Big money makes a difference for local schools | SierraSun.com

Big money makes a difference for local schools

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

The gifts are growing in size and capacity, and this time around, almost $90,000 in grant money has been awarded to local teachers and academic programs.

The Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation has announced $87,059.60 in supplementary academic funding for 44 grants at schools in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District.

“We funded all areas, but there was a strong emphasis on technology this year and we received quite a few grants for software and equipment,” said foundation executive director Laura Abbey Brown. “We have also made a conscious decision that we would like to grow the amount that we are able to give every year.”

In the 2005-06 school year, the foundation granted about $160,000.

“Excellence in Education is unbelievably beneficial for [the district]. I’ve gotten more money from them for enrichment and support programs than from any other local institution that we have,” said Scott Beaudry, a computer and technology teacher at Kings Beach Elementary School.

Beaudry co-wrote four literacy and technology grants and was funded for all of them. He said Excellence in Education is one of the few arenas from which he can access funds for supplemental materials.

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Beaudry was awarded the largest grant in the district ” $9,000 ” for a literacy program called Lexia Phonix, which assists students in learning to read via computer software.

Perhaps one of the more unique grants was awarded to Tahoe Truckee High School biology teacher Paul Smith, who received $500 to send a bobcat to a taxidermist.

One of Smith’s substitute teachers, the wife of a biologist, witnessed a bobcat get hit by a car. The animal sustained trauma to the head and was killed, but the cat showed no external injuries.

“It’s frozen ” [the taxidermist] put it in liquid nitrogen. And over the next three months it will dehydrate and the cat will be preserved and will look down on my classroom,” Smith said. “It’s going to be such a neat conversation piece, and it’s always neat to have something that grabs kids’ interest. It will be ready in March and should last for decades.”

In the fall granting cycle, the Excellence in Education Foundation awarded $87,059.60 to schools in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Here is how it broke down:

Elementary Schools

– Kings Beach Elementary ” $18,452.36

– Glenshire Elementary ” $10,191.06

– Truckee Elementary ” $5,047.63

– Tahoe Lake Elementary ” $4,378.31

Middle Schools

– North Tahoe Middle School ” $9,723.50

– Alder Creek Middle School ” $8,543.87

High Schools

– Truckee High School ” $19,957.84

– North Tahoe High School ” $7,977.03

– District-wide: $2,788

The spring granting cycle for Excellence in Education is coming up. The deadline to submit grants at each school site is March 9, and grants are due to the foundation by April 1. For more information, contact Excellence in Education at 550-7984.