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BISD education foundation kicks off fundraising

By Judith Pannebaker BCC Editor

To kick off their fundraising efforts, the grant committee of the Bandera Independent School District Education Foundation held its annual breakfast meeting at the Mayan Guest Ranch on Wednesday, Oct. 19.

Each year, the committee offers funding for grants submitted by teachers within Bandera ISD.
According to Gary Johnston, education foundation president, in the past, grants provided by the foundation that "facilitated student achievement and skill development, recognized and encouraged staff excellence and expanded community involvement with individuals, businesses and civic organizations."

However, Johnston also noted, "The present mission statement may well change dramatically in the not-too-distant future." As he explained, "Last session, the legislature took a hatchet to educational funding and in the future will probably do more of the same. It is somewhat like murder - the first is the most difficult. Subsequent ones become easier."

Johnston continued, "In the future, it could well be that the foundation's contribution will not be to direct grants to teachers but rather to the maintenance and operations budget. Our goals could very well swing from 'like to haves to must haves.' That would definitely add a much greater sense of urgency to our efforts."

Bandera ISD Superintendent Regina Howell introduced Kim Moody and Brittany Timmons from Hill Country Elementary School, who received one of last year's grants. The $1,285 funding for "Mindware: Exploring the Gifts and Talents of All" provided a collection of hands-on puzzles, brain games and manipulatives available to all classrooms.

These innovative items not only worked well for GT (gifted and talented) kids, but also for autistic and special needs students, they noted.

According to Moody, a kindergarten teacher, manipulation of building materials allowed students to work in groups as teams. "The exercise also developed problem-solving, social and critical thinking skills," she noted.
In a science lab, Timmons, a math and science instructor for grades kindergarten through second, demonstrated "force in motion," which determined how far rockets would travel.

"This grant enabled us to purchase items that proved to be great for our students' morale," she said. "We both thank you."

Bandera ISD Board of Trustees President Dr. Barbara Skipper explained the process for grant selection. Procedures provided for a minimum of three foundation directors and two Bandera ISD staff members to evaluate the requests. Skipper, Bill Marshall, Ed Barnes, Tracy Thayer and David Brown scored each grant request for fall 2001.

"This year, of the 15 applications received, 11 grants, written by 25 teachers, were recommended for approval by the BISD Education Foundation Board of Directors," she said. "The grants totaled $11,070, and ranged from $200 to $2,000."

However, until the Bandera ISD Prize Posse makes their rounds this month, mum's the word on this year's winners, as per Skipper's orders. The grants will be implemented during the spring semester.

Since the program's inception in spring 2006, grants from the education foundation have funded a playground, visiting theatre groups, a greenhouse, author visits and field trips, among other educational tools.