Education foundation awards $110,000 in grants to district teachers
Some view Friday the 13th as a date of uncertainty and bad luck, but contrary to any superstitions, Friday, Dec. 13, brought excitement in the form of thousands of dollars to Northwest ISD educators for their students.
“This is the best day of the year for our education foundation,” said Emily Conklin, executive director of the Northwest ISD Education Foundation. “I guess you could say the holidays came early!”
The Northwest ISD Education Foundation (or NEF) raises funds to award teaching grants across Northwest ISD’s 30 campuses. On Dec. 13, the grant brigade (composed of NEF board members as well as NISD administrators, teachers, donors and community volunteers) made surprise visits, awarding 45 grants totaling $110,000 to 21 campuses.
“It is well known that teachers use money out of their own pockets to fund ideas and supplies for their classroom,” Mrs. Conklin said. “The education foundation’s grant program gives teachers an opportunity to write a grant to best support their ideas through monetary resources and community support.”
Much of that support comes from NISD’s own staff members through the foundation and school district’s Employee Giving Campaign. The rest of the grant dollars are funded through community donors and business partners.
Jeanne Mason-Howerton, a teacher at the district’s Special Programs Center, expressed her gratitude and surprise after pouring her heart into a project for her students to use the beauty of the outdoors to enhance their learning through the purchase of picnic tables and benches.
“This grant for outdoor learning is so incredibly important for our students and is something we are so passionate about,” Mrs. Mason-Howerton said. “This just means the world to us.”
To date, the foundation has provided more than $1.8 million in grants to Northwest ISD classrooms over the course of its 20-year existence. Additionally, the foundation raises funds to support students for scholarship opportunities; it awards scholarships each May prior to graduations.