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Grants Nourish Teacher Ideas

An annual teacher grant An annual teacher grant program, designed so ideas can be quickly funded and put into action, encourages Laguna Beach instructors, administrators and classified staff to submit proposals that will have a direct impact on students.

“Schoolpower allows us to go beyond the walls of the classroom and explore,” said Linda Hill-Lindsay, one of 16 teachers who will receive $87,417 in grants from the Schoolpower Endowment, the nonprofit entity that supports Laguna Beach public schools.

LBHS English teachers Sarah Benson, center, and Kristen Kaa, right, accept a $30,714 grant. With them is Schoolpower's Executive Director Robin Rounaghi, left, and LBHS Principal Joanne Culverhouse, partly hidden.

LBHS English teachers Sarah Benson, center, and Kristen Kaa, right, accept a $30,714 grant. With them is Schoolpower’s Executive Director Robin Rounaghi, left, and LBHS Principal Joanne Culverhouse, partly hidden.

“We know innovation starts in the classroom,” said Endowment President Bill Moore, who also presented the school district with an additional $100,000 to fund foreign language instruction and a strings program.

Hill-Lindsay’s middle school science students will have a new iPad print workstation in the fall as a result of the grant. Along with high school English department colleagues, teacher Jun Shen received a $30,000 grant for classroom technology that will impact each of his students. “It’s an amazing amount of generosity,” said Shen.

In addition to the regular Endowment funding, Wendy Offield, a former president of both Schoolpower and SchoolPower Endowment, stepped forward to fund $12,000 of arts-focused grants, including high school photography and video production equipment and an elementary school program that combines science, nature and art. Offield’s gift reflects a deep appreciation for the impact of arts education on current students as well as her own children, who are LBHS graduates.

Peggy Wolff, the Endowment teacher grants’ chair, said the program was valuable not just for funding grants but for the district-wide dialogue that the applications encourage. “Knowing what teachers believe will impact the classroom is very important,” said Wolff. “People can trust that their money is making a difference.”

“Schoolpower looks to the teachers for ideas,” said drama instructor Mark Dressler, who together with Artists Theatre manager Peter Roche received a grant to renovate the high school Greene Room. “It is very unusual. We Laguna Beach teachers do not take it for granted.”

 

To see the list of 2014-15 Teacher Grants, go to www.lbschoolpower.org and click on “Endowment.”

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