Ed Foundation adds world language to funding list

Added project brings total large grants to $230,000 this fall

From the AAPS Educational Foundation and AAPSNews Service

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Educational Foundation announced today it will fund the district’s world language initiative again this year, giving $108,400 for the district’s share of the elementary school program’s cost as well as materials.

The two-year-old program is a partnership with the University of Michigan School of Education and offers foreign language lessons to third- and fourth-graders; it is expected to expand to the fifth grade in 2011-12.

The Ann Arbor Language Partnership is the fifth project the foundation announced this month that it is funding for the 2010-11 school year as part of its Initiatives for Excellence grant program.

Officials said due to generous support of foundation donors, the AAPSEF is able to make substantially larger contributions to the Ann Arbor district this year.

Initiatives for Excellence programs awarded grant funding include:

Elementary World Language ($108,400) –  In 2009-10, Ann Arbor Public Schools launched the Ann Arbor Language Partnership (A2LP) collaboration between the Ann Arbor district and the Teacher Education Program at the University of Michigan School of Education.  This year, this program provides twice-a-week Spanish language instruction to nearly 2,500 third- and fourth-grade students and the program is expected to be expanded to fifth-graders next year.   Funds contributed will cover the district’s partnership contribution to U-M as well as costs for materials and supplies.

Elementary Enrichment Coordinators ($55,220) – This is the second year of AAPSEF funding for this program. Elementary Enrichment Coordinators work with each elementary school cluster (the group of schools that feed a middle school) and work with building administrators and classroom teachers to bring greater depth to the curriculum through academic games, hands-on classroom activities, field trips and connections to higher education resources. For a look at last year’s activities in this program, click here.

Environmental Science Program ($35,479) – This program, established in the early 1960’s, is one of the oldest environmental science programs in public school history. It has a broad scope, touching points in the school curriculum from grades one through six. Specifically, AAPSEF funds will be used to support field trips related to the program for children at all 21 elementary schools. The cost breakdown of the trips: Kensington Metropark, first grades, $16,286; Gravel Pit and Life Cycles, second grades, $5,464 and $2,319; and Hydrology and Planetarium, sixth grades, $11,410. To learn more about the environmental education program, click here.

Student taking test
Ann Arbor Public Schools students have an opportunity to chart their futures with PLAN and EXPLORE tests, funded by the AAPS Educational Foundation. (Photo courtesy Myra Klarman, via the AAPSEF)

ACT’s EXPLORE and PLAN Assessments ($22,000) – Used as a tool to prepare students for the Michigan Merit Exam, the EXPLORE assessment will be administered to all eighth-graders and the PLAN assessment will be administered to all tenth graders. These tests help students find their academic strengths and weaknesses, and focus on their career inclinations at the outset and midway-point of high school. The premise is that these assessments help guide students in career choice and course preparation for college or other post-secondary work. Guidance staff then coordinates meetings with parents to help interpret the results. For more information, click here.

Fifth-Grade Instrumental Music Program ($10,000) – All AAPS fifth-graders have the opportunity to experience a hands-on instrumental music program which helps to build middle school programs and the district’s award-winning high school music programs. AAPSEF funding will support the repair of musical instruments for fifth-grade students for the 2010-11 academic year.

In addition to the larger Initiatives for Excellence awards, the AAPSEF has also selected 28 teacher projects as part of its fall teacher grants program. This fall, AAPSEF received 61 applications, which were then reviewed by a nine-member volunteer Grants Review Committee. The 28 selected projects will impact an estimated 7,584 students at 21 Ann Arbor schools. The maximum amount of funding per grant is $1,000; total funding for the fall grant cycle is $22,606.

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