2015-16-grants2015-16 Grants

It was a caravan of good news and smiling faces this week, as the LPS Education Foundation took to the streets of the school district to surprise 16 teachers with classroom grants. Needless to say, the teachers were overwhelmed that their grant proposal was among those selected to receive funding to support their classroom project.

The LPS Education Foundation received 52 grant requests, totaling $148,000 and was able to award 16 grants, totaling $37,500. Now in its third year, the grant program is supported by the LPS Education Foundation’s designated funds, community contributions and employee payroll deductions to the Foundation.

“As in the previous two years, the grants submitted this year supported the district’s mission, vision and curriculum,” said Lorna Durand, the Foundation’s grants program chairperson. “Also as in previous years, the proposals detailed innovative classroom enhancements and were very exciting to review.”

Awardees include Cooper Upper Elementary Media Specialist Judy Bowling, who is leading the charge to create a “Makerspace” just off of the library media center at the school. The room will foster innovation and creativity and will feature a variety of hands-on materials that will allow students to create and learn. The grant will fund the purchase of two 3-D printers for Cooper’s Makerspace.

Other grants will be used to enhance classroom technology, phonics and literacy projects at the elementary level, high school AP history materials and high school orchestra chamber music purchases at Churchill High School, for example.

Durand said it’s often difficult for the grant committee members to decide, but that it’s very exciting to present the awardees with their over-sized checks, knowing that their ideas on paper are on their way to fruition to benefit the students of Livonia Public Schools.

The grant program is just one of several programs of the LPS Education Foundation, which raises funds all year, through community business partnerships and support, the annual fall luncheon event, the LPS Bounce Back to School event as well as LPS employee contributions.

View the Fall 2015-16 Foundation Grant video

View the Fall 2015 Foundation Grant photo album

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Seventeen Livonia Public Schools educators were treated to a nice surprise recently, when members of the LPS Education Foundation entered their classrooms, holding very large checks.

The LPS Education Foundation, for the second year, issued grants totaling $31,500 for the purchase of various classroom tools, including Chromebooks; iPads; assistive technology for preschoolers with Autism; technology for early literacy; and library books for the Niji-Iro Japanese Immersion Elementary School. Forty teachers applied for the grants and a Review Committee thoroughly rated each proposal, based on a set of criteria.

“Each proposal had its merits and we appreciated the time that the staff members committed as they created their proposals,” said Lorna Durand, chair of the Grant Review Committee.

Grants were awarded to teachers at the following schools: Perrinville Early Childhood Center, Cass, Grant, Niji-Iro, Randolph and Rosedale elementaries; Johnson and Riley upper elementaries; Emerson and Frost middle schools and Franklin High School.

The grant program is funded through LPS employee contributions, matched by the LPS Education Foundation and also through other contributions via the foundation.

Please visit our Facebook page for photos from the award presentations.

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Twelve Livonia Public Schools teachers were awarded grants worth more than $25,000 by the LPS Education Foundation during public ceremonies held this fall. The winning projects represent innovative teaching strategies designed to benefit students from preschool through high school.

The Education Foundation built its annual grant program to show its expanded commitment to the LPS community. The goal is to do something immediate to help teachers and students. The Foundation changed its name, which adds “Education” to its title as an outward sign of its strong pledge to supporting quality education provided by Livonia Public Schools.

Lorna Durand, Grant Review Committee chairperson, and committee member Steve Sciatto, were joined by LPS Superintendent Randy Liepa at several sites, to present the winning teachers in their classrooms with oversized checks ranging from several hundred dollars to more than $4,000. Students and staff happily joined in on the excitement.

Thirty-six proposals were submitted, representing approximately $100,000 in requests, according to Durand.

“Each proposal had its merits and the committee greatly appreciated the time teachers committed as they created their proposals,” Durand said.

Each project submitted had to meet rigorous criteria outlined in a three-page application, including an explanation of how the project supports the district’s curriculum; how many students would benefit from the project; re-usability of the project and research that supports the proposal.

The applications were filtered through a decision matrix based on the district’s core values and shared vision and they were reviewed by the nine committee members, all former teachers or administrators in the school district.

“The job of reviewing the proposals was challenging, yet very interesting,” said Mary Foster, one of the committee members. “It was probably the most rewarding assignment I’ve ever worked on.”

The scope of the winning projects varied greatly. Some of the winners included support for The Leader in Me program, which strives for higher academic achievement at the elementary level; a unique World Music Drumming program to help K-4 students spontaneously create music; pocket projectors for preschool teachers to use as they share information during circle time; technology to host Skype sessions between middle school music classes from across the country; Real Care Babies used in child development and parenting classes at the high school level; and digital storytelling using mini iPads, among others.

This year marks the first year of a new annual grant program designed by the Foundation to provide financial support to LPS instructors for innovative programs and services, according to President Diane Policelli.

“Our primary focus to date has been to fund the Competitive Edge College Saving Plan, which continues to be the premier program offered by the Foundation,” Policelli said.

That program offers a Section 529 college savings account for each new kindergarten student enrolled in the Livonia Public Schools. The Competitive Edge plan establishes an educational trust account for participating students and a donation from the Foundation is deposited in their accounts. More than 1,000 students presently have this unique savings account.

“We are very thankful for the many individuals and institutions that have contributed to the Foundation over the past years. Their contributions have allowed us to begin this new classroom enhancement grant program and to provide ongoing support for the Competitive Edge program so it can continue to thrive,” Policelli said.

To date, the Foundation has assets in excess of $500,000 and growing.

Published by the Livonia Observer, December 6, 2013.

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