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

If you can’t read, you can’t do.

IMG_1201“When I couldn’t read well, school was a waste of time.” –4J middle schooler

When kids aren’t reading at grade level, every part of their educational experience suffers. The effects of low literacy can harm students’ abilities to follow instructions, incorporate vocabulary, understand math and science problems, and to believe in their own abilities to learn and grow as students.

When kids can’t read, they can’t participate. They feel ashamed and lose focus. They often act out.

When kids can’t read, they can’t do.

For Oregon students, the need for improved literacy is real. Fewer than 40% of families read at home to their children. In Lane County, 50-80% of all children entering kindergarten do not have the early literacy skills they need. More and more often, our kids are starting behind, and when they start behind, they often stay behind.

Thanks to our donors, EEF invested more than $100,000 in literacy efforts across School District 4J during the past two years.

  • Funding pre-kindergarten literacy through the Kids in Transition to School pre-kindergarten readiness program, which corrects literacy deficits before kids enter school.
  • Investing in technology that allows students to practice reading at their own paces.
  • Encouraging reading at home, by funding programs that provide engaging books for kids to bring home—sometimes providing the first book that students have owned themselves.
  • Investing in Oregon Battle of the Books across 4J, which makes reading a fun social event for middle schoolers.
  • Focusing on students who have fallen behind through funding literacy interventions and individualized support.

Students who fall behind in their reading skills not only suffer in class, but they also miss out on enrichment that relies on verbal fluency. From robotics and engineering to theatre and music, if you can’t read, you can’t do.

EEF continuously works to close the gap that widens as students fall behind, but we cannot do it without our donors.  Without you, these programs would go unfunded.  

Each year, we receive more funding requests than we can fill.

Your gift to EEF ripples throughout students’ experiences in school and life.

  • A $10,000 gift doubles the number of middle schoolers to whom we can offer needed literacy interventions.
  • A $2,000 gift invests in evidence-based at-home reading incentive programs for an entire elementary school for a year.
  • A $500 gift buys Oregon Battle of the Books supplies for a whole school.
  • A $100 gift provides 40 elementary students with access to an effective literacy intervention program.

Our young readers turn into informed voters and creative thinkers. They become collaborators, designers and second-language learners. Most importantly, they become people who believe in their capacities to learn and grow.

If you can read, you can do.

 EEF’s grants also help ignite learning for all students through projects and opportunities that provide enrichment beyond the traditional course offerings. For example, EEF funded Madison Middle School’s medieval simulation game, allowing students to place themselves in a historical moment and write and read together to make important political decisions. Opportunities like this make learning fun and promote creativity and engagement.

Thank you for your continued investment in your local public schools and education foundation.


Rebecca signiture

Rebecca Sprinson
Executive Director