Building Blocks for Success Celebrates 12th Year
Sarasota, Florida – October 19, 2009 – Cindy Kaiser, executive director of the Education Foundation of Sarasota County, announced that 65 Building Blocks for Success Grants totaling $74,375 have been awarded to educators at 30 Sarasota County public schools.
The grants of up to $1,200 each will fund teacher-designed projects across all subject area and reach thousands of students, from pre-Kindergarten to high school seniors. Donated dollars will buy materials for classroom libraries, fund essential equipment for special needs, provide supplies for literacy, math, science and arts projects, underwrite educational field trips and much more.
This year, the program awarded an inaugural Building Blocks PLUS grant of $4,422 to Fruitville Elementary’s Danielle Ard for her “Writing from the Heart” project, which will involve over 200 students in writing their own plays. Through a partnership with Florida Studio Theatre, the students will work with actors in playwriting workshops, building their understanding of the creative process while honing their writing skills. The most successful scripts will be selected by the students themselves, performed for the entire school, and submitted to compete in the 2010 Florida Studio Theatre Young Playwrights Festival. Ultimately, all of the participating students will travel to FST to enjoy a performance of “Rumplestiltskin.”
Building Blocks PLUS awards are designed to fund an interdepartmental, multi-classroom, or school-wide project that is inspired from a previous year’s grant. Building Blocks PLUS projects also have the potential to serve as a model for other schools. “Writing from the Heart” is modeled after a project implemented last year at Fruitville Elementary by teacher Lauren Johnson.
A total of 180 Building Blocks grant proposals were submitted for review by an independent panel of community leaders, retired educators, district administrators and other volunteers. September’s grant reading sessions were hosted by the Sarasota County School Board at The Landings and by the North Port Sun and Weekly Herald at its North Port offices.
Now in its 12th year, Building Blocks for Success Grants are made possible by the program’s founding donor, the William G. Selby and Marie Selby Foundation, and by Bank of America Client Foundation, the Julius Brandenburg Legacy Fund, and the Odile Robertson Charitable Fund of the Gulf Coast Community Foundation of Venice. Libby Early chairs the Education Foundation Grants Committee. Christine A. Brown is the Building Blocks program director.
The Education Foundation provides teacher grants through two different programs each year: Edge of Excellence Classroom Grants (maximum $500 each) and Building Blocks for Success Grants (maximum $1,200 each). This year’s Edge of Excellence grants will be awarded at a reception for winning teachers on December 3. Since 1990, the Foundation has funded over 3,550 projects totaling well over $2.2 million through the two grant programs.
2009-10 Building Blocks Winners