Education Foundation is in the giving spirit | ParkRecord.com

Education Foundation is in the giving spirit

For many teachers in the Park City School District, Christmas has come early.

The Park City Education Foundation (PCEF) recently announced it has given more than $50,000 of grants to 25 local teachers. The teachers applied earlier this fall for the grants, which are meant to fund innovative ideas within the classroom.

Sara Hutchinson, who oversees the PCEF grant programs — the organization also awards district and school grants — said a committee made up of volunteers from each school in the district chose which grant applications would be selected. Teachers whose applications were chosen were notified the week of Thanksgiving.

"It really is a big deal for the teachers that have the ideas to apply for the grants," Hutchinson said. "They have their money in-hand, and they’re stoked."

The ideas the grants will help bring to fruition are diverse. One grant will pay for African drums, allowing students at Jeremy Ranch Elementary School to learn about another culture through music. Another will provide the means for Park City High School journalism students to print a monthly newspaper, as well as create a website that would include mobile and app versions.

"Our criteria on most of the grants we give out is innovation," Hutchinson said. "So we’re really looking for new ideas and new technologies. It’s a really big deal because these grants really differentiate the student experience (from other districts)."

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Being able to help provide that experience for students is one of the foundation’s primary objectives. Hutchinson said that there are so many teachers with innovative ideas who are key to helping that mission is inspiring to those involved with PCEF and throughout the community.

"It’s awesome," Hutchinson said, noting teachers from each school in the district received a grant. "It feels very hopeful and optimistic. Many of us who are either working (at PCEF) or volunteering are raising kids in the public school district, so it’s exciting for us to see the ideas the teachers have. It really renews our spirit, and we get to see a fun and different aspect of learning. It’s for sure the best time of the year. I feel like Santa all the time, getting to write the e-mails to the teachers that let them know they got a grant."