It’s a small change, but for the Summit Education Foundation, there’s bigger meaning behind a recent switch.
The name of the foundation has now changed to Education Foundation of the Summit. The organization began three years ago to fund innovative programs in Summit School District.
Chairman Brad Piehl said the foundation was often confused with the Summit Foundation, and the name change reflects a shift to a more operational organization.
“We put education first, and now it’s first in our name,” he said. “We wanted to create more awareness of what we do in the community, and so we felt the rebranding was warranted.”
Education Foundation of the Summit funds go directly into public school programs, including Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) initiatives and classroom technology. The foundation also awards grants to teachers with innovative classroom programs, and high school scholarships.
“We want to continue to fund our existing programs and we’re open to something anyone is excited about in the education field,” Piehl said.
Funding is awarded to individual schools through an annual grant process. Education Foundation of the Summit recently gave five high school graduates iPads to use in college, and has provided more than $20,000 to the district for STEM programs.
Recent STEM programs include providing funds for weather stations and teacher training in elementary schools, iPad applications and science lab materials for middle school, and robotics kits and stream testing kits for the high school.
Piehl said along with the name change, the foundation is working to strengthen its partnership with Summit School District.
“We’re trying to collaborate more,” Piehl said. “All of our funding goes to the school district. Some people have been confused about that before, we want to make that clear.”
Piehl also said another idea the foundation is working on is “flipped” classrooms. A flipped classroom involves a teacher recording a video or podcast of a lecture and students watching at home. Then, the students can go back and listen again if they don’t understand something, Piehl said, and class time is spent working on “homework” to understand the topic.
“We try to do things the district can’t do on their own,” he said. “We want to be creative and innovative and use technology in new ways.”
Education Foundation of the Summit is looking for new board members, program directors and volunteers. Visit www.educationfoundationsummit.org for more information.