Inglewood Educators Awarded $30,000 in Grants for Creative Academic Programs
The fourth annual mini-grant reception opened with a moving rendition of “Wind beneath my Wings” by Stephanie Scoggins, director of Parent School’s choir—one of 36 programs to receive a mini-grant award this year to support creative school projects. In total, $30,000 in mini-grants, ranging from $500 to $1,500 each, was awarded to Inglewood Unified School District (IUSD) teachers and program directors at a reception on June 1st in the Hollywood Park Turf Club.
Hollywood Park Racing Charities, Inc. and Inglewood Educational Foundation (IEF) fund the mini-grant awards jointly. The Inglewood Educational Foundation is a nonprofit fundraising organization that provides scholarships to college bound students and financial support for a variety of educational programs that benefit students and teachers in the Inglewood Unified School District.
Hollywood Park Racing Charities, Inc. came up with the idea for the mini-grant program four years ago as a way to provide support to Inglewood Unified School District. “The mini-grants reward the creativity of individual educators while providing immediate assistance to a wide variety of projects which benefit students at the classroom level,” said Norm Cravens, Director of Community Relations for Hollywood Park.
Literacy coach Megan Faux-McDaniel from Bennett-Kew Elementary School agrees. “I think we are fortunate to have the mini-grant program for teachers,” she said. “Teachers are naturally creative individuals. Unfortunately without funding to realize their concepts, they are sometimes unable to provide children with the opportunity to experience these projects.” As a classroom teacher, McDaniels put melodies to multiples to help students get better at “skip counting,” a skill important to multiplication and division. Thanks to the mini-grant, she will now be able to produce a professional CD of her multiplication melodies, so that each teacher will be able to take advantage of her time-proven technique.
To apply for the awards, teachers and staff submitted written proposals detailing how the funds would be used to support innovative educational programs at their schools. This year, Inglewood educators submitted a record 84 applications, demonstrating not only their wealth of creative ideas, but also the commitment that they have both to their profession and to their students. Committees from Hollywood Park and Inglewood Educational Foundation selected the award recipients based on the applications.
At City Honors High School, grant funds will be used to offset the cost of Advanced Placement exams—which, at $82 per exam, can make quiet a dent in students’ wallets. “We wanted to help provide open access for more kids,” explained teacher Eric Balley, who applied for the mini-grant with fellow teacher Jennie Linder.
Hudnall Elementary School 2nd-grade teacher Maria Morales applied so that she could take students on a field trip to Green Meadows Farm, where they will see first-hand some of the things they are learning about in the classroom. Real-life experience is important to help students make connections with their learning. For example, during last year’s trip to the Museum of Natural History, Morales’ students saw “amber” and an egg that had “hatched”—two of their vocabulary words. “You know you taught them well when they say, ‘Oh! This is what we studied in class!’” Morales said.
Other 2006 mini-grant awards include funds for classroom reading materials, financial literacy education, band and choir, technology, a science center, social studies, cultural awareness, an Algebra Institute, California High School Exit Exam tutoring, and the Inglewood Schools Television (ISTV) News program, to name a few. The ISTV news program is aired on cable television channel 34 in Inglewood and 35 in Los Angeles, Saturdays at 10 a.m. and Mondays at 7 p.m.
“The Inglewood Educational Foundation is pleased to be part of this project,” said President Leroy Bobbitt, “so that we can help the children of Inglewood to enjoy experiences that they wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to enjoy.”
Host and program planner Maurice Wiley announced progress on efforts to tie the mini-grant program in with the IUSD Adopt-a-School program, in which community businesses and organizations “adopt” schools by providing time and resources to benefit children. One example is Bank of America, which recently agreed to work with City Honors teacher Valerie Felix and her Financial Literacy and Investment Club.
“We are extremely fortunate in Inglewood to have partners that recognize how important it is to support teachers’ efforts to extend the learning experience for their students,” said Inglewood Superintendent Dr. Pamela Short-Powell. “We appreciate the generosity of Hollywood Park and the Inglewood Educational Foundation from the bottom of our hearts.”
For information regarding the mini-grant program and the Inglewood Educational Foundation please contact Maurice Wiley at (310) 419-2705.
Page updated 11.27.06