2022-23 Grant in Action: District Learn-to-Ride Program

When Eugene School District 4J realized that many older elementary and middle schoolers did not know how to ride a bike, they partnered with the Safe Routes to School Program to offer “learn-to-ride” opportunities primarily targeted towards K-1 students. In fall of 2022, EEF granted nearly $6,000 to the district to purchase a fleet of new bikes and helmets for the learn-to-ride program.Learning to ride a bike is not only fun, it encourages healthy exercise habits which have been linked to increased happiness, mental health, and academic success. Biking also offers students who live in the “walk zone” (within 1-1.5 miles of their school) and are not served by school buses an alternative mode of getting to school. Instructors at the learn-to-ride program incorporate elements of Social Emotional Learning into their coaching to help students deal with frustration, issues with sharing, and other challenges that arise while learning a new skill.In this school year alone, the bikes served nearly 1,000 4J students and hundreds more at community wide learn-to-ride events. 

“Having more appropriate equipment has improved their skill development, increased their enjoyment and engagement, boosted their self-esteem and confidence, and enhanced safety and inclusivity within the program. These resources have not only facilitated a more effective learning experience but have also contributed to a positive and inclusive atmosphere where students can thrive and excel in their bike-riding journey.”

-Sarah Mazze, Safe Routes to School Program Coordinator

2022-23 Grant in Action: Madison Middle School, Rejuvenate the Bandsaw

Students in Mr. Stead’s Industrial Arts class at Madison Middle School were able to donate 60 handmade, aesthetically pleasing, and functional ‘Tot Stools’ to the Marines’ Toys For Tots drive in the 2022-23 school year. This incredible act of community service was made possible by a $1,600 grant from EEF that funded the purchase of a new bandsaw for the woodshop. The new bandsaw replaced old equipment that caused safety issues and contributed to the waste of expensive woodworking materials. As a result of this grant, nearly 400 students had the opportunity to get hands-on experience working with industry-standard equipment as they developed skills and interest in the industrial arts. Providing Career and Technical Education (CTE) opportunities in public schools is crucial to guiding students to a career that is meaningful to them.

“Classroom learning is important, but when students can put the things they have learned in a classroom to the test in a ‘laboratory’… or shop environment, it is amazing to see the lights go on! Watching these connections being made is why I want to be a teacher.”

Mike Stead,
Industrial Arts Teacher, Madison Middle School

2022-23 Grant in Action: McCornack Elementary STEAM Makerspace

In the 2021-22 school year, EEF provided a $3,500.00 grant to McCornack Elementary to purchase materials for a STEAM makerspace. The makerspace gave students the opportunity to learn collaboratively about science, technology, engineering, arts, and math concepts in ways that are best suited to their individual learning styles. Due to the overwhelming success and popularity of the makerspace, EEF granted an additional $5,000 to McCornack for the 2022-23 school year to purchase additional supplies for the space, making it more accessible to a greater number of students and providing more learning opportunities to reach a diverse range of abilities.

The makerspace continuously proves to be a worthy investment of grant dollars. Students are excited about learning new skills, working collaboratively with students they normally would not, and have even extended their learning outside the classroom and into the home!

“We saw kids grow and work together and all try new things. We even saw kids who liked some of the new tools and resources so much, parents said they asked for their own sets at holiday time!”

Kate Wagoner, 2nd grade teacher at McCornack

EEF Announces Second Round of Funding for 2021-2022 School Year

EEF Grants Over $83,000 to 4J Schools in Second Round of Funding for 2021-22 School Year 

Eugene, OR – The Eugene Education Foundation Board of Directors is thrilled to announce an additional $83,674.62 in grant funds to be distributed to schools and district level programs in Eugene School District 4J, in the second of two rounds of funding for the 2021-22 school year.   Combined with the grants awarded in Fall 2021, EEF has invested a total of  $223,150 in standard grants this year.  

The funding categories for grants awarded during this round included literacy, STEM, art and music, social emotional learning, and physical education.  Some examples of grants that advance innovation and support overall student success include: Cesar Chávez Elementary School’s Adapted Books for the Inclusive Instruction of Diverse Learners, which provided a set of classroom books adapted to help students with learning disabilities to increase their reading level while remaining in the classroom with their peers; Spencer Butte Middle School’s Vernier GoDirect Sensor Probes, which provided temperature and weather probes for students to monitor climatic conditions in a chemistry lab or outside in environmental monitoring; and Arts & Technology Academy’s Electronic Music Foundational Equity Fund, which provided midi keyboards and headphones for students to compose digital music on school iPads. 

Many of the applications awarded have an emphasis on increasing diversity, equity, and inclusion in materials and curriculum, or addressing the growing need for student mental health support. Applications received during both rounds of funding highlight the impact the pandemic has had on children’s ability to focus and moderate behavior in the classroom. 

Most notably, EEF awarded $10,000 for a district level grant for Conscious Discipline program materials for K-1 teachers. Conscious Discipline is an evidence-based social-emotional learning and classroom management strategy that is currently being implemented in kindergarten and first grade classrooms in 4J’s Title I elementary schools.  The positive results in classrooms using Conscious Discipline have included fewer behavioral incidents, less tardiness and absenteeism, increased empathy, and even higher reading scores.  

Mariah Engle, a Kindergarten teacher at Cesar Chavez Elementary, shared how Conscious Discipline has transformed her classroom: 

“Conscious Discipline takes us from an unconscious, reactive state, to a conscious, mindful place of personal and communal awareness. I finally feel like I am not only providing children with the skills they need to succeed academically, but I am also providing them with skills to succeed in life, both emotionally and socially. I am also growing and becoming a happier and more fulfilled person through this work”.  

Since 1993, EEF has been the Foundation for 4J, connecting the generous support of donors, corporate sponsors, and school/parent partnerships with programs that create opportunities for equity, access, and engagement in learning for 4J students. Throughout the pandemic, EEF offered two grant cycles per year to ensure that educators had access to resources needed to continue to provide high quality education in the face of compounding adversity. As the district transitions away from pandemic era policies, EEF will revert to offering just one grant cycle per year, beginning in the fall of 2022. 

Started during the pandemic, EEF will also continue to fund Urgent Needs and Rosie’s Fund requests on a rolling basis to provide individual interventions to students who are in crisis or are facing other significant barriers to learning. This school year, to date, EEF has granted $15,232 in Urgent Needs requests and $29,820 in Rosie’s Fund support. 

EEF receives much of the funding needed to provide ongoing support to 4J schools through an annual fundraising dinner. For the first time in two years, the event will be held on May 13th at 5:30 pm at the Kidsports Fieldhouse at Civic Park. To attend, donate, or find more information about On Track For Success: EEF’s Annual Dinner, please visit: https://bit.ly/EEFannualdinner22.

EEF will be hosting two additional fundraising events this year to provide more opportunities for folks to show their support for excellence in public education. Stay tuned for more details about the summer winery event and community 5K/fun run in the fall!

Support from organizations like Thermo Fisher Scientific, SELCO Community Credit Union, Sunrise Asian Food Market, Pape’ Group, Bigfoot Beverages, and Palo Alto Software, along with many other businesses and individuals, make it possible for EEF to support 4J with annual grants.  

Visit http://www.eeflane.org to learn how to support EEF, and to help make learning happen.

EEF Announces Fall 2021 Grant Awards

Official Press Release
November 4, 2021
Contact: Dana Fleming, Executive Director,  eef@eeflane.org, 541-790-7744

***For Immediate Release***

EEF Grants Over $144,000 to 4J Schools and District-Wide Programs in First of Two Rounds for 2021-22 School Year 

Eugene, OR – The Eugene Education Foundation’s Board of Directors is excited to announce the distribution of more than $144,000 in grants to schools and district programs that support social emotional learning and drive literacy, science, and other subject areas to help address challenges post- pandemic. This grant cycle is one of two EEF will offer to the district in an unusual year. The second round of applications will be reviewed and awarded in February 2022 in an effort to provide ongoing support to schools and the district.  An additional Urgent Needs application – created in response to families dealing with the impacts of Covid-19 – will have a rolling deadline throughout the year.  

For the past 28 years, EEF grants have brought much needed enrichment and access in 4J schools. During the past two unprecedented years of distance and hybrid learning, EEF met the need for rising inequities in our community by splitting the normal granting cycle into two separate cycles, allowing more access for teachers and staff.  EEF recognized that a comprehensive approach was needed again this year. 

The once-in-a-lifetime disruption in learning brought on by the pandemic has impacted students all over the world, including the 15,623 K-12 students in Eugene School District 4J.  Teachers and administrators made heroic efforts throughout distance and hybrid learning.  Now, as students have returned to classrooms for the first time in two years, the needs of our young learners have never been so great or diverse.  With the help of individual donors and corporate sponsors, EEF is able to help to meet those needs through grants to 4J classrooms and district level programs. 

“Our board was impressed with the variety of grants received this cycle,” said Dana Fleming, Executive Director of EEF. “We know that the 4J community is struggling, and that psychological and physical safety underpin student success.  Any way that we can help support students and staff as they reenter their classrooms is a win.” 

Grant proposals this year represented a broad spectrum of subject areas, including projects in literacy, science, math, adaptive supports, health and physical education, career technical education, and the arts.   Additionally, there was an increase in requests for projects that promote social emotional learning.  Grant awardee Mandy Brookshear, Edison Elementary Counselor, stated well why requests in this category have grown: 

“Students are coming to school overwhelmed and anxious. They have learned over the last 2 years that the world has changed.  Adults are much more stressed than they were, and unfortunately, that stress is weighing significantly on children. This is causing a mental health crisis throughout our youth. This crisis looks like social and emotional behaviors of concern, but it also looks like hyper-vigilance and perfectionism. There is not one student in our school that hasn’t been impacted by our current crisis and we need to methodically devote time, energy, and resources to address their needs!”

Examples of other grants include: Arts and Technology Academy’s Programmable Drones, which will provide the materials needed to build and operate drones in a new elective class at ATA; Buena Vista Elementary School’s Arte en Segundo Grado, through which students will hone their fine motor skills through a combination of painting, handwriting, and creative writing using the medium of watercolors; and North Eugene High School’s Library Nonfiction Renewal, that will allow Amary Taylor, NEHS Librarian, to fill gaps in content and perspective in NEHS’ nonfiction library collection.   “We are SO excited to receive this generous grant from EEF! School libraries are expected to offer reliable, trustworthy, and current informational nonfiction books for students who may be curious about the world around them, about technology, about historical people and events, and about society. Unfortunately, our nonfiction section has fallen short on this promise, and the funds we’ve received will help us to renew these valuable resources,” stated Taylor.  

In addition to awarding grants to each school, the Eugene Education Foundation also awarded six district-wide grants, including a grant that will fund the purchase of a 360-degree camera and related materials that will be available for use throughout the district for virtual tours and orientations, and other learning opportunities.  Another district level grant will allow students with moderate to severe disabilities to engage in a variety of outings in their local community.  

Since 1993, EEF has been the Foundation for 4J, connecting the generous support of donors, corporate sponsors, and school/parent partnerships with programs that create opportunities for equity, access, and engagement for 4J students.  Support from organizations like SELCO Community Credit Union, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Sunrise Asian Food Market, Pape’, Bigfoot Beverages, and Rowell Brokaw Architects, along with many other businesses and individuals, make it possible for EEF to support 4J with annual grants.  

Visit www.eeflane.org  to learn how to support EEF, and to help make learning happen.

For a complete list of grants awarded during the 2021-22 school year, visit this link.

Funding Categories: