Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools announces $60,000 in engagement grants to benefit all students

McLoughlin Middle School 8th grade field trip to Battle Ground Lake for data collection, field research and exposure to nature and outdoor activities. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
McLoughlin Middle School 8th grade field trip to Battle Ground Lake for data collection, field research and exposure to nature and outdoor activities. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

A common theme was a desire to connect classroom learning with hands-on ‘real world experiences,’ often outdoors

In the fall of 2021, as students returned to in person classes, teachers and students alike were excited to resume engagement activities.  A common theme was a desire to connect classroom learning with hands-on “real world experiences”, often outdoors. The Foundation for VPS Engagement Grants ranged from field data collection at local lakes and streams, school garden projects, bringing a mobile black history museum to several high schools, trips to art and science museums, guest speakers highlighting overcoming challenges and social justice as well as an outdoor family night “winter wonderland petting zoo”.    

Vancouver Flex Academy attends the Portland Art Museum Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
Vancouver Flex Academy attends the Portland Art Museum Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

“Over the last year we distributed $60,000 in grants across the district for student engagement and enrichment,” shared Jenny Thompson, the new executive director of the Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools. “What’s even more exciting is next year we are committed to providing even more opportunities for our students.”

Since 1998, the Foundation for VPS has awarded more than one million dollars to fund innovative and exciting projects that enrich student learning.

Owl discovery dissection lab at Alki Middle School. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools
Owl discovery dissection lab at Alki Middle School. Photo courtesy Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools

The 2021-22 grant recipients include:

  • Alki Middle – Owl discovery dissection lab kits, multimedia visual art supplies allowing students to explore new mediums such as different clay and glaze combinations, special graphite pencils, and watercolors.  Student art was displayed on campus and enjoyed by all teachers and students.         
  • Anderson Elementary– OMSI and Zoo field trips.
  • Chinook Elementary – Field trips; OMSI classroom/zoom, Salmon Creek Greenway (Salmon Release project). 
  • Columbia River High – Guest speaker Erin Jones on MLK and science lab supplies.  
  • Eisenhower Elementary – School wide student keyboards to enhance ipad use across all grades.
  • Discovery Middle –Therapeutic board games for the counseling department, supplies for the “lego lunch club”, pig and sheep heart dissection kits, robotic kits, and playground equipment.
  • Fort Vancouver Center for International Studies – Guest speaker Erin Jones on MLK, and an English enrichment OMSI field trip. 
  • Fruit Valley Elementary – Klineline pond salmon creek regional park field trip.
  • Hazel Dell Elementary – Art supplies to support student and family engagement.
  • Heights Campus – School garden project including paint pens for rock art, building and hanging bird houses, and a compost bin for yard waste.
  • Hough Elementary – Mystery Science subscription and engagement supplies. 
  • Hudson’s Bay High – Guest speakers and presentations from Khalid El Hakin – Black History Artifacts and Erin Jones. 
  • Tech Preparatory – Field trip to iFly for hands-on physics experimentation, supplies for building on campus mini golf course.
  • Jason Lee Middle – One Book One School project purchased the book Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt for each student for collaborative school wide reading and discussion. The message: each person is unique and is capable of overcoming obstacles in their lives was expanded on by motivational speaker and storyteller, Tyler Monk.
  • King Elementary – Field trips to the Portland Art Museum and Oregon Zoo
  • Marshall Elementary – Salmon Creek Greenway Salmon Release project.
  • McLoughlin Middle – Battle Ground Lake field trip with the entire 8th grade for data collection, field research and exposure to nature and outdoor activities.
  • Minnehaha Elementary – Supplies to increase student engagement and school citizenship. 
  • Ogden Elementary – Winter wonderland outdoor family event with petting zoo.
  • Roosevelt Elementary – Student engagement supplies.
  • Sacajawea Elementary – Presentations from the “Reptile Man” and Portland Audubon Society about birds and owls.
  • Salmon Creek – Sensory items, weighted vests, and headphones to create a quiet safe space for students to decompress.
  • Skyview High – Guest speakers and presentations from Khalid El Hakin – Black History Artifacts and Erin Jones, software for VR goggles for virtual field trips.
  • Tangeman Center – Compost bin to encourage waste recycling.
  • Vancouver School of Arts and Academics – Supplies and transportation for a “day of caring” where students have various opportunities to volunteer in the community.
  • Vancouver Flex Academy – School wide Field trips to bowling, Portland Art Museum (Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera exhibit), and the Portland Zoo with a tour and talk about zoo related careers.

The Foundation for Vancouver Public Schools is an independent, 501(c)3 educational nonprofit corporation established in 1988 to support Vancouver Public Schools (VPS). Governed by a volunteer Board of Directors made up of business, community, and education leaders, the Foundation creates opportunities to cultivate and inspire student success. As an educational nonprofit entity, the Foundation serves students at all 37 VPS schools, providing direct aid to students facing learning barriers due to economic need, as well as financial assistance for learning enrichment and mentoring programs that cannot be funded by the school district. The Foundation for VPS is supported by donations from school employees, parents, students, community members, and businesses. Visit www.FoundationforVPS.org for more information.


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