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District 277 Foundation Grants Benefit Westonka Kids

The Westonka District 277 Foundation has awarded more than $100,000 in grants since 1997 to Westonka staff members seeking funds to enrich their curriculum not covered in the annual school budget.

by Lorrie Ham

The Westonka District 277 Foundation recently announced its grant awards for the 2012-2013 school year. The six-member Board of Directors reviewed over 20 grant applications from Westonka staff members seeking funds to enrich their curriculum not covered in the annual school budget.

Fundraising is critical to the success of the Foundation, which has awarded more than $100,000 in grants since 1997.

Donna Smith and Margaret Holste, two board members with long time ties to the district, interviewed applicants and asked questions before making recommendations to the rest of the board.

Smith, a 1955 Mound grad and retired 34-year primary school teacher in the district, enjoys staying connected to the district in “this meaningful way.”

“Our dedication to the district didn’t end when we retired,” said Holste, who retired after 33 years as a social worker in the district.

Other members of the board include Diane Bates, Kathleen Lohmar Exel, Julie Johnson and Kari Kantola.

Receiving grant awards of up to $1,000 each were the following recipients and their projects:

Mark Femrite, Asst. Superintendent of Teaching and Learning: “Engineering is Elementary” curriculum expansion with professional training of staff in grades 1 and 2 by the Science Museum of Minnesota.

Gretchen Chilson, MWHS Band Director: “Copper Street Brass Quintet” residency with the MWHS bands and an all-school concert at GMS to provide students an opportunity to experience chamber in a new and exciting way.

Gail Howard, Shirley Hills Social Worker: CLIMB Theater performances at Shirley Hills on Bullying Prevention with additional interactive packets to supplement the district’s current anti-bullying curriculum.

Jolene Stanke-Krause, Hilltop Social Worker: CLIMB Theater performances at Hilltop on Bullying Prevention with additional interactive packets to supplement the district’s current anti-bullying curriculum.

Jennifer Bormes, MWHS Connections Coordinator: Link Crew (Students helping students) – Interschool Conference opportunity for 100-plus participants.

Dion Koltes, MWHS Activities Director: Continuation of ImPact concussion training and testing of student athletes.

Debra Castner, Grandview Middle School Special Education Teacher: iPads to teach social skills to special needs students.

Crystall Gravelle and Kristyn Kallas, MWHS Paraprofessionals: “Splash into Math” with MacBook/iPad Integration to instill student confidence in their math skills and better prepare them for ACT and MCA Grad tests.

Roger Whaley, Grandview Middle School, and Gretchen Chilson, Mound Westonka High School Band teachers: Purchase of a student practice tuba augmented by a parent donation.

The Foundation began in 1995 with the purpose of providing funding for learning experiences and projects that did not receive funding from the general school district budget. Recipients are selected based on educational value; numbers of learners impacted; availability of other sources of funding; and demonstrated need for the project.

More worthy requests are received each year than can be funded. Consider a donation to the Foundation in honor of a teacher or staff person or give a memorial gift to honor a special person with the gift of education for students and life-long learners in the community. Visit the website at www.westonka277foundation.org for more information.

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