Excellence in Education awards nearly $77,000 in fall grant cycle | SierraSun.com

Excellence in Education awards nearly $77,000 in fall grant cycle

Special to the Sun

TAHOE/TRUCKEE and#8212; The Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation awarded $76,916 in grants to teachers and classrooms in the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District (TTUSD) through its fall 2011 grant cycle. TTUSD trustees received and approved the funds at their regular board meeting last month.

During this grant cycle, the Foundation received 65 grant requests and was pleased to award funds to 50 applicants. Many grants provided classroom materials including reading and language software, band instruments, physical education equipment, art supplies and magazine subscriptions. In addition, Excellence in Education supplied funds for Truckee High School’s Challenge Day, a powerful team-building event for ninth graders that fosters positive connections and empathy for one another.

Each grant cycle, Excellence in Education receives grants they are unable to fund. While all grant requests have merit, some fall outside of the foundation’s criteria. In some cases, Excellence in Education will approach outside partners to help to facilitate funding. One such grant was submitted by North Tahoe School; as a result, the North Tahoe Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, Tahoe City Rotary and Kiwanis Club of North Lake Tahoe are pitching in to purchase cross-country equipment for the school’s physical education program.

Changes to grant cycle

The Excellence in Education Foundation restructured its grant cycle schedule this year, allotting funds specifically for teacher training, adding a new innovation cycle to the mix and omitting its spring cycle for 2012.

Following a commitment by the Foundation last year to earmark funds toward professional development for teaching staff, the foundation received four teacher training grant requests and funded two: Tahoe Lake Elementary teachers will receive staff training in science instruction from UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science, while North Tahoe High School staff will attend a conference on assessment and standards.

New innovation grant

According to Laura Brown, Excellence in Education’s executive director, the new innovation cycle was designed to encourage teachers to bring novel and creative educational ideas to the foundation.

and#8220;We wanted to see what would happen if we stripped away all our usual criteria for grants and allowed teachers to come forward with concepts that ordinarily wouldn’t be considered,and#8220; Brown explained. and#8220;We were delighted with the response.and#8221;

To date, the foundation has screened almost a dozen innovative grant submissions and is currently reviewing and discussing several ideas. Brown says she expects to announce the results of this new grant cycle next month.

New partnership forged with Truckee Tahoe Airport District

Last year, Truckee Tahoe Airport District officials expressed an interest in partnering with Excellence in Education to help further educational opportunities relating to science and aviation. The Airport offered funding for aerospace themed grants through Excellence in Educationand#8217;s fall grant cycle. In response to the offer, the Foundation received a request from the fifth grade classes at Truckee Elementary to fund a field trip to the Challenger Space Simulation at the Discovery Museum in Sacramento. Brown approached Airport District officials with the proposal and, according to Brown, they liked the idea so much, they offered to expand it across the district: $500 per fifth grade classroom, or $5,500, was donated. Every TTUSD fifth grader will be able to participate in a field trip to experience the Challenger Space Simulation. In addition, Brown reports they are considering offering this funding every year.

and#8220;Weand#8217;re excited about this partnership,and#8221; said Ann Delforge, allocations co-chair and president of Excellence in Education. and#8220;Through relationships like these, we can continue to expand possibilities for learning and growth. We are so grateful to the Truckee Tahoe Airport District for offering this wonderful learning opportunity to our local kids.and#8221;

Community support makes it all possible

Grant money is raised by the Excellence in Education Foundation throughout the year through programs like Dining, Skiing and Golfing for Schools and the new Luxury Home Tour. The community’s support of these programs has a direct connection to the classroom via the grants made by the foundation.

The combined funding for fall and teacher training grants brings the total money awarded by Excellence in Education to $85,488 so far this school year. More than $2.25 million has been awarded since the Foundation’s inception 26 years ago.

For more information about Excellence in Education please call 530-550-7984 or visit http://www.ExinEd.org.-

About Excellence in Education

The Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization that supports quality public education with the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District. Each year the Foundation raises money and provides grants, resources and partnerships to benefit students, teachers and the educational community as a whole.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com