School principals at schools across Arizona got a surprise last week… and while surprises for schools are nothing new in 2020, this was a welcome surprise. In a year of uncertainty and challenge, the APS Foundation had the privilege of delivering the good news to 45 Title 1 school principals letting them know that they had been randomly selected to receive an unrestricted $5,000 APS Supply My School grant to help them meet their most pressing needs.
The Supply My School grant awards are a new twist on the APS Supply My Class grant awards, which were established in 2018 as a way for Arizona teachers in APS territory to enter for a chance to be randomly selected to receive a $500 grant to spend on classroom supplies.
“We want our teachers and administrators to be able to focus on student success,” says Tina Marie Tentori, Executive Director of the APS Foundation, “and one way we can help make that happen is to give them some extra funding to meet their school’s most pressing needs – whether it’s for PPE, cleaning supplies, school supplies, training, or technology. Each school principal will decide how the funds will be used to best serve their students.”
Sylvia Bernal is the principal of Garfield Elementary in Phoenix, one of the schools selected to receive a Supply My School grant. And while Bernal says she was surprised by the grant, she wasn’t at all surprised about the support offered from APS.
“We have had a partnership with APS for many years,” says Bernal. “I’ve been principal here for seven years, and APS has supported Garfield Elementary long before that. The generosity of the APS team has continued to grow.”
Most of the 520 pre-K through 8th grade students at Garfield Elementary have been doing their schooling online the entire school year. Bernal says this has presented challenges for teachers, who are new to online teaching, and to students and families, who struggle with remaining engaged in this new remote learning environment.
Garfield Elementary helps its low-income families with not only education, but also critical needs like access to healthy food. Bernal says the $5,000 grant will be used to support its weekly fresh produce/mobile pantry program, plus learning engagement incentives like Door Dash delivery rewards for students with perfect attendance and books for students to build their own at-home libraries – especially important when the school library is closed due to the pandemic.
“When we get support from organizations like APS, we feel rewarded and like we are not alone.”
The Supply My School program is just one way APS supports education. Throughout the year, there are a number of grant opportunities available to Arizona teachers and schools, including STEM Teacher Grants for hands-on STEM classroom projects and other education related grants. Information about these grants can be found at APS.com/community.
About the APS Foundation
The APS Foundation supports programs that enhance academic achievement in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Since 1981, the Foundation has invested more than $44 million in projects throughout Arizona that help prepare students to compete in a 21st century economy. To find out more information, please visit APS.com/foundation.