Foundation awards grants to support literacy, STEM programs

By: April Lehmbeck | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 3, 2014

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GROSSE POINTES — Grosse Pointers show their support for their local school district by making it possible for the Grosse Pointe Foundation for Public Education to give grants to the schools.

The latest grants totaled more than $40,000 and were presented to the Grosse Pointe Public School System Board of Education during its Nov. 24 board meeting.

The grants support a variety of programs and initiatives identified through a grant application process in which students, teachers, parents and district administrators submitted applications.

“It is the GPFPE’s (mission) to bring our community together to fund extraordinary education opportunities for our children, and that is what I’m here to do tonight,” Foundation Vice President Christie Scoggin said.

The foundation presented 13 grants that span elementary through both high schools. Individual grants range from about $800 to $7,700.

The grants included several literacy program purchases, as well as support for programs that support Science, Technology, Engineering and Math activities.

One of the literacy programs is the Lego Story Starter Classroom Pack for Mason Elementary School.

“This is a complete set of materials used in the classroom to engage students in reading and writing,” Scoggin said. “The classroom will use the supplies provided in the kit to create scenes, storyboards and plots, then extend the ideas into complete stories, which they will publish and present to their classmates.”

Another grant that the foundation approved is the Focus School Goal Grant, which will be given to Poupard Elementary for literacy intervention for students who have scored lower in reading.

In the area of STEM programming, money for Parcells Middle School’s robotics program was included in the mix. This program feeds into the robotics team at Grosse Pointe North High School. 

Funding for the Innovation Lab at North was another approved program.

“This is for state-of-the-art furniture, 3-D printer supplies and technology components for the transformation of a typical science lab classroom into a creative learning space for interactive classes and staff development,” Scoggin said.

“This new classroom puts students into a modern, collaborative space designed specifically for the purpose of soliciting creative, critical thinking and promoting group work, much like the entrepreneurial and career world. ” 

Besides the literacy and technology purchases, grants also support sensory space purchases for Parcells to be used to help students on the autism spectrum.

Every time the foundation presents its latest list of grants, the school board expresses its appreciation.

“I recently, within the last week, had an opportunity to hear Gov. (Rick) Snyder speak to a small group, and he talked about programs just such as those you were talking about — the robotics teams, solar car teams — and how important STEM research was, and STEM education,” board President Joan Dindoffer said. “It’s just so wonderful that we have the foundation to help us support these kinds of programs.”

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