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PAFE Grants Making a Difference

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Support for our classrooms results in innovative projects

Each year as the snow begins to melt away and green becomes the color of our community there is another color of green that is finding its way into the classrooms of the children in our community. It is the time of year when staff submit their innovative ideas to the Panhandle Alliance for Education grant program. Teachers eagerly wait for the results and I am constantly asked to “spill the beans” to teachers prior to official notification.

The funding from PAFE is a significant factor in the creative ideas that teachers use to make learning come alive in our schools. The Lake Pend Oreille School District is not unique in having a foundation support its students, but it is unique in the amount of money that is channeled back into the classrooms. The State Department of Education does not track this revenue but it is safe to say that we receive one of the highest amounts donated in Idaho.

The beauty of these grants is that any teacher or principal can apply if they are willing to take the time to demonstrate a need, create an innovative project, and follow through. Not all grants are funded in this competitive process. However, an increasing number of teachers are applying and year by year, the competition becomes even stiffer. This coming school year a total of 49 different grants will be funded at a total of $131, 425!

A content area breakdown demonstrates that the Grants Committee believes in well rounded students; a fact that teachers and principals love. In the area of science, over $32,000 will be spent on projects including the building of robots, weather stations, solar power models, lab equipment, fishery studies, electrophoresis lab, and the Mars Rover program. Creative arts endeavors garnered close to $30,000. Students can look forward to a steel drum band, new keyboards and ukuleles, learning from professional dancers, exploring pioneers and Indian pow-wows, and Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Kaleidoscope and Ovations programs. Over $21,000 has been directed at reading and language arts. These include before and after school tutoring programs at Farmin Stidwell and Southside Elementary Schools. Close to $20,000 will support math and other academic competitions including the establishment and support of math clubs at three elementary schools. Approximately $12,000 is directed toward technology investments, with the majority of funding used for software teaching tools. Finally, miscellaneous grants supportive of the Rachel’s Challenge program, school furniture, chess sets, and other special population programs were committed to the total of $10,400.

As Superintendent of the Lake Pend Oreille School District, I am both thrilled and honored to have the support of the Panhandle Alliance for Education. They care deeply about our children and community. They strongly believe that the children of our community belong to all of us and as citizens living in a democracy; we have a responsibility to meet their unique learning needs. They know that funding for public education in Idaho is low compared to most of the states in our country. Rather than complain and wring their hands, they are bent on doing something about the problem. When you hear of a PAFE fund raising event please do your best to offer your thanks to those helping to make it happen, or consider volunteering or donating yourself. It is one of the best ways that you can say thank you to our hard working teaching staff and encourage our students to become the best they can be.

Thank you Panhandle Alliance for Education!

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Author info

Dick Cvitanich Dick Cvitanich is the Superintendent of Schools for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. He has been an educator for 33 years, and became superintendent for LPOSD in 2006. He was educated at the University of Washington where he earned a BA in History and a Superintendent's Credential. He has been married to Diane for 32 years and they have raised three sons who "taught us as much as we taught them." "I have a passion for public education and the role it plays in our democracy. In my free time I read, ski ... come to think of it, I don't have that much free time."

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