The second-graders in Mrs. Sanders’ and Mrs. Schroder’s Crestwood Elementary classes will have special light diffusers coming to their classrooms very soon. A student grant was awarded to this second-grade class by the Rockford Education Foundation (REF) last week. These students requested light lenses for the fluorescent light fixtures in their classroom. The students put in their own words their needs for these light diffusers or, as they called them, “skylights.” These diffusers have a photo printed on them, giving the effect of looking up to the trees or clouds. This request so moved the REF that a surprise presentation of the grant approval was recently held in the students’ classroom.
In addition to the student grant, the REF awarded 69 grant requests from community members, teachers and staff of Rockford Public Schools, Our Lady of Consolation, Assumption BVM, and Rockford Christian School for a total distribution of $35,035.93. In addition, an annual $1,000 grant was awarded to Rockford Seniors Unlimited. The REF gives out “mini” grants—those totaling less than $400—and “large” grants—those totaling between $401 and $3000.
A few of the mini grants approved this year included “Snap” circuits to build electrical and electronic circuits, art history teaching DVDs, GPS receivers for geocaching classes, as well as various teaching programs for reading, math and music classes.
The large grants funded this year included materials to support and enhance phonemic awareness for resource room students, and a program to provide fourth-graders the opportunity to raise Chinook Salmon eggs to be released into the Grand River. Also awarded were online math resources, a music file storage system for the Rockford Area Arts Commission, trees for a botanical park at North Rockford Middle School, as well as headphones and light diffusers for students with sensory and movement challenges.
The REF will again award grants in January. The deadline for grant applications is January 13, 2010. Applications can be found on the REF website at www.rockfordschools.org/ref. You can also find the REF on Facebook.