The 100% for Kids Credit Union Education Foundation awarded Utah schools with over $58,000 in grants last year.
Twenty-one districts and 36 schools all received funding for various projects. The foundation has funded everything from motivational speakers to greenhouses.
In the rural town of Morgan, Utah, teacher Megan Haslem has brought a different type of opportunity to her community. With funds she received from the foundation, she started a teaching greenhouse at the school. Over 730 students have access to the greenhouse through course projects.
The greenhouse allows students the opportunity to implement the scientific method in team-based inquiry labs. One benefit of inquiry labs is the promotion of innovative thinking to ask and answer problems. Another benefit is students get the opportunity to explore careers in horticulture. They help decide what to plant, they propagate plants and sell them to the community. In addition to learning horticultural skills, greenhouse students learn basic skills needed for future employment, according Haslem. “Responsibility, teamwork, problem solving, record keeping, goal setting and time management,” she says.
Another unique aspect of the teaching greenhouse project is that eventually it will be self-sustaining. By selling items the students produce, such as potted plants and vegetable starts, the greenhouse can sustain its own maintenance needs once it becomes operational.
Foundation Director Liz White says of the project, “Our board was very intrigued with this grant request because it covers multiple subject areas and grade levels. The self-sustaining business aspect was such a unique feature that we rarely see. It’s exciting to help fund such an important project that demonstrates collaboration between school and community.”
The foundation reviews several grant applications each month, looking for those that will impact the greatest number of students in the greatest possible way. “Reading, social studies and lessons learned from history are so important in our modern society and our economy,” says White. “We are so grateful to all of our donors who make it possible for Utah’s students to have what they need to succeed in school and life.”
In Weber district, teacher Cassie Cox says, “At Two Rivers Alternative High School, we are the last hope for students, the last step between graduating and dropping out of high school.” Cox has been teaching in an alternative setting for nine years and says her ultimate goal is to motivate students to get an education. She hopes with this grant that “students will read and write their way to a year full of amazing life experiences.”
Cox arranged to bring award-winning young adult authors to the school. By the end of the school year, Two Rivers students will have met a Rwandan Genocide survivor (Lost Boys of Sudan), and Simeon Wright, who is tied to the Civil Rights movement. She is certain after meeting these authors of living history, her students will be motivated to read and write more than ever before and these experiences will prove to be life-changing opportunities.
The 100% For Kids Utah Credit Union Education Foundation was formed with a mission to improve education in Utah by enhancing and expanding classroom level resources and programs. The foundation has donated over $5 million since its inception in 2002, contributing to all of Utah’s 40 school districts. All of the funds donated go directly to teachers for use in their classroom.