Looking Ahead: 2016-17 Grants Awarded

The first day of school is in three weeks and the Student Advancement Foundation is committed to supporting another successful year for GRPS and its students. On August 2, 2016, the Foundation board approved over $200,000 in programmatic grants for the 2016/2017 s
chool year.

These grants address a panoply of needs, including a kiln for the Alger Middle School art classroom, environmental-themed books for the CA Frost library, enrichment trips to Blandford Nature Center and a place-based learning week at the Grand Rapids Public Museum. All of these grants provide financial support beyond the district’s available budget and are critical to creating a well-rounded learning environment.
Principal Jerry McComb of Gerald R. Ford Academic Center shared that their strings program, starting its fourth year at Ford, “is a highlight for our students. They love to perform and my students never want to miss school when they have class with Ms. Wunder.” One GRPS art teacher remarked, “[SAF] makes it possible for our students to have the kind of art experience they deserve!” For the 2016/2017 school year, SAF is renewing its support of GRPS arts and music programs through a $51,500 arts supplies grant.

Placing focus on another need, GRPS is updating their library collections to include an increasingly broad selection of titles that feature diverse perspectives and subject matter to support district goals around literacy. Thanks to technology that helps identify reading trends and circulation rates, GRPS is becoming increasingly adept at customizing the school library system to match students’ interests. For example, last school year GRPS purchased a collection to support curriculum during Black History Month and saw a 60% increase in circulation in one month alone. Supporting the school district’s efforts to help all students develop a love of reading, SAF has approved a grant of $23,570 for district-wide library purchases.

Other grants approved at the SAF’s August 2 board meeting for the 2016/2017 school year include:

  • $4,540 for district band, orchestra and choir festivals, providing middle and high school music students and their teachers an opportunity to attend clinics with outside judges, who give critical, yet encouraging, feedback that fosters broader learning and helps improve their skills.
  • $33,720 to provide the Teach for the Watershed program to all GRPS sixth grade students. This experiential science learning takes place at local rivers or streams and helps students examine water quality, assess the environmental impact of our daily living, and consider pursuing future careers in the science field.
  • $5,000 special grant to target the purchase of materials aligned with the environmental science theme of CA Frost—just one step to help ensure all district schools have books and even digital titles that engage and enlighten all kinds of readers.
  • $28,000 for first and third grade students to experience Blandford Nature Center.
  • $24,500 for students in first through sixth grades to visit local arts and cultural organizations.
  • $720 to purchase books for all second grade classrooms to read inpreparation for attending a children’s play at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre.
  • $7,000 for percussion instruments and equipment for high school band programs.
  • $3,000 to provide the “Opera-tunity” project, in collaboration with Opera Grand Rapids, for students of Alger Middle School.
  • $3,300 to support transportation for the fifth grade Immerse program at the Grand Rapids Public Museum.
  • $4,500 to purchase a new kiln for Alger Middle School.

Make sure to stay tuned! Throughout the year, we’ll be blogging about these and other programs—bringing you insight from participating students, teachers, and parents.

These grants are possible because of the incredible generosity of this community. If you share our vision—that all children have what is needed for a first-rate education—please consider supporting the SAF.

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