Challenge Fund gives $44,000 to elementary schools | SteamboatToday.com
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Challenge Fund gives $44,000 to elementary schools

Also at Monday's meeting:

Owner’s representative update:

Superintendent Brad Meeks reported that the district is well into its search for an owner’s representative to explore facility needs, including the possibility of a third elementary school. The district received seven applications and has narrowed them down to three finalists, with interviews being conducted this week.

Collaborative bargaining update:

The board discussed collaborative bargaining, a now public process. Despite concern from some board members, it was decided that CBT meetings this year would be held during business hours, not in the evening. Board member Scott Bideau said he thought the meetings should be held in the evening, the same way that school board, city council and other public meetings are held. Because teachers and other staff members who had joined CBT this year had volunteered with the idea that meetings would be during school hours, it was decided that the meetings should be during the day for at least the 2014-15 school year.

— More than $44,000 will go toward 21st century learning initiatives as part of the third round of Challenge Fund grants awarded to Strawberry Park and Soda Creek elementary schools.

Details of some of the grants were shared with the Steamboat Springs School Board members Monday, who unanimously voted to accept this year’s grants.

Formed in 2012, the Challenge Fund collects donations from parents, community members and local businesses and then distributes them to teachers and programs through a grant process with the district’s two elementary schools.



“The Challenge Fund was developed to fill a gap,” said Michelle McNamara, Challenge Fund chair of the Parent Information Committee at Strawberry Park Elementary. “It supports the curriculum but it’s for programs that inspire kids.”

Critical thinking, communication, collaboration and creativity are the 21st century skills the Challenge Fund aims to support.



This year, several new programs and activities were funded, and money was awarded to continue programs or replenish supplies supported during previous grant years.

“Thank you so much for what you do for our community and our students,” said board member Joey Andrew after hearing from Challenge Fund organizers about the grants.

The grant process involves proposals submitted by teachers and then approved by building principals before being sent to the Challenge Fund committee. The committee reviews applications for grants and then holds voting meetings at each school to help determine which grants will be funded.

The fund was envisioned as a simpler way to gather parent donations without multiple fundraising sales and events during the year, said Soda Creek Parent Information Committee President Chresta Brinkman during Monday’s school board meeting.

“We wanted a way to align the schools and community together in fundraising,” Brinkman said.

A sampling of the grants for Strawberry Park Elementary this year include funding for buses to bring second graders to Casey’s Pond weekly to visit with seniors, an educational trip to Denver for fifth graders and science kits for second graders.

Grants for Soda Creek Elementary include funding for Chromebooks for the coding club, an after-school program where students explore computer science through coding, enhancements to Spanish language instruction and a community mapping project for first and fourth graders.

Also at Monday’s meeting:

Owner’s representative update:

Superintendent Brad Meeks reported that the district is well into its search for an owner’s representative to explore facility needs, including the possibility of a third elementary school. The district received seven applications and has narrowed them down to three finalists, with interviews being conducted this week.

Collaborative bargaining update:

The board discussed collaborative bargaining, a now public process. Despite concern from some board members, it was decided that CBT meetings this year would be held during business hours, not in the evening. Board member Scott Bideau said he thought the meetings should be held in the evening, the same way that school board, city council and other public meetings are held. Because teachers and other staff members who had joined CBT this year had volunteered with the idea that meetings would be during school hours, it was decided that the meetings should be during the day for at least the 2014-15 school year.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow.


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