The MCPASD Education Foundation handed out 10 grants to seven schools as part of its second spring bus tour on Tuesday.
Staff members to receive grants included Northside's Ami Schmidt, Kari Brezenski and Beth Bergman-Kessenich; Sunset Ridge's Sara Reeves-Metz and Roberto Moreno; Glacier Creek's Jason Needham and Marilyn Bowers; Park's Amy Callies, Jodi Klare and Julie Gibbs-Soeteber; Pooh Bear 4K MCPASD community site's Emily Brucker; Sauk Trail's Paige Bessick and Jeanette Wiederhoft; and Kromrey's Fred Bartman, Darlayne Coughlin and Kimberly Chapman.
The Foundation handed out more than $5,200 as part of its spring cycle. That total included two $500 grants sponsored by Galin Education, a $500 go-green grant sponsored by an anonymous donor and a $250 grant sponsored by The UPS Store of Middleton. The Foundation plans to hand out at least $5,000 again in the fall.
The Foundation has handed out nearly $12,500 since it begin issuing grants in 2013. Since its inception in 2011, the Foundation has also raised more than $130,000 for its endowment fund though Madison Community Foundation.
If you would like to contribute to the Foundation's endowment fund, please visit the MCF website. If you would like to sponsor a grant during the upcoming fall cycle, please e-mail Foundation executive director Perry Hibner or call him at 829-9014
The 2-hour yellow bus tour included stops at all of the schools. More than 20 MHS band members played "On Wisconsin" in each of the schools before chair Courtney Ward-Reichard presented each recipient with flowers donated by Copps and a certificate.
"Our bus tours to announce our teacher grants is always an amazing experience, and this year was no exception,'' Ward-Reichard said. "We are thrilled to be able to help our wonderful teachers to 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 Don Johnson, Ellen Lindgren, Stephanie Moen-Mueller, John Selbo, Shawna Bertalot, Bill Reis, Zach Galin and Charlie Saeman. UPS Store owner Keith Johnston was also on hand for the presentation of his grant.
Emily Brucker, a 4K teacher, will receive $300 to purchase mentor texts to support the 4K curriculum, including fiction and nonfiction books, poems, songs, class-made stories, and social stories. This grant was funded by The UPS Store of Middleton.
"I am so appreciative of the grant I received from UPS Store of Middleton and the MCPASD Education Foundation,'' she said. "This grant will help me to put mentor texts into the hands of my 4K students and will help prepare them to be successful readers and writers. This was my first time writing a grant and I am so honored that my classroom was chosen."
Added 4K principal Kari Gault: "The kids were so excited and Emily was on cloud nine.''
"We at the UPS Store of Middleton are passionate about supporting our schools, staff and students,'' Johnston said. "We are so pleased to support early childhood teachers like Emily Brucker with a grant because Emily and her colleagues start kids on a positive path of lifetime learning.''
Beth Bergman-Kessenich and Colleen Young will receive a grant of $880 to purchase supplies and materials for summer learning sessions held at an apartment complex. The program is designed to reach at-risk students in their home environment to support their educational needs in the summer.
"We would like to say thank you to the Education Foundation for this wonderful grant that will help so many of our Northside families this summer,'' Bergman-Kessenich said. "Summer sessions at Arbor Lakes not only provide students with a needed academic boost, but it also helps us connect with parents.
"We want to increase access to parents who want to be involved. The activities and materials purchased will be shared with parents so they can continue to be an integral part of their child's learning.''
A total of $1,000 from the Foundation will be used to purchase Buddy Benches at two schools to help foster friendships and encourage inclusion on the playground. The projects are led by Ami Schmidt and Kari Brezenski at Northside, and Julie Gibbs-Soeteber at Park.
"Thank you for this award on behalf of all students and staff at Park,'' Gibbs-Soeteber said. "The Buddy Benches will support our Act Now! Bullying Prevention Program and help build more friendships. We are thrilled!''
Added Schmidt: "On behalf of the entire Northside Community, I want to thank the Education Foundation for awarding us funds to purchase a Buddy Bench for our playground. We are so excited for this addition to our playground. We look forward to having our entire school community be involved with the implementation of the Buddy Bench. The Buddy Bench will help create a playground culture of caring and inclusion.''
A grant of $500 will be used to improve signage and access to the school forest located near Park, to encourage school and community use of the forest. The grant was awarded to Amy Callies and Jodi Klare, and was funded by an anonymous donor as a “Go Green” grant to promote environmental awareness.
Sauk Trail's Paige Bessick and Jeanette Wiederhoeft will receive a grant of $300 to purchase cameras for students to document life experiences through written and visual representations in scrapbooks. The grant will also be used for supplies and materials.
"We are honored that our project was chosen to receive a grant,'' Bessick said. "We are so excited to be able to share our love of writing and scrapbooking with Sauk Trail students and families. The addition of the cameras will help us do just that."
Sara Reeves-Metz and Roberto Moreno will receive a grant of $400 to create a mural at the Sunset Ridge. The mural will include the world, surrounded by 33 flags representing the diverse heritage and nationalities of the school's students.
"I am thrilled that Sunset Ridge will have this opportunity to show its appreciation for the many, many different nationalities represented in our student population,'' Reeves-Metz said. "Our diversity truly strengthens and empowers our students and staff to grow into a globally responsive community.''
Counselors Jason Needham and Marilyn Bowers will receive a grant of $500 to support the Where Everybody Belongs program. WEB trains mentors from the eighth-grade class, who younger students transition to middle school. This grant was funded by Galin Education.
"We were so surprised and overwhelmed when the Education Foundation members and the MHS band students came here,'' Needham said. "What an honor to be selected to receive a grant for our future WEB program. We greatly appreciate the funding from Galin Education that made the grant possible and the time and effort that the Education Foundation members give to make these grants possible.''
Kromrey counselor Fred Bartman will receive a grant of $500 to support a mentoring program, which seeks to improve reading and math scores for students of color by connecting them with an adult mentor. This grant was also funded by Galin Education.
"I am trilled to receive funding for our new mentoring program,'' he said. "Our pilot year has been a huge success. Students and mentors have both gotten a lot out of their time together.
"The challenge we face next year is increasing the number of adult mentors for the program. We plan to do a lot of advertising and recruiting throughout the community. We know there are so many wonderful individuals within the Middleton area who have a lot to offer, and the students we are targeting are craving positive adult connections.
"Thanks to the grant from the Education Foundation sponsored by Galin Education we look forward to increasing our numbers next year so that the program can have an even larger impact within the Kromrey community.''
Kromrey band directors Darlayne Coughlin and Kimberly Chapman will receive a grant of $864 to purchase two iPads that will be used by students to compose music to learn and demonstrate knowledge of form, tonality and meter/rhythm.
In all, the grants should impact more than 1,500 students in the district. Last year's grants impacted more than 3,000 students, Hibner said.