Grant applications sought by education foundation

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The Kalispell Education Foundation is seeking grant applications from Kalispell teachers.

The foundation also is looking for a new director who will work as an outreach coordinator for Kalispell Public Schools.

Grants provided through the education foundation purchase materials for unique projects and curriculum. The grant application deadline is Oct. 26. Grant programs may be planned for one classroom, an entire grade level or school.

About $10,000 is available and grants usually are $500 or $1,000. Grant applications may be downloaded at www.educationfoundation.org.

“We’re pretty pleased with the quality grants we’re getting from the district,” said Lynn Havens, a board member with the Kalispell Education Foundation.

She said the foundation provides extra funding for unique learning opportunities.

“This is supposed to enhance learning for students and teaching for teachers … special things that would help kids, but the district can’t really afford. It has to be an innovative program or innovative use of technology,” Havens said. She added that the benefit of funding effective programs is that they may be shared with other teachers.

Grants are awarded to applicants who have not yet received funding. Teachers who have received grants are eligible to apply again after two years.

Hedges Elementary School Special Education Teacher Janet Mullis received a $1,000 grant in 2009. She purchased therapeutic sensory equipment for students with special needs: squishy balls, headphones, special swings and a resistance tunnel.

These are used by children who need extra sensory experiences for comfort, relaxation and stimulation so they can focus on learning. To write the grant, Mullis worked with a team of speech, physical and occupational therapists.

“It would take years to buy all this out of our school budgets,” Mullis said. She said it has been wonderful to use the materials with students over the years. “It has made a big difference in teaching the students with disabilities.”

With the grant deadline approaching, Havens hopes to see a new director in place. In addition to being director the candidate will be an outreach coordinator for District 5, making the position full time.

Salary is between $36,000 and $38,000 depending on experience. As an outreach coordinator, the director will serve as a liaison between the foundation and district, local media and community. He or she also would maintain websites and report to the District 5 superintendent. For the Kalispell Education Foundation the director will set the agenda for meetings and maintain a donor database and financial records, among other duties. 

Reporter Hilary Matheson may be reached at 758-4431 or by email at hmatheson@dailyinterlake.com.

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