$100,000 in Engagement Grants Awarded in 2018-19 School Year

Learning to play traditional drums from Ghana, flying through zero-gravity space, reading one book as a school and giving back to the community are among the experiences granted to students through the annual Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools Engagement Grants.

This year, the Foundation for VPS awarded $100,000 in Engagement Grants to fund 52 projects and programs at 31 schools,” explains Nada Wheelock, Executive Director, Foundation for VPS. “Thank you to the generous individuals, businesses and organizations whose donations funded these opportunities which impact over 13,000 students. Enriching experiences, inside and out of the classroom, spark student interests, connect them to their passion, and help them envision and plan for their future success in college, career and life. ”

Since 1998, the Foundation for VPS has awarded more than one million dollars to fund innovative and exciting projects that enrich student learning.

“The Foundation grants provide students with experiences that bolster their classroom learning and nurture their creativity,” says Chris Olsen, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Vancouver Public Schools. “In addition, the Foundation provides resources that give hope and relief to families experiencing tough times. That sense of hope can mean the difference between a student engaging at school or being overwhelmed by their circumstances.”

The 2018-19 grant recipients include:

Chinook Elementary – Books for family engagement literacy night
Columbia River High – Field trips to the Portland Zoo, Clark College, Portland Japanese Gardens, WSU
Discovery Middle – Frisbees & badminton equipment; animal specimens for dissection; Teatro Milagro (bilingual Spanish theater); Cypher-Cure (hip-hop artists promoting the power of self-expression)
Felida Elementary – OMSI Science Festival
Fir Grove – Cooking & baking, woodworking and makerspace supplies to promote project-based learning
Fort Vancouver High – Transportation for field trips to support culminating events of Thrival 9th Grade & Thrival 11th Grade – year-long integrated projects to help students thrive in high school
Franklin Elementary – Hummingbird robotics equipment to bring coding to life
Fruit Valley Elementary – Singer, song-writer Steve Seskin works with students to compose, sing and record a song highlighting “My Story” to support school’s focus on perseverance and the impact of each day on future goals
Gaiser Middle – Field trips to Tenney Creek and Salmon Creek Parks to promote environmental responsibility through volunteerism
Harney Elementary – Author/illustrator Joe Cepeda; assemblies focused on the arts and sciences
Hough Elementary – Sensory tools and equipment to help students self-regulate in the classrooms
Hudson’s Bay High – Black History 101 Mobile Museum; motivational speaker Erin Jones)
iTech Preparatory – Physics students experience the High School Education Program at iFLY culminating in a zero-gravity flight experience
Jason Lee Middle – “One Book, One School” – reading “Slacker” to inspire students to take action and be involved in one’s community
King Elementary – T-shirts to promote college and career awareness
Lake Shore Elementary – Assemblies with the West African Drumming & Dance troupe and author-speaker Simon Calcavecchia to promote disability awareness
Lieser Campus – OMSI assemblies; supplies for the Lieser Garden and library books to promote social, emotional learning
Lincoln Elementary – PE equipment to enhance physical activity choices for special education students; Kelso’s Choice Posters to promote positive problem-solving strategies
Marshall Elementary – Sensory tools and equipment to help students self-regulate in the classrooms
McLoughlin Middle – Field trip to the Multnomah Falls, recording studio experience for choir students, ball pit for wheelchair bound Life Skills/Developmental Skills students to have a sensory environment outside of their wheel-chairs
Minnehaha Elementary – “One Book, One School” – reading “Wishtree” to promote inclusiveness
Ogden Elementary – “Steppin’ with Michael Galen” – learning to dance using body percussion style
Roosevelt Elementary – Family engagement events
Sacajawea Elementary – Field trips to the Portland Zoo and Oregon Children’s Theater
Salmon Creek Elementary – Field trip to the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center
Skyview High – MEChA Cesar L. Chavez Leadership Conference; MEChA mural to promote & celebrate diversity, parent engagement events; busing for “Senior Graduation Walk”
Thomas Jefferson Middle – Guest speaker to perform interactive curriculum telling the story of Rosa Parks; earth science equipment to enhance curriculum
Truman Elementary – Makerspace supplies; West African Drums/Percussion to enhance music classes
Vancouver Flex Academy – Physics and Algebra students experience the High School Education Program at iFLY culminating in a zero-gravity flight experience
VSAA – Transportation for students to perform community service at various locations in Vancouver
Washington Elementary – Mentor Text Kits in classrooms to support growth in reading and writing
VPS Elementary Schools – Safety Patrol year-end celebration; after-school dance program; computer science for special education students
VPS Middle & High Schools – Summer Shakespeare program; college readiness programs

The Foundation for VPS will begin accepting “Engagement Grant” applications for the 2019-20 school year in October 2019.