Four years ago, the Graham Public Education Foundation formed to give students and teachers in the Graham Independent School District the equipment and tools they needed to support education.
Because the state only allocates a specific amount of funds for GISD each year for educational equipment and needs, GPEF helps fill in the gaps that GISD otherwise couldn’t. Recently, GPEF awarded $63,000 in funds to five campuses, including Pioneer, Crestview and Woodland elementary schools, Graham Junior High School and Graham High School.
Essentially, GPEF raises funds through an annual letter writing campaign and bowling fundraiser, as well as through its bi-annual Pistols and Pearls event, which will be held next year. GPEF provides request forms that campus principals give to teachers.
If they choose to, and if there is a need for equipment in the classroom, teachers will put in their requests and the forms are then returned to GPEF to be reviewed by its board.
After careful consideration of each request, the board selects which classes receive the grants. Nine grants were awarded this year, most of which were technology-based.
GPEF has seen an increase in the amount of grant requests from $11,000 to $150,000 in the past four years.
“One thing neat about the grant request process is that it just gives the teachers a formalized way to ask what they want,” said Suzy Graham, GPEF board president. “I think that it helps them. In the past, they weren’t aware of the things that they can ask for. Now they see, ‘Oh, somebody’s going to get a $26,000 check to go towards their classroom,’ and realize ‘Well gosh, I guess I could ask for something like that.’”
Read more in Wednesday's Graham Leader.