Ms. Stephanie Summers is a first grade teacher at McBride Elementary. She has received support from the Foundation for SPS over the years for various projects and she’s been able to provide countless memories for her students. When asked to participate in the FSPS Spotlight, she was excited to be able to share her experience with the Foundation and share how the support of FSPS donors has impacted her classroom and the McBride community. .
How has the support from the Foundation impacted your students?
The Foundation has helped our students in so many ways, not just my classroom students. Personally, I have written several grants for STEAM Night, which I coordinate in our building. They have helped fund several grants for small projects that helped supplement our STEAM Night activities. We used these grants to purchase three kits for bridge-building and engineering one year, and another grant was used to purchase modular robotics kits. The most awesome part of these smaller grants is that the students have been able to use the supplies and materials from both grants in their classrooms, makerspace, and in computer lab. This means that all students in our school are benefiting from these grants, not just the ones who could attend STEAM Night!
After writing smaller grants, I decided to try writing a larger grant to get additional funds for STEAM Night. Our district helps out financially with this, but our budget is under $300. It is difficult to plan an evening with a wide array of activities and interests with such a small budget. If I cannot get enough donations from local businesses and families, then we have to limit or cut activities. We have children from preK-middle school come to participate in our event, and we love to make sure that there is something for everyone. This way, families can just come together and enjoy the evening with all of their kids. With the grants provided from the Foundation, I have been able to include many activities that we could never plan with our small budget. For example, we made slime and ooblek, last year. These activities involve measuring, mixing, and chemistry…and they are wildly popular! Many students don’t get to do messy or expensive activities at home, either, so the kids were so excited to have an opportunity to make these items!
In addition to all of this, our students regularly use iPads, OSMO kits, and LEGO Robotics equipment through our robotics team, makerspace, computer lab, and as activities during STEAM Night. I didn’t write grants for these items, but the Foundation provided them through other grants that continue to provide learning experiences for our students.
Why do you think it is important for the community to support the Foundation?
I think community support for the Foundation is vital. The Foundation helps fund a large variety of projects: STEAM Night, literacy projects, functional skills food carts, outdoor classrooms and gardens, accessible playgrounds, and so much more. I love that our STEAM Night funding provides hands-on science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities that many families don’t have time or money to do at home. There is no cost to attend, so this opens the door to ALL of our students and their families to experience learning activities that they might miss out on otherwise. The Foundation fills needs and supports local students, teachers, and schools where there is something missing. It is easy to donate, and all of the funds go right into a local school and helps take care of a learning need for students who might live in your neighborhood. I love that the funding stays right here for our public school children in our community!