Creative. Innovative. Interesting. Thought provoking. Awe inspiring.
All terms that you would hope to describe your child’s classroom teacher. The Portage Township Education Foundation (PTEF) works tirelessly to cultivate and fund these attributes of our teachers so that they in turn are provided with the opportunity and support to create this type of environment for your children to learn in.
PTEF is a group of parents, educators, and business leaders who believe strongly in Portage Township Schools and who are willing to work towards raising grant monies so that teachers have the opportunity to expand the innovative delivery in their classrooms.
Through the grant process, the sub-committee looks for proposals that while curricular in nature, accelerate student achievement, demonstrate innovation, capture students’ interests, and foster hands-on, inter-disciplinary, experiential learning. Each year thousands of dollars are made available for teachers to fund their creative ideas by submitting to a grant process. Once an application is completed within the noted grant application window, the sub- committee will review, rate, and award grants to the most promising of ideas. Winners are notified and then the excitement begins for that teacher as they fulfill that proposal and provide more tools and/or experiences for their students.
Some quick examples of the innovations that have been provided through the PTEF grant process include:
Musical instrument petting zoo – where instruments are purchased, and presented to elementary students to explore and experience with the hopes of sparking an interest.
Early Childhood learning project – where books, training and food were provided to parents who had pre-K students and wanted to start their educational journey on the right path.
Open Heart Surgery video conference – where students were afforded the opportunity to watch and interact with a surgeon during an actual open heart surgery via a dedicated video feed.
Power of Image/Self Image – where students were provided with photography equipment and able to scour the community to capture images that were transformed into art projects to reflect thoughts and feelings.
These are just some of the many opportunities that students have been given that without the funding from the PTEF grant, may have never happened.
Each year PTEF co-sponsors a spring fundraiser with the Greater Portage Chamber of Commerce in which we petition local businesses and individuals to volunteer time and treasure for auction. This evening soiree provides the opportunity to not only financially back these innovations, but to network within your community and help raise awareness of these incredible educators and their ideas of how to take their classroom to the next level.
This year’s event is begins at 5:30 p.m. Thursday at the Oakwood Grand Hall in Woodland Park. Please consider attending and supporting this event and teacher innovation through the Portage Township Education Foundation. For more information or tickets, call (219) 764-6900.
This column solely represents the writer's opinion.