The EPISD Education Foundation is making visits to 24 campuses this month to surprise 31 teachers with $28,000 in Classroom Impact Grants.
The grants combined with the $77,000 in scholarships awarded to the Class of 2016 in the spring and a special $10,000 STEM grant for Irvin High School means $115,000 in contributions that the Foundation has giving back to the District this year.
“We are pleased to be able to provide EPISD with $115,000 in funding to promote innovation in teaching and enhance the overall quality of education for EPISD students,” Foundation President Russell Wiggs said. “It’s a joy to see the surprised looks on teachers and students’ faces when we announce their names for grants and scholarships. We know the funding makes a difference to them.”
The first stop this week: Polk Elementary School on Tuesday, where $2,000 was awarded to Gloria Zafiro-Salazar and Elaine Myers. Like all grants awarded this year, Myers’ grant embraces active learning. The campus’ Active Learning Leader will be purchasing Ozobots to assist with teaching Science Technology Engineering and Math.
“Ozobots use a language of color coding and it makes it very inviting for children in elementary schools,” Myers said. “They will use critical thinking and problem solving skills through Active Learning. We would like our students to be one step ahead with new careers that are being created every year in this field.”
Second stop: Coronado High School where Jennifer Wilhite, who received two grants this year, and Renee Aguirre received the good news.
“Teachers are always in need of supplies and resources, especially in active learning classrooms, such as journalism,” said Aguirre, a journalism teacher at Coronado. “Technology is constantly evolving and I want to be able to provide my students with functional, up-to-date equipment that will benefit their learning. Therefore, applying for the EPISD Education Foundation grant should be on every teachers to-do-list this school year because this grant can provide us with up-to-date resources and materials for our students.”
The Foundation has scheduled visits throughout September and early October to award the grants and give teachers an opportunity to talk about what the funding will be used for in their classroom in front of their peers. It is also an opportunity for the Foundation to inform teachers of the Employee Giving Campaign, which netted $25,000 last year. The campaign runs from Sept. 30-Oct. 31.
“Employees are becoming more aware of the Foundation and what we do to benefit teachers and students in EPISD,” Wiggs said. “We are grateful for the contributions made by EPISD employees.”
EPISD Education Foundation in the spring awarded $77,000 to graduating seniors, which included two scholarships provided by the Irvin High School Alumni Association and six scholarships provided by Renaissance Learning. Texas Gas Services also provided a $10,000 grant to purchase a 3D printer for Irvin High School’s Rocket Tech.
Grant proposals will be accepted online beginning in March 2017. A notice will be sent to all EPISD teachers to inform them of the grant process.
“Any teacher with a new idea should try for a grant. It really didn’t take that much time once I had the idea,” Myers said. “A little research in the area I wanted to target was a huge help in writing the grant.”
A full list of grant winners will be placed on the foundation.episd.org in early October. Like the Foundation on Facebook (El Paso ISD Education Foundation) to see the campus visits as they happen.