Here’s how we can make a difference for local teachers and their students
You can make a difference for a teacher and a class near you.
The North Central Education Foundation helps teachers in our region provide unique hands-on learning opportunities through its annual grant program. The foundation, which is the philanthropic arm of the North Central Educational Service District, was able to fund 159 teacher grants this year totaling more than $44,000, the highest number of grants given out in the history of the foundation.
However, there are dozens of other worthy classroom grants that could not be funded this year submitted by teachers who need a little help to bring a creative program into their classroom, according to Eldene Wall, who coordinates the program.
There are dozens of worthy grant applications available for adoption that would make a meaningful difference to students, Wall told me. The grants are $300 per classroom, which makes it affordable for folks in our region who believe in the value of education to make a tangible difference in a classroom.
For community members who are inspired to adopt a classroom grant, the foundation makes it easy to find a teacher or a project. People can go to www.loveteachers.org and click on the “2022 grants for adoption” tab on the left. You can look for the names of teachers you know, find projects that inspire you, or look for schools that you or a family member once attended.
You can make a donation and mention the classroom you’d like to support. It’s a pretty seamless process.
We are blessed to have countless great teachers in our region who give their heart and soul to help inspire and encourage kids. The adopt-a-grant effort is a way to support hands-on learning opportunities.
I am a big fan of this program because I’ve seen how it impacts students and teachers. My parents, Wilfred and Kathleen Woods, set up the Woods Family Music and Arts Fund to support arts programs in the region. Each year, $5,000 from that fund is used to support 16 teacher grants that are music and arts related.
Invariably, we receive notes from teachers and their students who share how those funds are used in the classroom and those cards and pictures are touching. Last spring, I was visiting Mansfield School and bumped into retiring art teacher Marie Goulet, who showed me pottery students created thanks to funding from NCEF.
A check for $300 may not seem like a lot of money, but when the foundation gives out these checks in late October each year at a special award celebration, the mood is festive and jubilant. It’s a big deal to these teachers and you can see that it really means a lot.
Teachers have an increasingly challenging job meeting students where they are and helping them get excited about learning. Students come from a wide range of backgrounds and teachers have to adapt their methods and approaches to meet those diverse needs.
As a former board member of the foundation, I had the opportunity to meet countless teachers who brought enthusiasm, energy and a passion for helping kids. They love kids and we can help them by supporting this program.