IPEI Announces New Grants Deadlines for 2016-17

August 12, 2016

20150324_200346As the 2016-17 school year begins for the Ithaca City School District (ICSD), the Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) has announced the grand totals for its grant programs during the previous year and application deadlines and procedures for the new year. “IPEI, as an independent nonprofit organization committed to making community connections that encourage innovative teaching and enhanced educational experiences for all ICSD students, is beginning its third decade with plans to celebrate its 20th anniversary in the coming months,” according to Matthew Braun, president of the IPEI Board.

During the 2015-16 school year, IPEI allocated 88 grants totaling almost $63,000 to teachers and others through its three active grant programs. Recipients of the 16 Teacher Grants, 69 Red and Gold Grants, and 3 Connecting Classrooms Grants reported reaching over 9,300 students. Some district students experienced more than one grant, and all 2,900 elementary school students also participated in Kids Discover the Trail! Ithaca activities. In addition, IPEI Parent Flier 2016 highlights support provided for student learning across the ICSD through its two Affiliates, IthacaSTEM Advocates and the Fine Arts Booster Group, and through its Special Funds and Awards. IPEI’s grant, awards and program funds originate as donations from generous individuals, businesses, organizations, and foundations.

IPEI Welcome Staff 201617 flier outlines new grant application deadlines and procedures that have been adjusted in its continuing effort to be most effective and efficient for the educators and others who seek funding during 2016-17 school year. Teacher Grants will be awarded twice with deadlines on November 2 and January 18; and Red and Gold Grants applications will be received on three deadlines: November 2, January 18 and March 29. Statements of Interest for Connecting Classrooms Grants will also be due November 2, January 18 and March 29.

Applications and grant report forms have also been changed with more emphasis on how the projects funded relate to the curriculum while making a difference for student learning and achievement as well as student engagement. According to Connie Patterson, chair of the IPEI Grants Committee, “We want to gather additional evidence that IPEI funding makes a difference in classrooms. Since teachers are trying to find better ways to deliver the curriculum and improve student skills, those areas became the focus of the new application and grant impact report questions.”

“Efforts were made to improve the forms so teachers can spell this out in the application – stating goals in their own words. We are trying to focus on what would teachers and other applicants like to accomplish and what will students be able to do after this project,” said Patterson. Expected project outcomes will then become part of the summary report in a more individualized way while still allowing IPEI to gather data on the effectiveness of its grant funding.

A retired teacher has made a gift to IPEI designated for “Grants” to facilitate creative integration of music into elementary curricula. In 2016-17, IPEI can fund one Teacher Grant and two Red and Gold Grants for projects that do this. Examples include students composing songs related to subject matter, use of instruments, creating instruments from found objects, and writing poetry to music. A local financial institution has made a similar commitment to funding that encourages grants to encourage secondary school teachers to use Teacher Grants and/or Red and Gold Grants to integrate financial skills education into the curricula. Examples include developing innovative ways to increase student awareness of personal finance, of finance and economics as careers, and of entrepreneurship.

Reports of the 88 grant projects that occurred this past year have been submitted by the recipients. In addition to being used to evaluate the impact of IPEI grants, the reports and stories are relayed to supporters and to the public through the IPEI website, www.ipei.org. Follow IPEI on Facebook, and on Twitter and Instagram @IthacaPEI, and consider signing up for the e-newsletter, IPEI Connections.


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