For some Friday the 13th brings uncertainties and bad luck, but contrary to any superstitions, today brought excitement in the form of thousands of dollars to Northwest ISD educators for their students.
“This is the best day of the year for our Education Foundation,” said Emily Conklin, executive director of the Northwest ISD Education Foundation. “I guess you could say the holidays came early!”
The Northwest ISD Education Foundation (or NEF) raises funds to award teaching grants across Northwest ISD’s 30 campuses. Today, the Grant Brigade (made up of NEF board members as well as NISD administrators, teachers, donors and community volunteers) made surprise visits, awarding 45 grants totaling $110,000 to 21 campuses.
It is well known that teachers use money out of their own pockets to fund ideas and supplies for their classroom,” Mrs. Conklin said. “The Education Foundation’s grant program gives teachers an opportunity to write a grant to best support their ideas through monetary resources and community support.”
Much of that support comes from NISD’s own staff members through the foundation and school district’s Employee Giving Campaign. The rest of the dollars are funded through community donors and business partners.
Jeanne Mason-Howerton, a teacher at the district’s Special Programs Center, expressed her gratitude and surprise after pouring her heart into a project for her students to use the beauty of the outdoors to enhance their learning through the purchase of picnic tables and benches.
“This grant for outdoor learning is so incredibly important for our students and is something we are so passionate about,” said Mrs. Mason-Howerton. “This just means the world to us.”
To date, the foundation has provided more than $1.8 million grants to Northwest ISD classrooms in its 20-year existence. Additionally, the Foundation raises funds to support students for scholarship opportunities. Those are awarded each May prior to graduation.