PSD Foundation Awards over $96,000 in Grants to 65 Classrooms Across the District
Since 2020, the Poudre School District Foundation awarded $96,172 in grants to educators for classroom and student-centered programs related to workforce readiness, mental health and belonging, literacy, and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) thanks in large part to gifts from United Way of Larimer County, Adolfson & Peterson Construction, FNBO, and RB+B Architects.
Impact grants replace what were known as the foundation’s long-time Supporting Partners in Education, or SPiE, grants that were focused on innovation in the classroom. The new Impact grants of up to $2,000 are awarded to educators with programs that align to PSD’s priorities, including graduation with options, literacy and mental health and belonging.
“It is thrilling to offer grants again. This is what the foundation was created for – to make an impact in the community and bring resources to ideas or projects that may not be funded otherwise,” said PSD Foundation board Past President Arthur Sintas.
“It is exciting work. It brings us back to our mission and who we are as an organization, and it allows us to hear the stories and impact that we as board members want to see,” Sintas said.
In spring 2019, the foundation board decided to pause the SPiE program. In the face of new pandemic-related challenges, the foundation then turned its full support to the Family Compassion Fund, providing direct support for families. From there, the board re-envisioned its grant program to align with current district goals so that funds are used strategically to complement the good work already being done in schools.
At Fort Collins High School, Claire Skelly, an Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) teacher, was surprised by the first grant she’s ever been awarded in support of literacy. The funding will pay for books for 32 students in a current ninth-grade class – as well as benefit many AVID students to come.
“The book study will bring awareness to diverse issues and hopefully will instill a love of reading in the students,” Skelly said.
Katie Dionesotes, an Integrated Services teacher at Johnson Elementary School, submitted a grant to support the entire student body at Johnson by creating a wellness room. The future space will be available to all students whose needs are identified by the Student Services and behavior teams.
“Our school would benefit from a space in our building that could provide students with strategies and support for early intervention to avoid escalations,” she said. “We have multiple students throughout the building who struggle with mental health needs, sensory integration, and overall require calming support.”
Charlene Peterson, the media specialist at Lincoln Middle School, submitted a grant on behalf of a science teacher at Lincoln. Using the “Trout in the Classroom” environmental program, over 450 seventh- and eighth-grade students will raise Trout from eggs to fingerlings and then release them into the wild. Students, regardless of academic and physical ability, learn about ecosystems and conservation in a hands-on way.
“Students will benefit from experiential learning opportunities in science that make science fun and relevant,” said Peterson. The program will also provide students with an introduction into conservation careers.
The Impact grants could not happen without the generosity of donors, as well as the PSD Foundation board members’ time in selecting and awarding the grants.
Sintas specifically wanted to highlight his colleagues on the PSD Foundation Board of Directors who, as volunteers, have kept the foundation going for the past two years.
Looking to the future, Sintas hopes to see more donations, which means more grants.
The PSD Foundation will offer a new round of funding in fall of 2023.