology classes at Park and Sunset Ridge.
  • $610 to Sauk Trail’s Amy Galassi and Kirsten Haag to be used by the school’s Ambassador Club to pay for and promote projects, including a Buddy Bench, new student welcome kits, law enforcement appreciation gifts, neighborhood clean-up day, flower crafts for a local retirement home and more.
  • $1,000 to Sunset Ridge help pay for transportation and healthy snacks for Exercise to Achievement, an after-school program at Sunset Ridge Elementary that runs for six weeks and helps students improve their fitness and prepare to participate in the Tri 4 Schools triathlon. The Foundation funded the program at Elm Lawn in 2016.
  • $2,000 to West Middleton’s Shannon Larson to purchase books and other hands-on experiences for students related to science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics.
  • $1,500 to 21st Century eSchool’s Kim Gauen to purchase project materials, supplies and transportation for project-related experiences in the coming year.

The Foundation has now awarded more than 70 grants totaling approximately $72,000 since 2013. Every District school has received multiple grants.

The 2-hour, 30-minute yellow bus tour included stops at most of the schools. MHS band members played “On Wisconsin” in each of the schools before Hibner presented each recipient with flowers donated by Pick n’ Save, and a certificate.

Hibner will be visiting Elm Lawn and Glacier Creek next week to award their grants. A date has not been finalized to award the grant to the 21st Century eSchool.

“We’ve never had to visit so many schools before and it was impossible to get to them all in the short window we had,” Hibner said. “It’s a nice problem to have.  Our bus tours to announce the grants are always an amazing experience for everyone involved. It’s always one of the best days of the year. There’s no better feeling than seeing the looks on the faces of students and staff when the band walks in.

“We are thrilled to be able to help our top-notch teachers transform their innovative and creative ideas into real-life ‘inspiring experiences’ for our students with a grant from the Foundation.”

Other Foundation board members who attended part or all of the celebration included Superintendent George Mavroulis, treasurer Stephanie Mueller, secretary Tom Kobinsky and board members Purna Byraiah, Ellen Lindgren, Janet Hartung Renfert and Rick Sanders.

Mavroulis, Anne Bauer, Zach Galin, Bill Reis and former Foundation board member Melodee Vogt served on the task group that evaluated the grant applications this year. The Foundation received 23 applications from staff. Hibner also noted it is the third consecutive time the Foundation was able to fully fund every grant that was selected during a cycle.

Since its inception in 2011, the Foundation has also raised more than $200,000 for its endowment fund though Madison Community Foundation. If you would like to contribute to the Foundation’s endowment fund, please visit Foundation’s website. If you would like to sponsor a grant in 2016, please e-mail Hibner or call him at 829-9014

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