Editor’s Note: The following guest column comes from Michele Pasko, a member of the Hopkins Education Foundation Board.
You may have noticed that school funding is a contentious issue—as fuel and insurance costs rise, school budgets continue to shrink or remain stagnant. HEF has allowed Hopkins to do something about the problem.
HEF is the Hopkins Education Foundation, a non-profit that grants money to projects within the Hopkins School District. HEF grants funds to "best-practice" ideas—both large and small—generated from Hopkins school staff. These ideas excite, motivate, engage and inspire, and are often pilot projects that allow the school district to "try it before we buy it." Small-scale projects can be tested in one classroom or one school, and then evaluated for addition to the district curriculum. HEF has funded numerous technology grants, and the district has been able decide: is it a tool or just a toy? iPads were given a big thumbs up and have now been issued to each seventh grader. Other technology grants have included TI Navigator Systems, software to modify curriculum for special education, computer labs, Solar Greenhouse, laptop computers, Smartboards, Activotes … the list goes on.
Conversely, some projects are designed to always remain on a small scale—addressing either a one-time need or to benefit a specific population of students. Some examples would be the purchase of the Stock Market Game for Challenge students or Stability Balls for wiggly second graders or the repainting of a playground surface to provide peaceful learning opportunities at recess and phy. ed. classes.
To learn more about HEF grants, to become involved or to contribute, visit HopkinsEducationFoundation.org or call 952-988-4097.