Georgetown ISD Education Foundation
The Georgetown ISD Education Foundation celebrated its sixth year of funding in April by awarding $34,125 in collaborative grants.
The purpose of the grant program is to fund innovative and creative educational projects that align with the district’s Learner Profile and impact student learning.
Teachers in the Georgetown Independent School District roll up their sleeves twice a year to brainstorm engaging projects and creative solutions for their students. They then present these ideas to the Georgetown ISD Education Foundation for funding.
“It never ceases to amaze me what the teachers in our schools do on a daily basis and the type of innovative thinking and stretching that goes into helping our students be prepared for the future,” says Greg Bowden, founder and chair of the foundation.
The GISD foundation awards grants to teachers and schools in two annual cycles, with each providing financial support for innovative opportunities. In the fall cycle, individual teachers submit proposals for classroom, school, or training programs, while the spring cycle funds larger, collaborative efforts. “We’re blessed at the education foundation to be able to provide grants twice each year,” Greg said.
Last fall, nearly $9,000 was awarded to 20 teachers across 11 campuses in GISD. Grant projects focused on supporting student needs, incorporating new technology, and funding creative art and science projects. In April, the foundation chose 13 projects across nine campuses and awarded $34,125 in collaborative grants.
“The spring cycle means large grants for groups of teachers, whether that’s a team of language arts or science teachers,” Greg added. “Those dollar amounts reach as much as $5,000.”
- All of the district’s elementary librarians collectively received $2,600 for green screens and stop motion animation, which will help them connect elementary students better to the curriculum and literature.
- “Reading for Success” at Mitchell Elementary will help students with learning disabilities become successful readers.
- “Decodable Reading” at Carver Elementary will provide Heggerty products that help with phonological awareness—i.e., the ability to work with sounds in spoken language. These skills set the stage for decoding, blending, and word reading in early education.
- “Award Winning Exploration Book Club” will provide eighth grade students at Benold Middle School with Newbery Award books. The Newbery Medal is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children to an author who has made a distinguished contribution to American children’s literature.
- McCoy Elementary teachers will have eight new virtual reality headsets, which will add a new and interactive dimension to learning.
- Georgetown High School science teachers Elise Lutz and Grace Lisenby received $4,500 for their project, “Light up the World with DNA.” The award will provide an electrophoresis system and miniPCR thermocycler for forensics and biotechnology classrooms. This equipment will allow students to separate DNA fragments for genetic testing and explore the nature of crime scene analysis.
NEXT STEP AWARD
In 2021, with funding from the Georgetown Education Foundation, GHS teachers Robert Thomas and Walker Nikolaus collaborated with Youth Drone Sports Championships to launch a drone program. Georgetown ISD is the first district in Texas to have a drone class and drone club. Their April 2022 proposal was worth an additional $4,900, which will fund the students’ Federal Aviation Administration part-107 unmanned aerial vehicle pilot’s certification—i.e., their drone license. (See story on p. 26.)
These unique opportunities give students the chance to engage with the curriculum in incredible ways and prepare for use of the technology in future careers.
BE PART OF IT
Fortunately, the Georgetown community is tremendously supportive of the foundation’s efforts. Donations are accepted year-round directly to the foundation at GISDEdFound.org, but one neighborhood group recently made a big splash by making the largest-ever single donation. υ
On May 12, the recently dissolved Village Homeowners Association (HOA) donated $450,000 and a 2.792 acre parcel of land valued at $343,568 to the foundation. The Village is a neighborhood of 549 homes off of Shell Road.
The HOA was created in 2008 by the developer to fund, build, and operate a community pool for the homeowners in two sections of the neighborhood. Last winter, after much discussion and insufficient funds to construct the pool, a homeowner majority voted to dissolve the HOA.
“The HOA laws in the State of Texas are strict and make dissolution very difficult, but the homeowners spoke loud and clear. I am proud our board did not give up and worked hard to allow the homeowners the opportunity to make their voices heard,” said Michael Charles, former President of the HOA. Since 2015, the foundation has operated as a fully volunteer board to support innovative learning in Georgetown ISD schools.
Greg Bowden accepted the check and said, “We are honored the homeowners and parents in the Village community would entrust us with this gift. It is a game-changer for our organization. We are humbly aware of the responsibility we have to be good stewards of these funds, which will provide a lasting legacy for students in GISD.”
Superintendent Dr. Fred Brent added, “As state funding shrinks for public schools, organizations like the Ed Foundation become increasingly essential to sustaining innovative programming. I am honored and humbled.”