2007 - 2008 Grant Results

Through June 30, 2008, the GPFPE raised over $225,000. Of that, nearly $150,000 was awarded to the school system for specific educational programs, and $26,000 was added to the endowment fund.

Grants made included:

F.A.S.T. reading program ($250,000)
On March 31, 2008 GPFPE President Lorna Utley, announced the $100,000 F.A.S.T. Reading Challenge. A generous lead gift of $50,000 had been provided to the GPFPE by the John and Marlene Boll Foundation which spurred the Foundation to announce a matching campaign to raise $100,000 to support the district’s desire to expand implementation of the F.A.S.T. Reading System beyond the elementary reading specialists to kindergarten, first grade and secondary language arts and reading support classrooms throughout the district. On June 23, Lorna returned to present our first installment of $75,000. These funds enabled over 50 teachers to be trained in FAST over the summer and classroom materials to be ordered.

Challenge Day at North High School ($3,500)
Challenge Day promotes a cohesive school environment that encourages tolerance and teamwork. Like the district’s strategic plan, Challenge Day is committed to creating a safe learning environment that celebrates diversity and promotes acceptance. Two hundred students participated over two days in an effort to tear down walls of separation and emphasize compassion and respect. The student co-chairs presented a report to the Foundation board, sharing the impact of this session on those who attended and the methods used to extend the lessons to the entire student body.

Music in Mathematics ($4,309)
This program for all kindergarten through fourth grade classes helps students master math skills while taking advantage of classroom transition times. Students sing a variety of songs to master basic math skills as they travel from class to class.

English as a Second Language (ESL) parent lending library ($375)
At the beginning of 2008, the ESL program had 74 students and can fluctuate between 70 and 95. Through the creation of a lending library of books, books on tape, resources will promote parent involvement, build a partnership between students’ parents and the community and allow parents to learn English so they can be supportive of their children’s education.

Writing Workshop ($318) Improving students’ writing skills is an area of focus for the district. This grant purchased two set of books entitled Unites of Study for Primary Writing: A Year Long Curriculum that were used to develop a diversified and developmentally appropriate workshop approach to writing for first graders. Piloted and evaluated at Poupard Elementary, the goals of the program were: for all children to view themselves as confident writers, to progress through the stages of written expression and to provide opportunities to conference with students with their written pieces.

My Access to Writing Success Participating teachers committed to using “My Access to Writing Success” for a semester.
This program helped increase the amount of writing students were doing and giving immediate feedback and allowed teachers to conference with students to help them set goals and gauge progress while writing in large volume. Students could see where their strengths and weaknesses were and learned the importance of revising their own writing.

Using Picture Books as Models in Writing ($12,022)
Research has shown that using picture books as models is the best method for teaching narrative writing to third, fourth and fifth grade students. All third, fourth and fifth grade teachers received mandatory training in 2007, and picture books were distributed throughout the grades. At a meeting of grade level leaders on November 19, 2008, an overwhelming majority of teachers saw the benefits of using the picture books to teach narrative writing, as the students were more comfortable learning how to write shorter pieces versus the chapter book models that had been used in the past.

Destination ImagiNation ($25,570)
GPFPE helped collect funds to send four Grosse Pointe teams to the global competition for Destination ImagiNation, the world’s largest non-athletic team competition which offers kindergarten through university-level students the unique opportunity to participate in challenging activities both inside and outside their regular curriculum.

A fund for future DI teams and a plan for continued fundraising has also been implemented.

Grosse Pointe North High School Trip to New York City ($1,000)

The Aline Orten Underhill Foundation provided a directed gift to the GPFPE to be used for a scholarship to help students in the North High School music program attend a trip to New York City. While there, students performed a concert and attended musical events at venues throughout the city.