WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (NOVEMBER 29, 2018) — The Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation (WASDEF) announced it recently awarded $24,009 in grants to support six programs and initiatives across the district.
Those awarded were among the foundation’s first this school year that have the potential to impact thousands of students now and into the future.
Three of the them were funded through the foundation’s annual Teacher Mini-Grant Program, which allows teachers to apply for up to $1,500 to support an innovative project or program. Those receiving funding are:
Curtin and Lycoming Valley Intermediate schools: Music teachers Jeff Smith and Don Fisher were each awarded $1,500 to purchase equipment to support the installation of recording studios in practice rooms at each of their buildings. In addition to other capabilities, the studios will allow students to use professional software to record individual, small group or large-group performances. The equipment also will allow students to create high-quality online performance portfolios using YouTube.
Williamsport Area Middle School: Teachers Dustin Brouse and Kelly Taormina-Keller were awarded $1,499 to support a shared program they developed that combines English Language Arts and technology using the gaming industry as its platform. The program will allow participating students to play school-appropriate video games to review for their peers, using the conventions of argumentative and persuasive writing and storytelling. Using the building’s new FutureLab, a technology education hub in the school’s library, students also will be able to get hands-on experience in studying careers related to gaming.
In addition to the Teacher Mini-Grant program, WASDEF also awarded three grants through its general funding request process:
Curtin and Lycoming Valley Intermediate schools: The intermediate school music program was granted $16,340 to support the implementation of a new digital music curriculum from the foundation’s Violet Compton Estate Fund. The new curriculum will form a foundation for digital music education for fifth- and sixth-grade students. It ultimately will connect them with the more advanced curricula already in place at the middle and high school levels.
Williamsport Area Middle and High schools: As part of a district-led effort to attract and retain teachers in a “grow your own” strategy, $1,000 was granted to the district in start-up funds for a new club called Educators Rising (formerly known as Future Teachers of America). The club allows advisors to “cultivate highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path to becoming accomplished teachers … extending through college and into the profession.”
The WASD music department: To support a special invitation to perform at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s annual holiday party, $2,170 was granted to the WASD music program to fund the cost of the trip. About 90 students from the district’s Millionaire Singers, Strolling Strings and Lycoming Valley will perform at the event on Dec. 20.
“The array of grants awarded in this round really complement the foundation’s mission of creating powerful classrooms and inspiring futures, and we're happy and proud to support them,” said Executive Director Greg Hayes. “Each provides added advantages to these amazing programs for our students that enhance the district’s career and college readiness focus.”
WASDEF is the recognized nonprofit affiliate of the Williamsport Area School District. The education foundation facilitates charitable giving and permanent legacies based on individual areas of interest in educational innovation, the arts, athletics and scholarships.