BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A sensory wall, a robotics project, coding lessons, and even a physics lesson using hot wheels. These are just some of the innovative projects Hoover teachers will be able to implement this year thanks to the Hoover City Schools Foundation grants.
“The purpose of the foundation is to provide programs for schools, teachers and students when the money is not there from the state,” explains Jeff Backus, the chairman of the grants committee. “These are innovative projects that are outside of the regular curriculum but help advance student studies and reach a lot of kids that wouldn’t be reached in standard ways.”
The foundation this year gave out more than 30 grants, totaling $49,380. The record number was due to the success of the foundations’ main fundraiser “Denim and Dinning” held in the spring, in addition to corporate donors. Parents also played a role in the fundraising this year through the “Commit to 36” campaign.
“We ask for everyone to give 36 dollars, one dollar for every week their kids are in school.” Explains Backus.
Teachers applied for the grants themselves last spring.
“In the spring we start the process, they submit an idea answering some basic questions, this is my idea, this is how much is going to cost, this what I am going to use to implement it. We also ask them what age range is going to affect,” explains Backus.
Every year the foundation receives more than 50 proposals, requesting over $80,000. Grants are awarded in $2,000 increments. These projects will affect thousands of students in all grades in the district.
“We are looking for things that are innovative things that are not just books for classrooms. A lot of STEAM projects, we have other grants for students that English is a second language,” explains Backus. “Sensory walls stood out to me the most, some students need a different outlet to let off steam.”
The projects are all designed for long term student benefit, and can be considered for more grants for expansion in the future.
“These are things that can progress through the years and be added onto. We can expand to it next year if we like the program,” says Backus.
Right now teachers are buying the equipment and supplies needed for their projects, which are expected to be fully implemented by November 15th.
You can learn about the grant proposal process and the Hoover City Schools Foundation here.