April is Educational Mini-Grant month here at the Branch County Community Foundation, and BCCF holds educational endowment funds for Bronson, Coldwater, and Quincy Schools. Each year, teachers and staff members can apply for grants based on each of the fund’s criteria, which can be found on our website. In honor of Educational Mini-Grant Month, we wanted to share some success stories of some of our past mini-grant recipients from each school district.
YES for Bronson Schools Fund
The YES for Bronson Schools Fund is the newest fund, and it was created to financially supplement Bronson Community Schools and its K-12 students in their preparation for life by improving technology, transportation, and educational facilities in the school district.
In 2021, Christy Berry at Ryan Elementary School received a mini-grant from the YES to Bronson Fund for her Family Art and Literacy Bag project.
The Bags are available for 3rd-5th grade students and are available to be checked out weekly to continue learning about art and literacy with others at home! In the bag, there are 3 to 4 books that can be read together, along with an art-related activity for the family to complete together. The bags include step-by-step instructions and art supplies to complete the project.
The grant has made it possible to bring art books and supplies to families. With the funding, students can target reading in a different way. The books are also at different reading levels and are a mix of fiction and non-fiction text. Some of the books also include languages such as Spanish and Japanese. Not only are they practicing reading skills, but they are also practicing art skills. Students are always asking to take home art supplies and now because of this grant students now can.
Coldwater Community Schools Enrichment Fund
The Coldwater Community Schools Enrichment Fund was opened in 2005 and offers teachers opportunities to provide additional academic enrichment or enhancement programs to their students. Grants are used for innovative lessons, activities, projects, resources, presentations, school fairs, and other projects that would not be traditionally funded through the school district. The fund has supported over $41,000 in enrichment and enhancement programs for Coldwater Community Schools.
Chelesa Rice at Legg Middle School in Coldwater received a mini-grant a few years ago from the Coldwater Community Schools Enrichment Fund for 8 cordless LED compound microscopes.
With the new microscopes, students at LMS can see slides in much greater detail. This helped Chelsea explain the difference between living and nonliving things, plant and animal cells, and if the slides were detailed enough, even some specific organelles.
The mini-grant made a tremendous difference for LMS students in learning about cells. The detail shown by the LED light and the magnification of these new microscopes was a huge improvement from prior microscopes. The new microscopes will enrich classes for years to come. In 2021-2022 there were approximately 32 students per hour, per year which means this mini-grant will continue to serve roughly 130 students every year.
Quincy Educational Endowment Fund
Last but certainly not least is the Quincy Educational Endowment Fund. The Quincy Educational Endowment Fund offers teachers an opportunity to provide additional academic enrichment or enhancement programs to their students. Eligible projects promote excellence in education and high achievement for K-12 students in Quincy Community Schools with the goal of supplementing, expanding, and diversifying learning experiences. The fund has granted over $20,000 back to Quincy Community Schools.
Shari Tarnow at Quincy High School received a grant to assist with the QHS English Department's goals; to foster a lifelong desire to read. Educational research shows that allowing students to choose books that appeal to their interests increases both fluency and comprehension for students.
The mini-grant from the Quincy Educational Endowment Fund mini-grant gives students access to classroom libraries and offers a variety of literary genres. The books are available right there, right now, where students chat with one another about what books or genres they prefer, and which they don’t. As Shari said “The excitement is electric, and you sponsored that. Thank you, thank you, thank you!”
It is always so rewarding and interesting to hear about how much impact the educational mini-grants have in our local classrooms. The Educational Mini-Grant cycles for Bronson, Coldwater, and Quincy are all currently open through April 30th at 3:00 pm. Each fund has its own criteria, which can be found on our website, and its own selection committee. If you are a teacher or staff member at Bronson, Coldwater, or Quincy, check out the qualifications and apply today!