Program provides funding for 71 school projects in Summit County
The Education Foundation of the Summit and parent-teacher organizations across Summit County have partnered up to pay for 71 projects with $42,750 provided through the Eileen Finkel Innovative Teaching Awards.
Every school’s PTA participated this year, and funding was nearly 50/50, according to a news release announcing the projects, which are said to reach all grade levels and every school within the district.
At Silverthorne Elementary, for example, the newly renovated media center, funded by taxpayer approval of a mill levy bond last year, is receiving even more materials to support the International Baccalaureate program there.
“These resources will allow our students to understand and explore the diverse issues and perspectives found around the world in order to become world citizens,” said Kirsten Browne, the program’s teacher-coordinator, in a prepared statement.
Silverthorne also received money to increase interest-engaging books at all student-reading levels and for the summer-reading-book-exchange program. According to the release, other projects students can look forward to this year include:
• Improving math, reading, problem-solving and collaboration skills through projects such as movie-making, coding and engineering.
• Cultural integration events, games and virtual reality, and extensions for gifted students based on their interests and strengths.
• More welding, ski tuning and medical equipment materials for career and technology programs at the high school.
• Support for an adaptive-ski program at the middle school.
• Leadership training for Snowy Peaks students to design and implement improvement strategies for their school.
The program started in 2001 when a teacher at Upper Blue Elementary needed funding for a Shakespeare play. Paul and Eileen Finkel put up enough money to fund the play for two years from their private foundation, and that got people thinking about providing other enrichment opportunities for students and teachers.
“That’s why we created the Innovative Teaching Awards,” Paul Finkel said in the release, which notes that when Eileen Finkel, a retired teacher and principal, died in 2012, the foundation named the awards after her.
The Eileen Finkel Innovative Teaching Award is available to any Summit School District teacher or principal who seeks funding support for creative ideas. A committee of people from the Education Foundation of the Summit directors, Summit School District staff and parents selects projects. Creative projects must have the principal’s approval, and enhanced-technology projects are supported by the district’s technology plan.
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