In 2011, the Enumclaw Schools Foundation (ESF) awarded more than $10,000 through its Enrichment and Innovation Grants program to local teachers and school administrators to enrich the learning experience for students.
At its annual Jazzing Up Education luncheon Thursday at the Expo Center Fieldhouse, Foundation Board President Jim Barchek shared with about 150 attendees some of the novel ideas that ESF's funding is helping to bring to the classroom this year, including integrating art, movement and literacy with music at Black Diamond Elementary, purchasing iPad2s for special education classrooms, and more.
Broken up by semester, ESF was able to award nearly $2,000 more in grants in Fall 2011 than it could in Fall 2010, thanks to the contributions of community members, donations and various fundraising efforts.
Scroll to the bottom of this story for a full list of grant recipients.
School Board student representative and Enumclaw High School junior Conner Wells wowed the audience with his poise and ease in front of a large audience and provided some reflections and insights into the Rachel's Challenge project that not only the school district but the entire community has undertaken this year. It is in part sponsored by ESF.
Of organizers' goal to reach two miles of paper links that reflect individual acts of kindness in the community, Wells said, "It's really kind of shocking to think, 'wow, we really might hit the two-mile mark.'"
The paper links are a "physical representation of what we can achieve," he said.
The project has helped students such has himself really pay attention to the small details, he said. "We're becoming more and more aware of ourselves and our surroundings."
Enumclaw Schools Superintendent Mike Nelson reported earlier this month that the effort was closing in on 1.25 miles.
The challenge culminates in a community gathering at Enumclaw Stadium on March 6 at 6:30 p.m.
Getting Middle School Students Prepped for AP
Casey Anderson, a special education teacher at Enumclaw Middle School and Melanie Hansen, an English teacher at Thunder Mountain Middle School shared their experiences using the new SpringBoard curriculum with their students. SpringBoard is also supported by ESF.
Anderson said that in the past, teaching reading and writing to middle school students between the two schools took a lot of work pooling resources and even then there wasn't a consistent way to assess whether students were grasping skills and ideas.
With SpringBoard, Anderson said, teachers follow common core standards that encompass a wide range of reading and writing skills and experiences.
The curriculum takes some of the background work off of teachers' plates. "We're still putting in lots of time," Anderson said, "but it's time we put toward focusing on the students now."
It is "rigorous and has high expectations" of students, she said. It also guarantees that teachers at the high school level know their students were taught the same skills regardless of which middle school they attended.
Hansen said the SpringBoard curriculum was the official pre-AP program from the College Board. Because there is an emphasis at the high school level to take at least one AP class, she said, the SpringBoard curriculum at the middle school level "makes sure that all students are prepared for that level of work."
Praise Your Own Pond
Emcee Heath Rainwater wrapped up the event by painting a picture of the current landscape of education funding in the state of Washington, which may be providing cause for cautious optimism, he said.
Citing the recent McCleary decision by the state Supreme Court, Rainwater said the court wrote that education is the civil right of the 21st century.
It remains to be seen what the state Legislature will do to honor that decision and meanwhile, the school district has seen state funding cut for the past five years in a row, he said.
And school leaders are "faced with doing more with less," he said. "A healthy democracy relies on the education of its citizens."
It is important for the citizens of the Enumclaw community to take pride in it and invest in its future. Recalling a saying from his grandfather, "It's a poor frog that won't praise its own pond."
To learn more about the Enumclaw Schools Foundation and how you can contribute, visit www.enumclawschoolsfoundation.org.
Full List of Enrichment and Innovation Grants
$354 to Enumclaw High School: purchase "The Fred Factor" books to help Career and Technical students discover their potential.
$2,000 to Black Diamond Elementary: Art, Movement and Literacy integrated with Music.
$476 to Westwood Elementary: purchase supplies for The Westwood Book Store, a literacy project to get affordable books to students.
$680 to Sunrise Elementary: purchase "Take A Walk" book series as a resource so students can create a field guide of their schoolyard and connect their learning.
$390 to Kibler Elementary: purchase Rachel's Challenge Kindess journals.
$1,608 to Sunrise Elementary: for all students to have access to a comprehensive art education curriculum using Washington's EALR-based "The Whole Picture" art curriculum.
$438 to Enumclaw High School: pay for a field trip Special Needs English students to attend a Seattle Art Museum tour and workshop for an art integration research paper.
$600 to Black Diamond Elementary: fund a "Book-It Repertory Theater" performance of Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World's Fastest Woman.
$258 to Black Diamond Elementary: purchase art supplies to integrate into disciplines of Math, Science and Literature.
$1,000 to Sunrise Elementary: partner grant to fund a 10-week ballroom dancing curriculum.
$921.10 to Enumclaw Middle School: purchase two laptop computers for the EMS Resource Room.
$1,000 to Thunder Mountain Middle School: purchase two Insta-Pulse units, fat loss monitors, and heart rate charts for PE curriculum.
$991 to Westwood, Sunrise, TMMS and EHS: purchase an iPad2 for use in the self-contained special education classrooms at the schools.
$500 to Black Diamond Elementary: partner with the Black Diamond PTA to bring author Roland Smith to the school for assemblies and a teacher workshop.
$500 to Enumclaw High School: purchase new books to supplement the more rigorous reading and thinking curriculum in the 10th grade English class.
$852 to Westwood Elementary: new supplemental reading materials to support younger students (K-3) to read with their parents at home, and older students in reading excellent books.
$919 to Southwood Elementary: purchase visual arts supplies and materials to enhance teaching of the Six Proficient Reader Strategies.
$1,000 to Sunrise Elementary: partner with the building budget in purchasing a one-year subscription to Bookflix, an online interactive resource for all K-3 students.