2012 CLASSROOM GRANTS AWARDED
$192,830 FUNDING FOR MORE THAN 400 TEACHERS - PRE–K THROUGH 12TH GRADE
Total Number of Grants Increases by 15%
BERKELEY, December 6, 2012—Berkeley Public Schools Fund (BPEF) (bpef-online.org) has announced the 2012 recipients of its annual Classroom Grants. With the strong commitment to the success of every student coming up against continued annual budget cuts and reallocations, teachers are in constant search for resources to pursue projects that strengthen and differentiate their teaching, and bring added dimension to the learning experience. “Every year, the amount of dollars requested exceeds the previous year, and this year was no exception. We are delighted, thanks to the generosity of our donors, to be awarding the highest number of grants ever for this central the Schools Fund program—grants to support educator-initiated projects at every grade, in every school,” said Molly Fraker, Director of the nonprofit organization.
The 2012 awards, 285 in all (compared to 243 in 2011) are made to teachers applying either individually or as part of collaborative teams, affecting literally thousands of students. Themes that emerged from the review of 315 submitted applications include technology—with iPads leading the way among some 50 grants for equipment that teachers are testing in classrooms, libraries and special education interventions; the arts—with visiting printmakers, composers, choreographers, musicians and actors among the 70 grants with an arts focus; and field experiences—with trips to cultural institutions like Cal Performances, outdoor programs such as Camp Arroyo, science workshops at Lawrence Hall of Science, and historical sites including Angel Island being among 45 field trip awards. The single largest grant of $6,580 was for transportation to send every 5th grader to a workshop at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory over the course of the school year. Among the smallest is $120 for a set of polyhedron dice to do math activities in a 3rd grade classroom!
A complete list of the 2012 Classroom Grants can be found here.
Unrestricted dollars that the Schools Fund raises each year underwrite 1) classroom and other grants that go directly into academic projects and programs at every school; 2) a school-day and after-school community volunteers program that infuses over $1 million in donated time into the district; and 3) support for unique programs developed with staff, or offered within the public schools by partner non-profits. the Schools Fund also administers funds for projects made possible through earmarked gifts to the Foundation, for activities such as scholarships or garden program support.
BPEF’s School Volunteers, initiated in 1991, brings donated time, talents and skills of over 2,000 community members into all Berkeley schools. Funded partner organizations include Berkeley Repertory Theater ($7,000), which conducted 10-week workshops at all eleven elementary schools over the past two years and is now working in the middle schools; Berkeley Symphony ($15,000), whose Music in the Schools serves nearly 4,000 students in all eleven elementary schools with a year-long program of instruction and performance; Community Resources for Science ($9,0000), which helps K-8 teachers in Berkeley build confidence in their science teaching by providing information and lessons, scientist volunteers and support with extracurricular activities; and the Writer Coach Connection ($9,000), whose 250 volunteers undergo six hours of rigorous training to prepare them for the job of coaching middle- and high-school student writers.
In summer 2012, the Schools Fund launched its Summer Fellowships for Teachers program and sent three educators to pursue travel and study in Africa, New York City, and Monterey.
Berkeley Public Schools Fund was begun in 1983, when the impact of Proposition 13 property tax restructuring was being felt in public school classrooms. A group of Berkeley parents and community leaders responded by establishing the Foundation, to raise awareness and funds on behalf of the city’s public school teachers and students. This core leadership group began building an annual source of funding that educators could tap to enrich their classrooms and expand the horizons of their teaching, and today the Schools Fund has grown to become Berkeley’s single largest source of private outside funding available to every Berkeley public school, from Pre-K–12. “The Schools Fund has always believed that directly supporting teachers is one of the best and most efficient ways to help students achieve and succeed,” notes current board Chair Chris Hudson.
Highlights of the Schools Fund’s many years of support include early seed funding for the Columbia Teachers College Reading and Writing Project, which with the Schools Fund’s help was piloted by lead teachers and then adopted as the new Language Arts curriculum across all Berkeley K-5 schools. Last year’s $44,000 grant for thousands of leveled fiction and non-fiction books was the capstone of this collaboration. In the early 1990s, the Schools Fund was asked and accepted the challenge to raise an extra $1 million to build a Family Resource Center at Rosa Parks School during its reconstruction following the Loma Prieta earthquake. When music was in jeopardy in our schools for a year due to a funding gap, the Schools Fund spearheaded a campaign raising over $300,000 to keep music teachers and instruction going uninterrupted.