Organization grants wishes for middle school teachers
Kim Glenn looked around from the front of her Glassford Hill Middle School sixth grade classroom as five adults walked in with big smiles.
Glenn broke into a grin, too, as Kym Lopez, director of FATES, handed her an envelope with $750 in grant money.
Upstairs, the scenario repeated itself with sixth grade teachers Sue Folger and Kelli Jones being on the receiving end of a $500 grant.
These are the first two grants the Foundation for Achievement Through Educational Success organization has awarded Humboldt Unified School District teachers since its inception in 2004. The non-profit foundation is set up to enrich
the education of HUSD students by soliciting and administering donations and grants from businesses and individuals.
Jones and Folger will use their grant money over the summer to develop a study skills curriculum especially for sixth graders. They will create a 35-minute class during the first quarter of the school year with weekly follow-ups during the rest of the year for every GHMS sixth grade student.
Folger has taught for 14 years, the past two at GHMS.
Development of organizational skills is, I believe, critical to a successful experience in sixth grade. Many students come to us with well-developed organizational skills, but for those who do not, the experience of sixth grade becomes a challenge that can be frustrating. By implementing a study skills program, our goal is to ensure that every sixth grader will achieve the highest success rate possible, Folger said.
In addition, about 40 students identified as academically at risk will receive student binders and dividers to help with their transition from elementary to middle school.
Jones said the program will not only make the transition into sixth grade easier, but the students will take the skills they learn with them into their high school and college experience.
Glenn, in her ninth year of teaching, plans to use her grant money to obtain training in a program called Where Everyone Belongs that also works with incoming sixth graders. WEB partners eighth grade mentors with new sixth grade students to ease the transition process that can be overwhelming for some students.
Glenn has already identified 30-40 seventh graders as potential mentors for next year.
"These students will go through an application and interview process and be required to make a yearlong commitment to the program," she said in her grant application.
A Mill Valley, Calif., middle school involved in WEB experienced a 56 percent reduction in sixth graders with D's and F's on their report cards, and a 67 percent reduction in sixth grade suspensions. In Broomfield, Colo., a middle school reported 12 bullying incidents in 2001 and none in each of the years since implementing WEB.
Lopez said the grant money comes from generous donations from the United Way; Pinnacle One, B Bond project management firm; DLR Architectural Services; and N.L. Booth and Son, Inc., a B Bond construction company.
Later this month, the FATES governing board will determine if it will give out more grants this school year, Lopez said.
Those seeking more information on the FATES organization can visit the website firstname.lastname@example.org or call 928-772-0090.