Sunrise Elementary teacher Patricia Stephens-French froze when the door to her classroom opened and a crowd of folks in blue shirts filed in. She took one look at the giant check in the hands of a member of the Canyons Education Foundation and she knew exactly what was happening: her wish was about to come true.
Each year, Canyons’ Education Foundation raises funds to offer grants to teachers with big ideas in Canyons District. Teachers apply to receive the $1,000 to $10,000 grants based on their innovative ideas on how to enhance teaching in their classrooms through technology, materials or supplemental programs.
The teachers come from all subject areas — from math and science to music and language — with requests ranging from iPads to instrumental clinicians. This year, more than $104,000 will be delivered to 16 Innovation Grant recipients throughout the District.
“I’m shaking — you guys, this is so amazing,” Stephens-French told her students as she took her check for $4,049 into her hands. “We are going to have so much fun!”
Stephens-French, who teaches a fifth-grade SALTA class, submitted her grant application to be able to purchase technology to allow her students opportunities to explore alternative ways to share their knowledge with the world.
Teachers requested robotics kits, a 3-D printer, printmaking supplies, Google cardboard, and music experts and recording equipment to add to their classroom instruction. The Foundation has awarded Innovation Grants to teachers since 2011, after working with members of the community to raise funds to support the educational experience of Canyons’ students.
Each year, the Foundation hosts two fundraisers to generate funds to benefit Canyons’ students. An annual golf tournament is used to raise funds for Innovation Grants. An annual gala is used to raise funds for student scholarships. The next golf tournament is scheduled for Sept. 19, 2018. The gala is April 19.
For Stephens-French, the support she received through receiving an Innovation Grant is vital. Through her grant, she will receive 10 iPads, a cart, three microphones, a Green Screen and three stands.
“We’ll have a chance to be super creative in here,” Stephens-French said. “The possibilities are just endless.”