I am applying to this grant for science supplies. With the recent focus on standardized test scores, our school has slowly phased out most science instruction. We are evaluated on how 4th graders score on math, reading and writing tests. So, the incentive to teach integrated, rigorous and engaging science has significantly decreased. This school year, my elementary school received a grant for increasing academic performance. With a significant amount of wrangling and discussion, I was able to get some money to fund an after school science program in conjunction with the YMCA, which is focusing on math and reading. Unfortunately, we were unable to dedicate any funds for the materials for the program. So far, I have been buying supplies for the kids from my own money and the program has been really quite successful! The children, about fifty 3rd, 4th and 5th graders, are students who were identified as “at-risk” academically and socially. They love our science days and frequently ask to visit me during the school day at recess and lunch so they can experiment or ask more questions. So far, I have taught a unit on chemistry (basic kitchen science) and movement (physics introduction). The kids are reading articles that I write prior to our experiment days and getting hands on experience with the materials. They inspire me with their enthusiasm and thirst for knowledge but, sadly, I am struggling to keep up financially with the demands of the program. The hourly pay I receive for teaching them almost covers the expense of the materials and it can be difficult to get everything in time for the lessons. Our program is funded for 7 years and I would love to build a set of amazing science materials and lessons that I could use every year and share with the other teachers in our school. This year has been amazing so far and with your help, I would be able to further my program and continue to teach my crew of passionate young scientists.
Funded by Seattle (February, 2013)