The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK


March 22, 2006

Local groups providing more financial aid to area classrooms


The Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence provides resources and services to local education foundations. The OFE, founded 20 years ago by U.S. Sen. David Boren, offers free training and resources to new and established local foundations through its outreach program.

“Community support is vital to ensuring teacher and student success, and local education foundations play an important role in partnering with communities to provide additional resources for public schools,” said Emily Stratton, executive director of the OFE.

The outreach program offers an annual fall forum, which provides training and networking for foundation volunteers, administrators and educators.

When Kremlin-Hillsdale Academic Enrichment Foundation was ready to award teacher grants for the first time, they called on the regional representative Susan Bowers to join them.

“They had never awarded grants before and wanted some guidance on the process,” Bowers said.

More than $22,000 in grants have been presented to Kremlin-Hillsdale Public Schools teachers for supplemental instructional materials since the foundation began presenting grants during the 2002-03 school year.

A local bank got on board last year and promised to match up to $25,000 over five years. The Bank of Kremlin is matching up to $5,000 each year to benefit students. Tracy Bittle, KHAEF board member, said the foundation’s endowment has grown to more than $26,000.

Mike Riddle, KHAEF president, said the community is helping support the district, its teachers and students.

“It’s been fantastic,” Riddle said, adding grants have more than doubled since the program’s inception.

The Chisholm Foundation works with the district to identify needs and then tries to help meet the needs. It also began giving grants to teachers last year.

“The foundation appreciates all the great things the teachers at Chisholm do and thanks them all for their efforts,” Joe Snodgrass, foundation board member, has said.

The Chisholm Foundation also helped buy a $100,000 activity bus to replace the 30-year-old bus the school had been using. The bus is to be used by the entire district. The foundation has helped fulfill a number of other needs.

“The foundation will continue to work with the school district, identifying and helping with projects to give the students at Chisholm a great educational experience,” Snodgrass said.

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