Teachers from six elementary schools, Yukon Middle School and Yukon High School got a bit of surprise Monday after learning they would share more than $23,000 in grants from the Yukon Public Schools Foundation.
Thirty grants were awarded during events held throughout the district.
The first grants were awarded to 10 teachers during Skyview Elementary School’s Wake Up Skyview.
Some of the recipients, including Charissa Spruill, the school’s music teacher, have won multiple times.
Her grant of $650 purchase puppets that will be used to encourage students to sing.
It was her third grant application and the third time her projects have received funding.
Her first grant purchased xylophones for each student taking her class.
“I’ve known about foundation grants for the 15 years that I’ve taught in Yukon, but hadn’t written one until three years ago. … It is such a blessing that the community is willing to help out the schools this way,” she said.
Spruill said that there is no budget for her music class, so any extra supplies or activities either are paid for by her, or through fundraising activities.
“It’s a really big blessing. There are a lot of things in music class that the kids wouldn’t get to do,” she said.
Other teachers, she said, have written grants that are hands-on.
“The kids love it. It really makes school fun,” Spruill said.
Principal Carla Smith agreed.
Fifteen of the school’s teachers applied for grants.
“I am so proud of the effort these teachers have put forth into just brainstorming what creative things would help our kids and help them learn,” Smith said.
The principal said the funding comes in handy.
“It gives the teachers the feeling and the knowledge that the community supports them. That what they are doing is important and it matters. Kids aren’t going to just learn from a book. They need other things to help them make those connections. It allows them the creativity and flexibility to use their teacher autonomy and think of new ways to teach the standards,” Smith said.
“Sometimes with our kids, we have to think of them as the whole child. They need outlets. We have some future musicians, some future actors and actresses in our classrooms who are not just going to learn paper-pencil. They need to find creative outlets in which to show their knowledge and their talents and skills. It gives everyone an opportunity to explore those creative sides and maybe find a create spark for their future,” she said.
Marc Foreman, who is president of the school foundation, said helping teachers to be creative in how they educate students is the goal behind the grants.
“We want to assist teachers in the Yukon School District,” Foreman said.
The grants, he said, have a maximum value of $1,000 and can’t be used for things the district would normally purchase.
This year, 47 grant applications were submitted. Of those, 30 were funded.
Grants were awarded at eight of Yukon’s schools, including the 10 at Skyview, followed by seven at Yukon High School.
Three grants were awarded at Central, Ranchwood and Shedeck Elementary schools, while Yukon Middle School received two. Lakeview and Myers Elementary schools each received one grant.