This year, the Frisco Education Foundation delivered their annual Grants for Great Ideas checks in style.
The FEF Grant Patrol pulled out of the parking lot in new mini vans on loan from partner Frisco Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram on November 2 and 4, loaded with balloons, hand clappers and a big surprise for winning Frisco ISD educators. Scott Mason of Frisco Dodge hosted kick-off breakfasts each morning for volunteers.
Grants for Great Ideas is a program of the Frisco Education Foundation offered to Frisco ISD educators to enhance the overall learning environment of students at the District, campus and classroom level.
This was a huge year for Grants for Great Ideas winners. Educators sought more than $300,000 in 129 grant applications. Of those, 96 teachers at 44 campuses received 61 grants totaling more than $103,000. These funds will enhance and elevate curriculum across the District.
While the Grant Patrol enjoyed starting their loaner vehicles’ engines and delivering good news and grant checks throughout the District, two educators at the Early Childhood School were really revved up with excitement when they discovered their grant application entitled “Start Your Engines” had been accepted.
The grant applied for by Jennifer Cox and Lindsay Brittain was inspired by a Delaware program called GoBabyGo! The concept is to provide specialized small cars to help students with mobility issues travel hallways or navigate play areas alongside their mobile peers.
“We like to measure our day not just in skill checks and data probes, but in moments of joy,” Brittain said. “Seeing our kids behind the wheel brings so much joy, not just to us and to those who are passing by, but most importantly, to these amazing learners. The look on the face of a kid who cannot control much in his (or her) environment, but can finally control where he goes and how he gets there, is the best feeling in the world!”
Cox explained that the generous grant from the Frisco Education Foundation provides the opportunity to purchase three off-the-shelf battery operated cars that she and Brittain will then modify to fit the needs of students who otherwise would not be able to drive this fun, exciting and liberating toy.
Each car will be adapted with a foam back, PVC pipe side rails, and strapping to ensure safety. The addition of a simple cause and effect button – located in a part of the car that works best for each student – can be activated by the student to move the car forward. Without the cars, these students would be dependent on teachers, parents or siblings to move them around; however, with these modified cars, students with little mobility will have every opportunity to play, explore and socialize alongside their classmates.
The Grants for Great Ideas program is very popular with FISD educators. Each fall, educators are invited to propose an innovative idea or project and describe how it would benefit student achievement. A committee selects winning applications and provides funds to make the ideas a reality. Projects are not otherwise funded by the District and would not be possible without the grant awards. These grants impact students across the District.
Frisco Education Foundation representatives, Frisco ISD School Board members, school namesakes, volunteers from the Frisco Women’s League and representatives from CoServ made up this year’s Grant Patrol.
“We alerted the principals, but teachers had no idea they had won until we walked in the door,” said Foundation Programs Specialist Terri West.
FEF funded makerspaces, coding clubs, additional science supplies, enrichment for fine arts programs, enhancements for special education classrooms and more. See the full list of 2016-17 winners.
“We really love the ideas that our Frisco ISD educators come up with for their classrooms,” said MJ Pritchard, FEF board president. “They are constantly looking for ways to engage students, make lessons meaningful and provide experiences that reflect the real world.”