Community Foundation Celebrates Innovative Teachers at Annual Education Awards Celebration

An annual education awards celebration hosted by Grand Rapids Community Foundation will take place on Wednesday May 2 from 5:30-7:30pm at Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park. The ceremony honors local teachers, students, principals and families from schools that received Good Classrooms minigrants in 2011-12. Innovative projects from twenty-one schools received minigrants this year for a grand total of $121,636.

“The Good Classrooms minigrant program provides motivated teachers with an opportunity to receive funding for projects or tools that can help students be more successful,” said Cris Kutzli, education and youth program officer at Grand Rapids Community Foundation

Teachers in Grand Rapids Public, Catholic and Christian Schools can apply for minigrants each year for awards ranging from $250 to $5,000. The applications are available at the beginning of the year and submitted in October.

“Teachers are creative and progressive—and every year they are doing more with fewer resources while putting projects on hold because of budgets,” said Kutzli. “The teachers and principals truly know what their students need to get the most from their education. The Community Foundation is thrilled to be the catalyst to make what their classrooms need a reality.”

Principal Ann Zoellner at Ridgemoor Early Childhood Center is appreciative of the minigrant her school received towards adopting “Pete the Cat” as their Book of the Year. The theme has produced vast results for their goals to create engagement at home and celebrate reading. “We were able to provide children from 450 families with books, CDs and 10 themed activities for the kids to work on at home with their family. Kids and parents alike adore “Pete the Cat”. We have parents sending their praises for the family time the book is providing – one even said their child sleeps with the book.

“There’s no way we could have done this program the way we wanted to without the minigrant from the Community Foundation – the books alone cost $4,000.

A “Pete the Cat” exhibit will be at Wednesday’s event along with local puppeteer Kevin Kammeraad for the entertainment.  Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park is located on 1000 East Beltline Avenue NE.  Media is welcome to attend.