Foundation Awards $60K In Education Grants

SALISBURY – Ten schools in Worcester and Wicomico counties received grant funding from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore (CFES) in November to support innovative and educational programs.

CFES President Erica Joseph said the schools received nearly $60,000 in Education Award Grants to fully or partially fund its curriculum.

“It is one of our programs that is very competitive because it is done on an annual basis,” she said. “We always receive more requests than we have funding for.”

The foundation received approximately $75,000 in total requests in 2016, according to Joseph, and noted that many schools submitted proposals for multiple programs.

“We have to prioritize the most important needs,” she said.

In Worcester County, Snow Hill elementary, middle and high, Pocomoke Middle, Berlin Intermediate and Stephen Decatur High schools each received money from CFES to fund a diverse range of programs.

Snow Hill Elementary will use the money to support a community garden, social and emotional wellness program, and an iPad-driven core language program with the partnership of Cedar Chapel. The middle and high schools will use the grant money to fund a sixth-grade personalized learning program called “Summit Basecamp” and two high school theater productions of “The Little Mermaid.”

At the northern end of the county, Berlin Intermediate will purchase a virtual reality exploration kit for 20 students and Stephen Decatur High will improve its Seahawk Writing Center and establish a training program for writing tutors.

In the southern end of the county, Pocomoke Middle will use the money to fund an afterschool journalism club that implements social media and photography.

In total, the six county schools received more than $30,000.

“We are incredibly grateful for the grant funding we received from the Community Foundation of the Eastern Shore,” Superintendent of Schools Lou Taylor said. “We are very fortunate to have a local organization that is supportive of our educators and the innovative work they are doing to foster our students’ success both in and outside of the classroom.”

In addition, the Seahawk Writing Center and the “One School, One Book” program at both Bennett and Wicomico middle schools received the Mary Gay Calcott Award of Excellence and funding from CFES’s Mary Gay Calcott Memorial Fund to support its literacy programs.

Both Bennett and Wicomico each received more than $5,000 to purchase a book for each student and faculty member, which will then be used to encourage discussion and a love of reading, according to officials at both schools.

Wicomico Middle Literacy Coach Traci McGovern and Bennett Middle sixth-grade ELA teacher Christy Briggs both said money from the grant will also fund activities that coincide with the books.

Others education systems in the county — Prince Street Elementary, Salisbury School and the Wicomico County Board of Education – received grant funding as well.

Joseph said a committee within the foundation vets applications and conducts site visits before selecting the most compelling proposals.

“We do our best to help as many people as possible,” she said.

The annual grant program is open to qualifying public and private schools in the tri-county region, according to Joseph. The foundation determines qualifying schools from the Maryland State Department of Education.

She said the next round of applications will be available online in the spring and encourages teachers and administration to start preparing proposals. The deadline for 2017 Education Award Grants is late August.

“We appreciate the opportunity to support local students, teachers and schools through this program every year,” Joseph said. “We are truly inspired when we get to visit the classrooms where these funds are being put to work.”

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

Alternative Text

Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.