While educators across the state are facing budget cuts, teachers and staff in the Teton County School District have something to look forward to in the New Year. The Teton County Education Foundation granted approximately $23,000 in support of 68 teacher-driven projects in public schools beginning in January.
Susan Eriksen-Meier is the executive director at the Teton County Education Foundation. She said applications to the Classroom Grants Program doubled this year.
“We knew this was going to happen because there is less discretionary funding available to the instructional staff,” said Erikson-Meier. “Fortunately between the local donors, the Rendezvous PTO, and the Community Foundation of Jackson Hole we were able to double the funding as well.”
The program is designed to support projects that teachers think would significantly enhance learning. Erikson-Meier said she wants to make sure students can continue to access the rich learning environment Teton County offers.
“You know, we are just south of Grand Teton and Yellowstone National Parks. But it costs money to get kids from the classroom out into the environment or to non-profits to engage in programming,” said Erikson-Meier. “So that’s exactly the kind of thing we make grants to support because that kind of funding is extra.”
The funded projects range from hands-on learning with owl pellets to robotics to standing desks designed to make classrooms more comfortable. Teachers propose projects, which are approved by school principals and the district superintendent before being accepted by the Teton County Education Foundation. Participating donors can then choose which project they would like to support.