Springfest is around the corner, and all funds raised through Springfest are used by the Parents’ Association (PA) to make a positive impact on the entire Park School community.
Among the exciting ways the PA apportions these resources is in funding Faculty & Curriculum Grants. If a teacher or staff member has a great idea in the middle of the year, but it falls outside of the budgeting cycle of the school, it is possible to request a PA grant to help get the idea off the ground.
Over the past decade, the PA Faculty & Curriculum Grants Committee (FCGC) has approved grants that encourage faculty to innovate and experiment with curriculum and student experience. Thanks to the funds raised through Springfest and Auction, the current 2019-20 budget for Faculty & Curriculum Grants is $24,000, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of the annual PA budget.
As categorized below, these grants support faculty initiative and creativity in individual classrooms, throughout divisions, and across the whole school community.
LEAF GRANTS offer targeted support for classrooms, events, extra-curricular activities, or the broader school community.
ACORN GRANTS support a “seed” of an idea/innovation, often exploratory in nature.
BRANCH GRANTS support innovations that “branch out” across classrooms, grades, divisions and/or departments, to create powerful collaborations and learning.
All applications begin with evaluation and approval by the Division Head prior to submission to the PA FCGC co-chairs Samantha Kaplan and Elaine Hamilton and committee vote.
So far, PA grants this year have included:
- Mindfulness development – Leaf Grant for first graders
- Occupational Therapy development – Leaf Grant for prekindergarteners
- Literacy intervention – Branch Grant for Lower Division students
- Shared Shakespeare Theater Experience – Branch Grant for all Upper Division students
- Museum of Fine Arts and Park School Partnership – Branch Grant that provides free access to Park students, families and faculty to all the MFA has to offer
Last year, the PA was able to provide 20 grants to faculty and staff. Here’s just a sampling:
- Grades 2 & 3 (and other interested students): Haitian Dance rehearsal, choreography, and performance.
- Grade 4 Science (and some Grade 5 students): A pilot for new growth cycle curriculum: Blanding’s Turtles in the Classroom, in partnership with Grassroots Wildlife Conservation.
- Grade 8 Science and Social Studies: Brought Model UN methods to develop a curriculum around the Right to Clean Water.
- Grades 3-5: Ruby Bridges invited to speak at morning meeting, enhancing the curriculum around social justice and advocacy. Jointly funded by Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee.
- Entire School: Professional Development for Educators, introducing innovative and successful education programs in Finland and Estonia.
Funds raised through Springfest allow the FCGC to support the PA goals of Community Building, Student Enrichment and Grants, and Faculty/Staff Appreciation.