This summer we will feature some 2014 – 2015 school year highlights as well as some of the exciting things that Jenison Public Schools are doing throughout the summer! Please join us each week to discover something new and celebrate a fantastic and exciting school year!
The Jenison Education Foundation began in 1995 by a group of community members interested in supporting the academic programs of Jenison Public Schools. JPEF Trustee, Jen Postema, says, that “[the founders’] vision was to give teachers and administrators the resources to try new ideas in our classrooms and inspire creative educational ideas.” Their mission is and always will be: “To enrich the education of Jenison students by providing funding and resources for enhanced programs and innovative learning.” In the early years the Foundation gave over $200,000 in grants and have since invested in the Grand Rapids Community Foundation to ensure the long-term success of the JPEF. This summer the JPEF awarded 21 grants worth $16,000 to teachers throughout the district!
“We have always thrived due to the enthusiasm of our Board of Trustees and our current board is as strong and active as ever. In 2014 the Foundation took the organization in a new direction by hiring a part time Development Director, Debra Johnson, who solicits donations from businesses and corporations throughout the year to support the Foundation’s grant programs.” 2015 will be the celebration of the 20th year for the organization and they are hoping it is their best yet!
The JPEF is a resource for all JPS teachers and “over the years the grants have covered ALL academic areas in JPS. We’ve supported projects from new and innovative technologies, guest speakers and performers to mentor our students in addition to new and innovative materials for classrooms.” This summer grants were given in the areas of Science, Math, Life Skills, Media, Technology and Language Arts.
Bauerwood Principal, Crystal Morse and 5th Grade Teacher, Meagen Russ, applied and won a grant to launch a Be Nice program at the school stating, “It is our hope that educating our youngest students and instilling a passion for kindness in each one within the safe and loving school climate at Bauerwood will carry over to the secondary buildings.” Jan Staley, Media Specialist at Rosewood and Bursley Elementary Schools received a grant to purchase much-needed Spanish language popular fiction books for upper elementary students in the Spanish Immersion program. At the High School, Science Teacher, Karina White, was awarded a grant to for a Grow Light and Stand which will give students “access to learning about plant growth and development , the effects of light [and lack of it] on ecosystems and the impact of soil quality on plant growth.” Many more grants were given this summer for technology programs used in the curriculum, manipulatives for hands-on learning and even ebooks!
Jen Postema is excited about the ways that JPEF continues to support the work of teachers in our schools and says, “One of JPEF’s key missions is to encourage creative and innovative educational ideas. We hope our funds will encourage exploring new ways to introduce ideas to our students. The foundation hopes to provide the fund so teacher’s can innovate.”
If you would like to learn more about the Jenison Education Foundation and keep up with their projects throughout the year, you can start by “Liking” their Facebook page which is linked here. Also, check out their website and consider donating to the foundation. 100% of contributions stay in Jenison and are given back to JPS classrooms.