Grant Day is a much anticipated event for the Westfield Education Foundation. On Sept. 28, WEF board members and volunteers partnered to surprise 44 Westfield Washington Schools applicants with more than $32K in grants.
WEF launched in 1986, and its mission has always been to work alongside WWS to empower and invest in Westfield students and staff.
Teachers and other WWS staff were invited to apply between June 6 and Sept. 7 for grants within one of four categories: Innovation/Arts, Literacy/Reading/Foreign Language, Math/Science/Social Studies and Wellness/Mental Health. Every grant has a $1,000 cap, and awarded funds must be used during the 2023-24 school year.
Each year, volunteer grant readers use a rubric created by the WEF Grant & Scholarship Committee to score anonymous grant applications as they are received.
“We had a record number of grant requests submitted this year,” said Ashley Knott, WEF executive director. “Although we can’t award every application with a grant, we try to award grants to every school in every category.”
Since Grant Day, the number of grants awarded has risen to nearly 50. Some unfilled requests have been forwarded to school PTOs, which may be able to meet even more requests.
Through community partners, such as Community First Bank of Indiana, the Westfield Lions Club, the McCormick Family Foundation and other donors, WEF provides resources to enrich teaching in WWS and promote lifelong learners.
In addition to community partnerships, around $10K of the awarded funds this year came from money generated from Rocks stadium blankets. With every $75 donation to WEF, supporters receive one 60-inch by 80-inch Rocks stadium blanket.
Another major focus of WEF is awarding scholarships to students. The applications open Nov. 2 via a common Google form available to WHS students online through Naviance.
“WEF welcomes volunteer grant and scholarship application readers who want to see, hear, read and report,” said Knott.
To volunteer or learn more, visit wwswef.org/.
To watch a video, go to bit.ly/WEFGrantDay2023.
INVESTMENTS IN INNOVATIONS
Word for Word
As a club at Westfield High School, Verbatim encourages all students to submit poems, short stories, essays, editorials, art and photography, Once a year, student staff and sponsors pick the best of the best to be published in an all-original literary magazine in May. (Verbatim creative submissions can be found online at whsdigital.com.)
“We truly could not afford to get it published without the help of the Westfield Education Foundation that allows us to pay for roughly half of the publishing costs,” WHS English teacher and Verbatim sponsor Katy Harbison said.
Westfield Intermediate School teacher Lisa Crist applied for a grant to transform the shared closet space between her classroom and Olivia Carlstedt’s fifth-grade classroom into a calm room to allow students to take breaks, self-regulate and refocus as needed. Godby’s Home Furnishings donated a couch for the space.
Exercise for Everyone
When Westfield Middle School wellness teacher Amy Abriani broke her leg this summer, she was devastated. She knew that if she was feeling frustrated, WMS students with injuries might feel the same way.
With a WEF grant, she will purchase a SkiErg for the WMS weight room. The upper body cardio machine will be available to anyone for workouts but will be specifically useful for students who would not be able to participate in PE due to lower body injuries. Abriani wants all her students to see they have alternatives when injured and hopes to have the SkiErg in the weight room by winter break.
Teamwork for Dreamwork
Shamrock Springs Elementary School STEM teacher Susan Hahn came together with other elementary STEM teachers to expose students to “exciting and relevant” technology “early in their education.” WEF granted them funding to purchase eight drones to be shared and utilized across all six elementary schools as part of a fourth-grade unit on coding.
In the Books
Amber Anania, Westfield Middle School language arts teacher and book club sponsor, wrote in her grant application, “This year I have a record number of book club members and not enough books.” She requested funds to purchase books so there would be no cost for students to participate. The mother of a book club participant, Teresa Gift with the McCormick Family Foundation, stepped up to fill the need.