Bexley teachers across the school district are utilizing the BEF’s new mini-grants initiative to tackle specific classroom challenges, implement new ideas and enhance their lesson plans. Announced by BEF Board Chair Betsy Farrar at the District’s teacher convocation in August, the mini-grants were a response to teachers who were looking for a quicker and simpler way to fund small-scale projects in their classrooms.
One major and unexpected impact of the mini-grants program is the support mini-grants are providing for Bexley Middle School’s newly implemented flex time schedule. BMS Principal Jason Caudill explained that the idea of flex-time, a thirty-minute open period at the end of the school day, came from a Response to Intervention (RtI) conference he attended three years ago. BMS teachers have created a variety of flex time activities, programs and clubs so that students have many flex time choices.
Teachers are being creative in designing flex time activities and programs that engage students and enhance student-teacher relationships. BMS teacher, Chevy Sidel has used the mini-grants program to enhance his flex time Comic Book Appreciation Club as a way promote good reading habits and generate enthusiasm for reading.
Mr. Caudill explained that comics often engage struggling readers and staff have had a lot of positive feedback from students who have joined the Comic Appreciation Club with Mr. Sidel. He said, “We have a lot of kids who really connect with comic books.”
Mini-grants are also taking off as resources in other parts of the School District. Cassingham Elementary teacher, Diana Pryor, was one of the first mini-grants recipients. She received funds at the beginning of September to purchase morning tubs for her second-grade classroom. The morning tubs are bins filled with hands on materials, games and puzzles. Rather than starting the school day with worksheets, morning tubs offer students opportunities to explore, create and collaboratively play and work with their classmates for the first ten minutes of class.
“The students use spontaneous play to foster a healthy mental and social start to our days,” Ms. Pryor explained. “Imagining outside the box and developing flexible visualizations sets the stage for [the students’] day. It’s a soft start that allows students to ease into academia.”
Want to help?
Since the start of this school year, the BEF has funded 23 teacher mini-grants for a total of just over $9,750. Mini-grants, classroom grants and district-wide Impact Grants are made possible by gifts made to the BEF’s Annual Fund for Excellence. Last year, the BEF awarded over $79,000 in classroom grants. Since 1995 the BEF has awarded over 200 classroom grants, made district-wide Impact Grants for technology and conducted capital campaigns that in total have raised over $5 million for the Bexley City Schools.
Supporting the Annual Fund is easy. Gifts can be on-line at www.bexleyeducationfoundation.org or by phone or mail. To provide on-going support for the BEF’s grants-making programs, consider joining the Century Giving Club which was established in 2017 to recognize the Bexley City School District turning 100 years old. To join go on-line to www.bexleyeducationfoundation.org and make a $10 (or more) secure monthly electronic funds transfer from a checking, savings account or credit card. To learn more about supporting the Annual Fund for Excellence, including how to make a gift of stock or a distribution from a retirement fund, contact BEF Executive Director, Pam Glasgow at (614) 338-2093 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.