On Thursday, Sept. 6, the Foundation for Springfield Public Schools announced more than $148,796 in grants as part of their annual Back to School Awards program. Individual teachers apply for these monies, and more than 40 individual grants were awarded by committee. This year’s criteria focused on programs in the areas of innovation, collaboration, engagement and school improvement plans.
The Community Foundation of the Ozarks contributed $25,000 of the total, the third installment in a three-year, $75,000 agreement to help fund high-impact projects in Springfield schools as part of the CFO’s Community Response challenge grant cycle. This year’s grant help fund a number of collaborative, multi-school projects, including:
Portland Elementary: WriteSteps program ($9,456.11)
Pipkin Middle School: Wresting Club, which also benefits Study and Reed middle schools and Central High School ($9,392.48)
Glendale High School: Generational Garden ($2,549.48)
Pipkin Middle School: Lincoln Cemetery Project ($1,040)
Pipkin Middle School, which hosted Thursday’s presentation announcing the grants, was the largest single recipient, with eight awards totaling more than $19,000. Pipkin drama and language arts teacher Mandy Boone’s Pipkin Drama Club (which she co-sponsors with another teacher) received $578, which will help the after-school group pay for materials, costumes and production rights for the annual student production. With the help of Central High School drama students, Pipkin will produce its play between October and March, with shows both for the school and the community.
Pipkin Principal Tim Zeigler said the after-school programs, while largely non-academic, do tend to reach the most kids on a day-t0-day basis, and encourage collaboration among schools. He lauded the teachers for taking the time and energy to not only run these programs, but to apply for the grants.
“The teachers are the ones who put the hours in and who wright the grants and, ultimately, who help the kids,” TK said. “So let’s thank the teachers.”
The Foundation for SPS continues to raise money to fund in-school projects, which they seek to make available throughout the year. You can learn more at supportSPS.org or by calling (417) 523-1044.