At its May Board meeting, Spring Branch Education Foundation (SBEF) approved $128,522.68 in grants to fund diverse education-enhancing projects throughout Spring Branch Independent School District.

Running for the Arts

In spite of cancelling the 2016 Running for the Arts due to foreboding weather forecasts, Spring Branch Education Foundation says nearly 2,300 participants registered for the run.

Proceeds allowed Board members to award $40,000 to the district’s Fine Arts department to fund field trips for second through eighth graders. Students see the city’s premier visual and performing arts groups, many for the first time. The Health Fitness department, which helps facilitate the run, received $11,205.

“Though we were disappointed that weather prevented the run, we’re grateful for the community’s continued support,” says Cece Thompson, SBEF’s executive director. “Running for the Arts has become a community festival. We look forward to May 6, 2017, when we hope the weather will be more cooperative!”

Campus and District Grants

Twice each year, the Foundation calls for grant applications, up to $5,000 each, from any of its 46 school campuses. District-wide projects are eligible for larger grants. Both faculty members and volunteers are encouraged to apply.

“Through these grants, Spring Branch Education Foundation provides students and staff with opportunities for innovative projects,” says Donnie Roseman, a member of the SBEF Board of Directors and chair of the Program and Assessment Committee. “Community members make these grants possible by donating to the Foundation and by supporting its fundraisers.”

The Foundation awarded six district-wide grants:

  • Altharetta Yeargin Art Museum – The grant will fund Road Shows that take the museum to first-grade classrooms and Study Trips for second graders who travel to the museum. Both programs are closely coordinated with grade-level curriculum.
  • Babes (Basic Awareness Basic Education Students) World – All SBISD students will benefit from this substance abuse prevention curriculum that involves their world (youth, family, school, community, organizations).
  • The Great Debate – Seven freshman students will participate in a summer communication-enhancing program sponsored by the National Hispanic Institute. Students will learn research and debate skills and experience a university setting.
  • J. Landon Short Mini-Grants for Educators – This block grant provides individual grants to SBISD educators who wish to go beyond standard curricula activities and materials to enrich the learning environment. It fosters new best practices for teaching and learning.
  • SBISD Making and Beyond – Every SBISD student will build STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) skills with a variety of activities, including origami, crafts, Legos and more. District librarians and science teachers will be trained on the materials and programs.
  • SpringBoard Mentor Program – Almost 600 students on 31 SBISD campuses spend an hour each week with mentors thanks to this grant. The relationships help students build self-confidence, develop communication and interpersonal skills, discover their passions and find meaningful connections between school and the future.

Other grants were designated for campus projects:

  • Academy of Choice – The Restorative Archive will allow students to document their written autobiographical stories while gaining technology and public speaking skills.
  • Bendwood School – iPads will help upper-elementary students engage with each other through TodaysMeet and other technology resources.
  • Buffalo Creek Elementary – The Health Fitness department partners with the YMCA to offer first and second graders water safety and swim instruction. While the YMCA provides free lessons, this grant will provide transportation.
  • District Alternative Education Program – All secondary students will learn important concepts through hands-on math and science labs.
  • Northbrook High – In alliance with its Strive for Excellence program, the Theatre Department will upgrade student dressing rooms.
  • Nottingham Elementary – Chromebooks, iPad Minis, headphones and specific apps will enhance third-grade English Language Learners’ written and spoken communications.
  • Pine Shadows Elementary – Kindergarten teachers will development a systematic approach to guided reading with a grade-focused literacy library.
  • Ridgecrest Elementary – Second graders will return to school to find a student-based learning environment. Different learning modalities will help students learn at their individual pace.
  • Rummel Creek Elementary – Three teachers will attend The Ron Clark Academy to learn innovative teaching techniques that allow students to grow as learners.
  • Spring Forest Middle – Class sets of Chromebooks will help sixth and seventh graders become self-directed learners and problem-solvers.
  • Stratford High School – A Chromebook computer lab will benefit incoming ninth graders who are struggling readers and other students will earn original credit through a blended virtual classroom.
  • Thornwood Elementary – Students with special needs will use a sensory-based kinesthetic lab to help them cope with emotions and reinforce social skills.

“We encourage PTAs, principals and teachers to apply for these grants,” said Thompson. “Our next call for fall grants is September 2016, and the recipients will be announced in December.”

Community members who wish to support a specific program at a designated campus can make a tax-deductible donation to the Foundation and earmark it for that school. Call 713.251.2381 or visit springbrancheducationfoundation.com for more information.