Contributed by Judy White, SEEF Board Member
Did you know you can directly support Sahuarita School District teachers through the Sahuarita Unified School District Educational Enrichment Foundation (SEEF)? Donations enable SEEF to meet teacher needs that would otherwise not be funded due to the district’s limited budget.
Teacher Mini-Grants are awarded by SEEF to teachers each year for special projects and materials. The grants enable teachers to go beyond the basics, create innovative programs, or provide for specialized needs.
Teachers apply each fall, providing specifics about how the funds will be used, and how funding the grant will make a difference in student outcomes. The SEEF committee charged with selecting grant recipients is impressed each year with the breadth and creativity of the projects and dedication of teachers to promote learning for all their students.
The 19 Mini-Grants awarded in 2021 reveal the variety of purposes for which grants are requested. Requests for needed equipment included USB microscopes for biology, art room light boxes and graphing calculators. Other grants funded equipment needed to support remote learning, reading and writing labs, and a math fluency center. Some grant applications sought funds to help students with special learning needs, as well.
SHS Biology teacher Samantha Gilbert received funds to purchase 3-D molecular models. “When talking about the tiny, molecular level…it can feel abstract to students,” she said. Gilbert is very excited that now her students walk away with a better understanding of how molecules work and interact with each other, and “they are more engaged with the learning process.”
At Sopori Elementary School, counselor Stephanie Salazar Cook used a grant to purchase puppets for use in counseling sessions. She has found that puppets often enable young children to more easily “role play problem solving scenarios or demonstrate interactions they had with others…and “offer a layer of comfort” for expressing their feelings. “Student engagement always increases when I use the puppets,”she explained.
“My students got to see the evolution of living things grow and change right in the classroom,” said Anza Trail School kindergarten teacher Danielle Groth. She received funds to support a special project studying insects, including insect specimens and watching the life cycle of caterpillars turning into butterflies. “By engaging with living things,” she reported, “the students also built empathy and an appreciation for living things, no matter how small.”
Up to $500 is awarded per grant. SEEF invites members of the community to support this valuable funding source for classroom teachers. A donation in any amount is helpful. SEEF is a recognized non-profit 501(c)(3) organization for tax purposes. You can add your support for teachers at: https://sahuaritaeef.org/donate/