Coupeville school foundation awards grants

Educators in the Coupeville School District got some help thanks to some timely community fundraising.

The Community Foundation for Coupeville Public Schools awarded around $3,000 worth of mini-grants to teachers at the elementary, middle and high schools as well as the district’s special education program.

The mini-grants were awarded in October, which is months earlier than previous years. Foundation vice president Diane Eelkema said the grants will be offered throughout the school year to help teachers in case a special project arises and they need help funding it.

The most recent round of mini grants helped fund equipment purchases, paid for field trips and an empowerment program at the middle school.

• Coupeville Elementary School fifth-grade teachers Joe Kemer and Deb Sherman received funding to pay for electronic books for the classroom.

• Special education teachers Sarah Wilson and Lisa Nguyen received a grant to pay for headphones that will help with individual instruction for students using computers.

• Middle school teachers Ken Stange and Lori Stolee received a grant to pay for a retreat at Camp Casey for middle school students participating in the Natural Helpers Program.

• Juvenile detention center teacher John Luvera received dollars to help with the food portion of a life-skills program.

• Elementary School first-grade teachers Cathy Ellsworth, Liz Sherman, Kathy Bayne, and Josiana Richter received help to pay for field trips to Padilla Bay and Rosario Beach as part of the students’ ocean studies unit.

• Middle school teacher Tom Zingarelli earned a grant to help pay for an empowerment program for middle school girls.

In addition to the money to help pay for teaching projects, Eelkema said the foundation also donated $500 to the elementary school and $500 to the middle and high school for what was described as a “needy kids fund.”

Eelkema said the money will be used by counselors to provide the basic needs to homeless students. Those things could include hygiene products, basic clothes, school supplies, emergency food and help pay for activity fees. Those funds would be replenished on an as-needed basis.

She credited recent fundraising efforts for allowing the foundation to provide mini-grants more than once a year.

For example, several restaurants held “Eat out for Kids” nights where a portion of the proceeds were donated to the foundation.

Ciao in Coupeville held such an event in October and has another one scheduled in February. Christophers on Whidbey has one scheduled in March and the Front Street Grill has one set for April, Eelkema said.

She noted that Aqua Gifts will hold a similar event Dec. 19.

The Community Foundation for Coupeville Schools is operated by an 11-member board.

Applications for mini-grants will be accepted in January and scholarships for students will be awarded in the spring.

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