EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITY: Ed Op Fund awards innovation grants to local teachers

Natalie Colby, second from left, accepts a check for all the teacher innovation grant recipients from the Educational Opportunity Fund of the Lake Placid Central School District. Also pictured are Ed Op board members Mary Dietrich, far left; Sibyl Quayle, second from right; and Betsy Baxter. (Provided photo)

Each year the Educational Opportunity Fund of the Lake Placid Central School District accepts grant applications from teachers who present innovative ideas they believe will fulfill the mission of the Ed Op Fund.

The grant applications require that each project be innovative, enhance student and/or teacher creativity and introduce students to new experiences they would not likely have otherwise. Teachers and staff are given the chance to experiment with new approaches to learning.

These are new ideas not currently covered by the school district but that could become the seed for a continuing program or purchase at the school.

This year, the board was delighted to approve seven new initiatives totaling over $11,000 to help students and educators within the district. The following is a list of these new and exciting projects.

1. The board approved a grant of up to $1,000 to support a new Job Exploration Program. Devised by Keith Clark, this initiative will provide fourth- and sixth-grade students with hands-on experiences in a variety of careers.

2. Natalie Colby applied for a grant to introduce a new Nature Sensory Break program to the second-grade curriculum. The board was delighted to approve $2,000 toward the program which is designed to help students increase focus and enhance their learning.

3. St. Agnes School is the provider for the Lake Placid school district’s universal pre-K4 program. Emma Orlic has been granted $2,400 to purchase six Chromebook computers for the two classes to enhance the traditional pre-K learning delivery and act as an introduction to technology for these young students.

4. Members of the LPCSD Drama Club will now be able to enjoy a field trip to watch “Les Misrables” thanks to Brendan Gotham’s request for $1,680 to fund the outing to Proctor’s Theatre in Schenectady. The field trip is a great opportunity to build cultural capital and expose our students to professional theater.

5. Our middle and high school students will now be able to utilize the ImagiCharms coding software after the board approved Karyssa Matthews’ $1,590 application to fund this resource. We saw a great opportunity to help build programming skills as they create unique and fun programs they can display.

6. In a similar vein to item 4, the board also approved $780 for Jacqueline Boyea’s application to take the Positivity in Action group to see “Annie” at Proctor’s Theatre. PIA promotes diversity and engagement within the LPCSD and also seeks to build leadership skills.

7. Lastly, the board approved Tammy Morgan’s request for a grant of $1,900 to help fund an Evolving Schools Community Science lab for the Adirondack STREAM class. This class promotes collaborative learning and enhances the link between the middle/high school and the local community.

In February, students at the school will have the opportunity to present their ideas for enhancing their education.

They can submit grants to the fund for up to $500. The Ed Op board looks forward to learning what the students have in mind.

To learn more about the Educational Opportunity Fund for the LPCSD, go to the website at edopfund.org.

(Simon Shergold is a faculty member at Northwood School and board member of the Educational Opportunity Fund, and Sibyl Quayle is the vice president of the board.)

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