$15,000 IN GRANTS NOW AVAILABLE
Up to $15,000 will be available this academic year to further educational programs, acquire special learning tools, and benefit students in the Belle Vernon Area School District. Directors of the BVA Charitable Fund have announced.
The grants will be awarded at three levels, based on a scoring rubric involving criteria such as nature of a project, student impact, collaboration with teachers and/or community, innovation and creativity, clear objectives, and future value.
Last year, the first full year of organization, the BVA Charitable Fund contributed $2,500 for a career-oriented UcanB mentoring program that matched students with business and professional leaders.
“Because of a successful BVA Derby Day event, greater awareness of the fund and more people donating, we’re now able to provide a six-fold increase in the amount of money available to enhance educational opportunities in our schools,” said Jamie Protin, president of the non-profit organization affiliated with the highly-regarded Community Foundation of Westmoreland County and the Pittsburgh Foundation, which oversee BVA’s investments and legal compliance.
Funding will be awarded in two rounds (Nov. 30 and April 30, 2019) after submissions by teachers or teachers acting on behalf of student groups. After the applications are scored, they will be further evaluated and voted upon by the BVA Charitable Fund directors.
The three levels of grants are:
- Mini grants — $50 to $1,000, intended for classroom-level projects that meet a unique classroom need and directly benefit students.
- School grants — $1,000 to $5,000, intended for multi-classroom projects such as updating the science lab, purchasing musical scores or bringing in outside speakers and programs.
- Major grants — $5,000+, intended for schoolwide projects such as audio, visual, digital or language lab stations, special computer software and library upgrades.
“The grants aim to fulfill the fund’s vision of enhancing the experience of our young people through the arts, activities, athletics, and academics,” Protin said. “We’re looking at initiatives that go beyond what’s available through the school budget, ones that keep BVA on track as a leader in education and sustain us as a growing place to live and learn.”
Acting Superintendent Dr. Michele Dowell, also a BVA Charitable Fund director, has distributed information to staff to launch the first round of grant applications.
“This opens an exciting door to potential new opportunities for students, teachers, and community in general,” she said. “As the fund grows, its importance and impact as a resource will be increasingly significant.”
Other fund directors are Tom Svrcek, Gary Caruso, Joe Grata, John Lofink, Gina C. Lynn, Tom Simon, Dr. James V. Scirotto, Toni-Jo Kunka, Mike Stangroom and its newest appointee, Lizzette Sterner of Rostraver, Monessen branch manager of Community Bank.
Update January 24th, 2019 Meeting!!
- Joe Grata – BVA School Board Vice President
- Gary Caruso- (at-large member)
- John Lofink – (at-large member)
- Lizzette Sterner – (Community Bank)
- Mike Stangroom – Rostraver/West Newton Ambulance (at-large member)
- Tom Svrcek – President CSC Insurance Options (business community representative)
- Dr. Michele Dowell – BVA Acting Superintendent
- Toni-Jo Kunka – CF Board Secretary/Treasurer
- Jamie Protin – The Protin Group (at-large member); Chairman of CF Committee
- Tom Simon – Howard Hanna Reality (at large member)
- Gina Lynn – Greater Rostraver Chamber of Commerce Executive Director
- Dr. James V. Scirotto – Belle Vernon Area Rotary Club Representative
- Stacy Wolford- Chief Editor of the Mon Valley Independent
November 2018 Grant Awardees
Angela Musto-Belle Vernon Area High School-$5,000
Botany students are designing a greenhouse and garden space to be used by students throughout the school, particularly to support science curriculum, the pre-school classes and encourage STEM interests in elementary students. This is a student-led, cross-curricular collaborative project with real-world application. Student teams are doing the research necessary for designing and building a garden space and greenhouse to be used not only as a learning space, but as a community resource for growing food to be used by BVA classes or cafeteria and to be donated to the local foodbank. They are interviewing local experts (Martin’s nursery and Phipps Conservatory) and developing ideas for the space based on input from students, educators, parents, and food bank volunteers. Students are writing newspaper articles, taking photographs, designing signs & banners and creating websites to promote the project in hopes of gaining further sponsors. Once designs are complete, teams will present their designs (with a budget) to a panel of educators, community members, and students. The designs will then be put on display for the student body and voted on for the best design. The winning design will be built. Students will work in conjunction with educators in the building, teachers at CTC, and representatives from Lowe’s to build the greenhouse and garden space.
Carol Manack and Roxanne Tsambarlis- Marion Elementary-$2,400
Student Impact- 663
Responsive Classroom is just what the doctor ordered for our school. Our school needs a school wide program that teaches students not only academics but a set of social and emotional competencies—cooperation, assertiveness, responsibility, empathy, and self-control—and a set of academic competencies—academic mindset, perseverance, learning strategies, and academic behaviors that will help maximize students’ learning and help them to realize their true potentials. The Responsive Classroom approach to teaching is comprised of a set of well- designed practices intended to create safe, joyful, and engaging classroom and create a school community where “all” children feel like they belong. The emphasis is on helping students develop their academic, social, and emotional skills in a learning environment that is developmental^ responsive to their strengths and needs. If this project is granted, we will be able to train 30 teachers in our school on the guiding principles and practices of Responsive Classroom.
Lindsay Jones- Marion Elementary- $1,000
Student Impact- 7
The purpose of this project is to increase communication by bringing a rich music environment to a special education classroom, potentially benefiting the entire school community through a decrease in negative social behavior as well as an increase in positive social interactions. Music Together considers singing in tune and moving in time to be a child’s birthright, no different from walking and talking. The scope of the Music Together approach is to bring a rich music environment to the entire school community- children, teachers, and families alike. It not only supports the work of the classroom teachers, but also engages parents and gives children what they need to grow musically.
Lisa Reynolds- Rostraver Elementary- $410
Student Impact- 89
As a culminating activity for our Health Unit on HIV/AIDS, Viruses, and Bacterial Infections, students will have hands-on experiments to identify and differentiate between various bacteria samples, determine which antibacterial hand soaps are most effective, participate in a simulated viral epidemic outbreak to determine who the original “carrier” is by analyzing pathogens as they learn how viruses…like HIV quickly spread, and gain a better understanding between a viral infection and bacterial infection. This lab project gives students hands-on experiences to gain a better understanding of what actual bacteria and viruses look like, how easily viruses spread through populations, and evidence of how ineffective/effective various hand soaps are for killing germs/bacteria on their hands. This also serves as a means of proving how much bacteria is on our hands and why it is crucial that we wash our hands frequently in order to prevent sickness.
Tanya Bitonti/Kristen Manley- Marion Elementary- $500
Student Impact- 663
To help build the morale of the students and faculty at Marion Elementary as well as motivate select students to show their creativity through art while enhancing their self-esteem. We decided to have students fill the walls, restrooms, windows, and gymnasium with positive messages and school spirit illustrations, we hope to not only provide these “at risk” students with a sense of pride, but also beautify our school and enhance the morale of the entire building.
Ruth Ann Kozel- Belle Vernon Area High School-$550
Student Impact- 85
This project will successfully incubate and brood baby chicks. It will demonstrate how a chick is formed in an egg, how they hatch and how they need to be cared for before they can be put outside into a chicken coop. This would show students, preschool and the high school alike, the value of life and how nature behaves. It will also demonstrate that not all things live as I am sure that not all of the eggs will successfully hatch. The baby chickens will be taken to my home for use and hopefully have our own fertile eggs to use the following year.
For more information on the BVA Charitable Fund or to apply for any of these grants click here ———>>> http://bit.ly/2CTxdsR