Summit County Educators Receive Grants From GAR Foundation for Classroom-based Projects

Group of students

GAR Foundation announced $350,000 in funding to 39 teams of educators through its annual Educator Initiative Grant (EIG) program. The EIG program offers grants to K-12 educators in Summit County’s public and nonprofit private schools who present classroom innovations to support student success.

“With so much extra work for teachers helping students during this stressful COVID year, we streamlined our application process in the hopes of getting more applications from teaching teams. We were not disappointed! The ideas and innovative work submitted by our Summit County educators is outstanding,” said Kirstin Toth, senior vice president of GAR Foundation.

Many projects addressed social-emotional learning, college and career pathway building drawing on community resources and speakers, and supporting interactive approaches that address racial equity, gap-closing, and a diverse learning environment for students. “We’re so excited to see these projects come to fruition in the coming academic year,” added Toth.

Some grants include a collaborative and inter-district approach. Akron Public School’s North High School will partner with Hudson High School to share experiences related to cultural awareness, bridge and anti-racism through their joint project called “My Voice, My Story, My Self: Exploring My Identity, Valuing Yours.” Students will co-develop projects that represent their identity through sound, art and theatre.

Cuyahoga Falls High School will have key community leaders help facilitate their Student Caucus of Color to provide a platform for student voice with teachers and staff.

In other awards, Bridges Learning Center received a second year of funding for a trauma-informed instructional program called “It’s [Still] All the RAGE! (Regulation: Access to Growing Emotionally)”. The school-wide program is designed to empower both student and staff wellness by embedding therapeutic input into practical lesson planning across all grade levels and content areas. The specialty school in Akron Public Schools also received a grant to support music and art therapy exploration in helping students tell their life stories. The program builds on existing trauma-informed strategies with the goal of strengthening student self-regulation and social-emotional intelligence.

More than $5.3 million has been deployed into local classrooms since the inception of the Educator Initiative Grant program in 2004.

“We know that school continues to challenge families given the stress brought on by the pandemic,” said Lucille Esposito, EIG program manager for GAR Foundation. “Yet we value the enthusiasm and creativity displayed by all of our applicants this year. We see this grant program as not only continuing to add value but perhaps more so than ever before as schools begin to redesign teaching and learning methods and approaches.”

The Foundation announced the GAR Educator Conference will take place every other year and will resume in the fall of 2022. The free conference brings together Summit County K-12 educators to uplift innovative strategies for student engagement and success.

The schools and projects receiving support this year include:

Arrowhead Primary School

  • Rooted and Budding: Citizen Scientists Outdoor Learning Lab, $10,000

Bridges Learning Center

  • My Song: Empowering students to use the arts for recovery, $9,843
  • We’re Still the RAGE: Regulation, Access to Growing Emotionally, $9,500

Cuyahoga Falls High School

  • Caucus of Color, $5,160
  • Learning Garden Network, $10,000
  • The First 45: Tigers helping Tigers from Day One, $10,000

Dewitt Elementary

  • Life Skills Learning Room, $7,440
  • Outdoor Black Tiger Zen Den,$7,840

Firestone Park Elementary

  • Untangle in the PAX Den: Mindfulness for Students and Staff, $9,550

Harris-Jackson CLC

  • They’re Just Like Me: Culturally Responsive School Approach, $9,650

Helen Arnold CLC

  • Oh the Ways You Will Grow, $7,950

Hudson High School

  • Makertunity: Encouraging Makerspace Opportunities for Students with Other Abilities, $10,000
  • My Voice, My Story, My Self, collaboration with North High School, $10,000

Hyre CLC

  • Artifact Impact, $7,670
  • Global Game League, $9,830

Immaculate Heart of Mary School

  • Escaping Algebra, $8,890
  • Your View, Your Voice,$9,620

Jennings CLC Elementary

  • From Plot to Publisher, $9,990

Julie Billiart School

  • Superflex: Creating Superheroes of Social Thinking, $9,700

Kenmore-Garfield High School

  • Career Exploration through Music Technology, $10,000

Litchfield CLC

  • STEAM Take & Create Take Home Projects, $4,660

The Lippman School

  • An Antiracism PBL, $8,637

North High School

  • My Voice, My Story, My Self, collaboration with Hudson High School, $10,000

Norton High School

  • PathwayforPeace,$9,650

Our Lady of the Elms School

  • Chemistry of Design, $9,790
  • Panther productions, $5,250
  • Power of Me, $8,180
  • Streams of Consciousness- Exploring Connections Between Literature and Nature, $7,630
  • The Elms Farm 3.0, $10,000
  • The Story of Us 100 Years, $10,000

Revere High School

  • Building Bridges through Esports,$10,000

Seton Catholic School

  • Many Hearts, One Journey, $9,370
  • Springfield Junior & Senior High
  • What’s Your Word?, $7,500

St. Hilary School

  • All Are Welcome!, $10,000

St. Joseph Parish School

  • Mathematics Through the Art of Baking, $9,980
  • Rooted in Tradition,$9,900

Stow-Munroe Falls Schools

  • Echo Hills, Fishcreek, Highland, Indian Trail, Riverview & Woodland, Stretch & Support, $6,870

Tallmadge Elementary

  • These Boots are Made for Walking, $10,000

Twinsburg High School

  • Exploration of Black Voices in Literature, $9,950

View the efforts from past grantee, DeWitt Elementary.