$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

Grants fund projects not part of core budget in 49 Madison schools
$78K in grant funding goes toward creative, innovative projects

Grant funding to support creative and innovative projects not funded within the core school budget was approved for 49 Madison schools Tuesday, according to a release.

The Foundation for Madison’s Public Schools approved $78,290 for the grants, officials said. The grants are part of the Foundation’s School Endowment initiative, which is the first of its kind in the country.

“As budgets continue to tighten, the foundation’s role and our community’s support of public education are becoming increasingly important,” FMPS Executive Director Stephanie Hayden said. “These grants provide the tools and support to enrich education opportunities for the more than 27,000 Madison public school students.”

Some of the projects funded by the grants this year include establishing an after-school program for girls at Cherokee Marsh Middle School to build and program robots to engage them in engineering and software development; supporting a program to send 10 economically-disadvantaged students from East High School and four staff members to a sister school in Kenya during the summer of 2015 to foster educational desires and worldwide problem solving; and purchasing an animation station at Toki Middle School for their media center to create a Makerspace where students can explore, discover, invent and create while learning skills for the 21st century.

Other projects include incorporating youth culture and movement into daily instruction at Olson Elementary School by bringing in a hip-hop artist, purchasing sensory items for student use in the classroom at Black Hawk Middle School and offering Freenotes, durable instruments designed for spontaneous musical express, at Emerson Elementary School.

Since the program started in 2003, more than $500,000 has been granted to Madison schools, according to the release. Every Madison public school has its own endowment and the annual income is used to support programs and activities that are beyond the schools’ budgets.

A grants committee at each school, often made up of staff, teachers, students and parents, supervises disbursement of the funds, according to the release. The grants are made possible through community donations.