By: Kay Bjornen
With the start of the 2017-18 school year, the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation will begin accepting applications from staff for grants.
“The foundation is energized in the wake of a successful 2016-2017 school year, during which it increased its community engagement and provided over $125,000 to the Bartlesville public schools. The foundation funded grants for educators, projects for specific school sites, and the expansion of the district’s Project Lead the Way STEM initiative into all six of its elementary schools,” said BPSF Executive Director Blair Ellis.
Grants for educators were awarded in three areas: classroom grants, professional growth grants and experts in residence grants. Classroom grants are awarded twice a year to fund innovative approaches to stimulate thought or expand existing curricula.
Professional growth grants are awarded monthly to promote professional development through attendance at seminars, conferences and workshops. Experts in residence grants are awarded monthly to fund visits from a wide variety of experts that interact directly with students.
Kristin Flick, a second-grade teacher at Wayside Elementary, applied for a classroom grant to purchase miniature robots called “Ozobots” for her students. “I realized that my students interact with technology all day long but have no idea that they are capable of producing technology themselves,” said Flick, noting why she applied for the grant.
Students program the bots by drawing color-coded maps on paper and creating code for their bots on the computer. The grant provided enough funds to purchase two classroom sets so that next year they will be available for all Wayside second-grade students.
Julie Cooper realized that her Central Middle School students had a need to learn basic skills that went beyond those usually taught in a classroom.“There is no such thing as Home Economics anymore and I realized that my kids that have special needs really needed to know basic things like how to wash dishes,” said Cooper.
She applied for a grant to pay for household supplies and a laminator. The laminator is used to create waterproof folders that help her students learn before actually doing the skills. “The best part is that my kids just love it. They are happy to wash dishes or fold clothes. I can’t wait to apply for another grant. I have all kinds of ideas,” she said.
Bartlesville High School’s outdoor classroom is used for exploring the environment. Gary Layman, BHS science teacher, realized that his Environmental Science students were having trouble identifying some of the insect and plant specimens that they found because the available field guides were old and did not cover the correct range.
Layman received a grant to purchase a set of new field guides. “We needed guides for Kansas plants and wildflowers rather than the western United States. We use them to create identification pages that can be used by other students in the future,” Layman said.
This year, in addition to its established grant categories, the Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation has partnered with the Northern Oklahoma section of the American Chemical Society to offer science grants for educators to engage students in the study of science.
For more information about the grants and the impact the Foundation has in the Bartlesville community, visit the newly redesigned website at www.bpsfoundation.org.
Those wishing to contribute to these and other programs through the BPSF can contact Blair Ellis at 918-336-8600 extension 3523 or visit the website. The Bartlesville Public Schools Foundation is an affiliate of the Bartlesville Community Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization, and all contributions are tax deductible.