Redmond, WA. Lake Washington Schools Foundation is pleased to announce it has awarded over $72,000 in grants to schools across the Lake Washington School District for the 2013-2014 school year. Reaching for Success grants fund programs and equipment that provide valuable tools to students, teachers and principals such as online math practice, tutoring, student leadership opportunities and musical instruments. Grants give teachers an opportunity to implement proven programs or to create new approaches to learning, while helping schools meet their state-required, but unfunded, improvement goals. All district schools were invited to apply for grants of up to $3,000 each. Twenty-eight grants were awarded to 16 elementary, four middle and four high schools. Read More >>
The majority of grants will renew proven programs from the 2012-13 school year or expand these programs to new schools. For example, two years ago the foundation funded IXL, a popular online math program, at three schools. This year, ten schools were awarded grants giving students access to IXL math practice. Popular robotics classes and clubs build students’ math, science and technology skills, but are expensive to maintain, so each year Eastlake High School and Rose Hill Middle School rely on the foundation to provide them with the materials they need to continue their robotics programs.
A foundation grant last year enabled Rose Hill Middle School teacher Jason Ewert to purchase materials for his four robotics classes when class enrollment unexpectedly grew by 60 students. Many of Ewert’s students reported that robotics was their favorite class, and that it motivated them to come to school each day. For others, the class exposed them to a career in programming or engineering. “It has been my desire to help implement a pathway for students in engineering and robotics from middle to high school,” said Ewert. In time, students will have “opportunities to earn college credit through this pathway and it will provide a great niche for kids interested in robotics and engineering.” A video of Ewert’s robotics students can be found at www.lwsf.org.
Blackwell Elementary School’s 2012-2013 Kindergarten Launch program was funded by a Reaching for Success grant and was so successful that it will be expanded for the upcoming school year to include both kindergarten and first grade students. Renamed the “Primary Launch” literacy program, it will help at-risk students become independent readers as they work with tutors learning letters and numbers and practicing reading.
“Launch enables kids who are struggling with literacy and/or numeracy to get that one-on-one attention they so desperately require, and as tutors we can really tailor things to their needs. The proof that it works? Children I’ve worked with, who are now in fourth grade, are reading at and above grade level,” said a volunteer with last year’s Launch program.
Programs that were awarded grants for the first time include Juanita High School’s Global Health Signature Program, an innovative three-period class challenging students with real-world global health problems and connecting them with industry professionals. A first-time grant to Juanita Elementary School’s Summer PERK program kept students reading this summer by opening the school library on Wednesday evenings for reading practice with tutors and checking out books. Parents attended along with their children, making it a fun community gathering. Last summer, PERK students read over 1,000 books.
According to fifth-grader Daniel who attends Summer PERK every Wednesday along with his younger brother Michael, “Summer PERK gives me a reason to read more at home, and it helps me to read faster.”
Thoreau Elementary will use grant funds to purchase five Orff xylophones, which will support new district music curriculum. All Thoreau students will use the instruments to learn the language of music while developing coordination, dexterity, and concentration.
Reaching for Success grants can be used for either a classroom or an entire school, and school principals, teachers or parent volunteers are encouraged to apply. Lake Washington Schools Foundation thanks the teachers and staff who submitted 2013-2014 grant applications for their dedication to student learning, and the donors who helped fund these opportunities.
For more information about specific grants and other programs funded by the foundation, visit www.lwsf.org.
About the Lake Washington Schools Foundation
Lake Washington Schools Foundation is a partnership between parents, business and community leaders, and the education community. Founded in 2005, the foundation’s mission is to support academic excellence and success for all students, and it has granted over $1 million for programs that have reached all of our district’s 51 schools. The Lake Washington School District serves students in the Kirkland, Redmond, Sammamish, and Woodinville communities.