OGDEN -- Teachers and administrators across the Ogden School District got a boost from the Ogden School Foundation recently, as many were greeted with balloons and a check, representing grants they had applied for in the past few months.
Thanks to the foundation and grant-writing teachers, students will have various extras in their classrooms. Some will have classroom Kindles, iPads, personal books, math manipulatives or even desks for new computers.
The checks ranged from about $500 to $6,000. Mini-grants of up to $300 were also awarded to teachers. In all, the foundation awarded $180,000 to teachers across the district.
Last year the foundation started using what they call the "surprise patrol" to deliver the larger grants, to make teachers aware of what the foundation was doing for students. The response was great, and this year the foundation had so many applications, some had to be turned down.
Previously, teachers could only apply for up to $500, but the foundation wanted to give teachers a chance to apply for bigger items for students.
"Classroom supplies are great and very helpful, but sometimes there is something just a little more meaningful that takes more money," Foundation Director Janis Vause said.
Mount Ogden Junior High School librarian Casey Pond saw the balloons go by her library and felt a little sad they weren't stopping in to award her a grant for new computer desks that she badly needs. She got a big surprise when they visited her next.
"She started jumping up and down, she was so happy," Vause said.
Pond was thrilled.
"I know desks really aren't that exciting, but we needed them so much," she said.
She worked with the principal to apply for a grant for $6,000 for desks on which to place computers that were passed down to the library from the computer class. She had the computers, but no place to put them, and there were cords everywhere.
"Not only was it a problem aesthetically, but it was a huge safety problem," Pond said.
Other teachers were also delighted with their grant money. Mound Fort special education teacher Kristina Schroeder got money for classroom Kindles.
"My whole goal is to get iPads for every student in this district ... getting this grant gives me encouragement to apply for others," she said looking at the big-format check hanging in her room.
She wants her students to get on board with quickly advancing technology.
"They can look up a word with a touch of a button, and that is good for them," she said.
"Anything I can do to help my students achieve success is a good thing," Schroeder said with a huge smile.
The money for the grants comes from the fall author event that was held earlier this month, along with a charity golf tournament, an Ogden Raptors night and donations from other foundations.
"We're expecting a lot (from) our teachers, and their work comes with a lot of stress. We don't want them to get burned out and feel like they are alone," Vause said.
She saw teachers cry when receiving their checks and thanking the foundation for helping to make both their jobs and life for students easier.
Vause said: "I am so thrilled we can help our professionals feel professional."
Click here to see a list of projects that received funding.