The MCPASD Education Foundation gave staff members and students at six schools quite a thrill on Tuesday, April 30.
The Foundation awarded 10 grants worth $16,091 as part of its annual bus tour.
MHS was awarded three grants, while Park and and West Middleton each received two. Elm Lawn, Glacier Creek and Sauk Trail also received grants.
"It is so much fun to see the expressions of surprise and delight on the faces of our teachers and students when we arrive with the band in tow,'' Foundation chair Courtney Ward-Reichard said. "The kids love the band, but they also love hearing about the grants that their teachers have won and what that means for their classrooms.''
It is the fourth year the Foundation has gone to a single grant cycle. Between 2013-2015, the Foundation held grant cycles twice a year, in the spring and fall.
The Foundation has now awarded out more than 100 grants totaling nearly $106,000 since it begin issuing grants in 2013. Every District school has received multiple grants.
The 2-hour yellow bus tour included stops at each school that received grants. Thirty MHS band members played two songs at each of the schools before Ward-Reichard presented each recipient with flowers donated by Pick 'n Save.
Other Foundation board members who attended part or all of the celebration included vice chair Purna Byraiah, secretary Tom Kobinsky, Carrie Brooker, Carl Frederick, Perry Hibner and Kristin Jungbluth.
Brooker, Frederick, Hibner, Anne Bauer, Chris Denney and George Mavroulis served on the task group that evaluated the grant applications this year. The Foundation received 17 grant applications in all. Hibner noted it is the fifth consecutive time the Foundation was able to fully fund every grant that was selected during a cycle.
This year's recipients included:
- Elm Lawn's Theoni Richardson, who received $2,500 to purchase xylophones and a contrabass bar, which gets the percussion instrument-to-student-ratio closer to 1-2 hopefully cultivating a culture of improvisation and free play.
- Glacier Creek's Amy Beattie, who received a $1,000 to fund book giveaways for students and community members as part of Elver Park Center's celebrations at Thanksgiving and during Black History Month. A smaller version of the program was implemented this year.
- Park kindergarten teacher Noel Vannieuwenhoven, who received $2,500 to fund a STEM project to boost emerging reading skills. The funds will pay for books and five separate kits.
- Park social worker Susan Sims-Mormino and teachers John Wozniczka, Wendy Matthews, Lisa Breunig, Diane Matzke, Caroline Estabrook and Karla Freimuth, who received $2,475 to support a school-wide and community-wide reading program to promote family literacy.
- Middleton High School music teacher Eric Rothacker, who received $500 to purchase instruments that will make music more accessible to all students, especially those with special needs.
- MHS special education teachers Leigh Azkoul, Emma Becher and Ruba Abedkhader, who received $1,000 to support organizing and implementing co-curricular opportunities, including a sensory friendly dance, for students with disabilities. It will also involve students in Club Unify and the Hip Hop and Music for Diverse Learners classes.
- MHS nurse Megan Westphal along with student services staff Kristin Wilson, Alex Garcia, Sarah Estrella and Betsy Korbinyr, who received $1,716 to purchase period products and dispensers for each of the school's 30 restrooms for female students.
- Sauk Trail's Two-Way Immersion team, which received $1,000 to purchase native-language resources, such as books and posters, and to fund a celebration focused on el Dia del Nino (Day of the Child).
- West Middleton's Marnie Hyland, who received $2,100 to expand traditional art curriculum with sensory tools geared toward students with special needs and those requiring trauma-informed care.
- West Middleton's Jen Lombardi and Emily Stockbridge, who received $1,100 to fund collections of diverse books in classroom libraries that address topics such as LGBTQ+ inclusion, racial diversity, immigration and bullying.
"Every year, I am so moved and impressed by the creative and innovative ideas of our teachers,'' Ward-Reichard said. "I am also very grateful for the generosity of our donors — they’re the ones who make this day possible.''
Since its inception in 2011, the Foundation has also raised nearly $300,000 for its general endowment fund though Madison Community Foundation. A second fund for Future Scholars has raised more than $30,000. 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 2019, please e-mail Hibner or call him at 829-9014.