The PTSA Mini-grants program was allocated $9000 for the 2016-17 school year. Thirty-five applications for a total of $19,742.73 were considered. At least partial funding was awarded to 33 grant applications for a total award of $10,472. With earlier award notification, multiple reminders, and assistance from Donna Franklin, full or partial funding was paid on all but one grant awarded. The total amount paid was $9,166.44. Two grant requests were not funded because they exceeded the scope of the Mini-grants program.
Fifteen different departments were awarded Mini-grants. This is up from ten departments receiving awards last year.
- Eleven awards went to combined sciences totaling $3,162 (35.2%). These awards supported animal dissection in AP, grade level and ESOL Biology classes; horticulture activities for urban, perennial, pollinator, vegetable, conservation and aqua-phonic gardening projects; and Snap Circuits, Scooter Bots and Arduino kits to support electrical circuitry, engineering, and coding activities in Physics, Chemistry and Biology classes. Several projects served dual disciplines, including supplies for the Chemistry and Art labs with anodizing metals and photochemistry. The Biology department collaborated to consolidate animal dissection requests to a level that could be fully funded by Mini-grants program.
- Three grants were awarded to the Media Center for $1475 (14.8%) to buy a video camera and other supplies for a designated Maker Space and to support the interdisciplinary temporary Diego Rivera art installation celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month.
- Six $200 club awards, $1200 total (12%), were granted to support the expansion of the Bliss Buddies program, the It’s Academic! team at their National Tournament, the Science Honor Society’s outreach activities during National Chemistry Week, the Muslim Students Association to bring in guest speakers for their Town Hall Against Islamaphobia, supplies for Science Olympiad’s team competition, and a TEDx Event sponsored by the Science National Honor Society.
- Four grants totaling $1200 (12%) were awarded to Administration-sponsored activities in the Academies, Blair Interracial Dialogue, Help the Hungry Students program, and the No Labels Diversity Workshop.
- Two Special Education grants ($550, 5.5%) purchased pizza for two academic incentive parties and several Kindle Fires for students who need accommodations in reading. Two World Language awards ($535, 5.4%) purchased American Sign Language on-line class packets and supported a field trip to Gala Theater.
- One grant was awarded to each of the following departments: Social Studies ($600, 6%) to support Emmanual Jai, Artist in Residence; Blair Network Communication ($500, 5%) to purchase DSLR video camera; English ($350, 3.5%) to support on-grade level field trip to see Fences; Physical Education ($209, 2.1%) to purchase soccer balls; and Fine Arts ($193, 1.9%) to purchase miniature mannequins and a full-size skeleton for Studio Art, AP Art, and Fashion and Design classes.
The following changes to the Mini-grants process were implemented this year:
- The on-line application was available earlier, in mid-September
- Application deadline was moved up to October
- Award announcements were made in mid-November
- For the second year, all applicants were current PTSA members
- Given the differential between request and budget for this year, two funding options were submitted to the PTSA executive board. The higher funding level, even though it exceeded the allocated budget, was approved.
The PTSA Mini-grants program will continue to build on the successes of the past and continue to evolve to best meet the needs of the Blair school community.
Linda Krimm, 2016-17 Mini-grants Chair
September 3, 2017