PWEF Grant Awards Ceremony honors teachers distict wide


Elementary, middle, and high school teachers receive PWEF grants for innovative program ideas for students. These grants allow the district to continue to bring new learning opportunities to the community.Elementary, middle, and high school teachers receive PWEF grants for innovative program ideas for students. These grants allow the district to continue to bring new learning opportunities to the community.

Jake Knatz, Assistant News Editor

On Oct. 16, the Port Washington Education Foundation (PWEF) hosted its Grant Awards Ceremony at Schreiber’s Slade Performing Arts Center.  The ceremony honored teachers and members of the community who enhanced Port students’ learning experiences.
“The grant awards ceremony is a great way to recognize the teachers, administrators, and community members who come up with and research great programs and take the time to apply for grants from us,” said PWEF executive vice president Ms. Mara Silverstein.
The PWEF is an independent nonprofit organization that works to provide students with special learning experiences and opportunities that are not included in the district’s budget.  Community advocate Ms. Amy Bass started the organization in 2002.  In Jan. 2003, the first grants were awarded; $20,329 was funded to 13 projects that involved all of the schools in the district.  This year, 37 grants were awarded to all seven of the district’s schools.  The PWEF is approaching their million dollar funding mark.  Many unique programs would not exist without the financial support of the PWEF.
 This year, the PWEF allowed Schreiber STEP, ESL, and other specific groups the opportunity to go on college tours.  It also fundeda project for the Robotics Club, which will to host robotics competitions.
After the funds for a 3D printer were acquired from an anonymous donation and a second printer purchased with the school budget, a 3D Design and Printing course was added to Schreiber’s selection electives.  The PWEF provided the funds a digitizer, to enhance the course.  This tool allows an object to be scanned onto the computer, edited, and then recreated by the 3D printer.
Photo teachers Mr. Ben Benfield, Ms. Kris Murphy, and Mr. David Koch were granted funding for professional studio lighting to be purchased, which will allow students to produce higher quality work and experience the professional equipment.  A personal and cultural history art workshop was also made possible through PWEF’s grants.  During this workshop, students worked with clay to create objects based off of their culture and family traditions.
The PWEF also awarded grants to Weber and all five elementary schools.  One of the projects is The Bio Bus, a portable science lab that will visit all fourth graders.  The students will use professional equipment from the lab to learn lessons about biology, environmental science, and physical chemistry.  A before-school physical activity program called Early Birds will begin at Manorhaven.  Students at Salem were able to create a weather station, which enabled them to practice analyzing and recording data.  The weather station will soon be a mobile app, so that anyone with a smart phone will soon be able to monitor the weather at Salem Elementary School around the clock.  The PWEF also founded a project meant to encourage summer reading at Sousa.  The project, called “Project Soar,” will fill backpacks with books, journals, pens, and literacy-focused activties for students from Kindergarten to the fourth grade over the summer. Sixth graders at Weber expanded their study of Indian culture by participating in a yoga class.  All of these experiences and opportunities were funded by the PWEF.
With the intensity and stress of school, teachers often look for ways to engage their students and learn in fun and non-traditional ways.  The PWEF allows many teachers’ creative ideas to be funded and put into effect for their students.