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Ames Education Foundation grant gets new name
Ames Education Foundation grant gets new name avatar

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By Caitlin Ware, Staff Writer cware@amestrib.com

In order to better reflect the mission of the Ames Education Foundation, one of its programs, the “Mini-Grant,” recently received a new name.

Now called the “Innovation Grant,” the annual funding program designed to help Ames teachers with classroom and educational needs that the Ames school district is unable to support with its own budget, has a name that matches its purpose, said Ames Education Foundation Executive Director Annie Arbuckle.

Arbuckle said that after providing funding for microscopes, field trips and lab supplies, among other causes, donors began to mention that what the grant supports is anything but mini, which helped spark the idea for a new name.

“We really have been helping fund innovative needs that go beyond mini; Mini-Grant has grown up,” Arbuckle said. “The fact that we have funded rotation motor lab supplies for the high school physics classroom, funded renowned guest artists and guest authors, high school biology pollinator gardens, field trips and many innovative needs for science, literature, music, math, history and physical education, is a reflection on the innovative approach to teaching and the great depth of teaching expertise in our schools.”

Last year, the Ames Education Foundation provided over $16,000 in classroom funding, and the goal is to fund the same amount or more under the newly-named grant program this year. Teachers began turning in applications for funding in the fall, and awards will be given to classrooms at the beginning of 2018.

A typical classroom grant need is funded at approximately $500, Arbuckle said. Two years ago, a competition called the High Impact Award was launched. The competition was started under the Mini-Grant program name, and still exists as a competition under the new Innovation Grant.

The application requests that teachers explain why their funding will have a high impact on a large amount of students, and if they are in need of a higher level of funding. If funds are available, an elementary, middle and high school classroom teacher is chosen for the High Impact Award. The awards are then funded at $1,000 a piece.

“The teachers are doing great things and they have great ideas,” Arbuckle said. “There is a lot of thought, structure, and consideration put into the classroom needs. These teachers that will be awarded these grants have the honor of bringing inspiration to the classroom and the students. Inspiration is important for the leaders we shape for tomorrow.”

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