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Beline Obeid

Foundation presents district $99,568 in gifts


December 06, 2012
Trustees from the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education board presented the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education with eight grants Monday, Nov. 26, at its monthly regular meeting of the board. Grants totaled $99,568, adding to the more than $1.6 million to date in grants awarded to the district's teachers, students, support staff, administrators and counselors.

"It's really a due diligent process and we work hard to do a good job and to be good fiduciaries of the $1.6 million that we've put into the district," GPFPE trustee Cat Ruffner said of the grant selection process, in which GPFPE board members worked closely with superintendent Tom Harwood and others to ensure approvals aligned with the foundation's and district's individual strategic plans, as well as their respective curriculum and technology plans.

"We're especially proud of this particular grant cycle because we're able to reach students at every level," Ruffner said. "We were able to reach the elementary schools, the middle schools and one of the high schools."

The eight grants awarded included:

•A $3,000 grant to Grosse Pointe South High School's solar car team, a student-run club constructing a solar car to race in the 2013 Dell-Winston Solar Car Challenge in July. "We're proud of the fact that students applied for this grant," Ruffner said. "That's unusual and it's really special."

•RAMP, or Recognized American School Counselor Association Model Program, for all three middle schools. It's a 3-year comprehensive program for middle school counselors, Ruffner said, "that would directly impact the culture of the classroom and success of instruction." For RAMP, the GPFPE awarded a $2,000 grant.

•Enhancement of instruction for all writing in the classroom for Maire Elementary School teacher Christina Pearson's fourth graders. The $600 grant helps fund a pilot program to allow students struggling with writing to learn to write more fluently, assisting with writing, spelling, word choice, editing and revising.

•Netbooks for Poupard Elementary School's fourth and fifth grade classrooms ($30,000) and wireless Internet and netbooks for Ferry Elementary School teacher Jim Fisher's fourth and fifth grade magnet class ($7,000). In both instances, grant submitters said the technology would enhance and strengthen classroom instruction for students.

•iLearn with iPads for students in Defer Elementary School's fourth and fifth grade magnet class. The iPads prepare students for career and college readiness, with multiple applications already identified that increase motivation and achievement in magnet programs, Ruffner said.

•Elementary school homework club for the district's five Title I elementary schools, including Defer, Ferry, Mason, Poupard and Trombly. The $19,968 grant helps fund the continuation of the pre-existing afterschool program, which supports daily curriculum by supplying systematic reinforcement of skills covered during school day.

•RAZ Readers for all nine elementary schools. For $30,000, the grant expands the program to all nine elementary schools, covering the complementary reading project that will allow kindergarten to third graders, as well as resource room students, opportunities to develop individualized reading skills through hands-on practice with award-winning, innovative technology. With the program, students receive a log-in and password to access just-right reading level books.

"As board president, I can say I know the board, the entire board appreciates all the hard work that the foundation puts in to choosing these grants and granting them to our children and our students of our district," said Judy Gafa, board president. "I really appreciate all the work you've done."

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