SHENANDOAH, Iowa -- The mission statement of Shenandoah Iowa Education Foundation states we will support and expand educational opportunities for students in the Shenandoah Community School District.
One way the foundation has been able to do that is by offering “mini-grants” to staff. We’re funding those from the donations we’ve received from alumni, alum-nots and other supporters of the Shenandoah schools – people from right here in town and from across the nation.
Only a small portion of the donations are being used for these mini-grants. The larger portions of the donations are being invested in an endowment. Hopefully it will be large enough to help pay for major school projects in the future, and also to create a yearly stream of interest income that the schools can use for smaller educational enhancements, too.
To date, we have provided mini-grants for a wide variety of projects. They have been up to $250 each, and some teachers were able to combine our funding with other grants for larger projects.
Here’s a quick round-up of learning opportunities and supplies that we helped make possible, because of your donations:
--Several styles of flexible classroom seating including standing desks and tactile stools were funded. Field trips are another source of expanding learning beyond the classroom. A mini-grant helped send 16 students, from eighth graders through seniors, attend a lecture by Temple Grandin, a nationally recognized leader in animal behavior, where they learned how she used her life with autism to develop livestock handling systems.
--High school students in a government class attended a mock trial competition. “Breakout EDU” kits offered teachers an innovative way to introduce gaming into their classrooms. Students practice problem solving, collaboration and creativity as they solve various scenarios. Middle school students received iPads to support their growth in developing robotics. Funding tools needed to implement training, which they received from Kagan Cooperative Learning workshops, supported professional development for staff.
--An ag/art camp this past summer offered elementary students the chance to work with science, drama and art as they learned about plants, seeds and soil-health. Blenders were purchased for family computer science classes to allow students the chance to develop ways of creating nutritional meals and snacks.
"Mini-grants" have helped provide teachers and students with enhancements ranging from extra furniture to technology.
Additionally, a $2,000 scholarship, from the generous $20,000 donation by the family of the late teacher Anne Gee, was given to Loren Brady as she completes her work in computer science and computer engineering at Missouri University of Science and Technology in Rolla. Some of her business experience includes internships on technology jobs with large companies in aviation and finance.
And there’s more good news about these “mini-grants.” In the future, they won’t be as “mini.”
Starting now, the foundation is excited to be able to raise the amount for each grant to $500.
The first of the new, larger grants will be awarded Nov. 14 during an American Education Week celebration that the foundation supports along with the Shenandoah Education Association and the Shenandoah Education Plus Association.
Please help us sustain our community school and enhance our students’ future by joining our new “$100 Club,” or investing in any way or amount possible.