Grant Opportunites

Bell Atlantic Foundation Grants

The Bell Atlantic Foundation reviews unsolicited proposals from the 13 Northeastern states served by Bell Atlantic on a continuous calendar-year basis from January through November. Education is one of the foundation’s top priorities for giving, and examples of technology projects that have been funded in the past can be found on its web site. The foundation recommends that you apply for grants online, guidelines are available on its web site as well.

(800) 360-7955

First for Education Grants

Carolina First Corp. has established the Carolina First for Education Foundation with a $12.6 million endowment. The foundation will provide education and community-based grants to teachers and public schools in South Carolina for projects that will help bring the state to the educational forefront, including grants for technology initiatives such as purchasing computers. All grants will be awarded based on evaluation of a written application. For an application form, write to the Carolina First For Education Foundation, PO Box 1029, Greenville, SC 29602.

(864) 255-4780

Intel Foundation Grants

Intel funds programs that advance math, science, or technology education, promote science careers among women and underrepresented minorities, or increase public understanding of technology and its impact. National grants apply to nationwide projects or pilots for national programs. Community grants apply to projects located in communities where Intel has a major facility: Arizona, California, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, and Washington. An application is available at the web site. grants.htm

Sprint Foundation Grants

The Sprint Foundation supports educational projects that foster school reform through the use of new technologies and communications media and through fresh approaches to the enhancement of teachers’ skills. A limited number of grants are available for projects in areas with a significant employee presence, primarily Kansas City, Atlanta, Dallas, and Sacramento. Schools and other education-related nonprofit agencies can apply for grants totaling about $500,000 per year. Call to talk to a program officer first, or check out Sprint’s web site for application guidelines.

(913) 624-3343 commun.html

Computers for Learning

Computers for Learning is an equipment grant program that allows schools and educational nonprofits to request surplus federal computer equipment. The computers available through this program are primarily IBM-compatible PCs, the majority of which are 386s and 286s. The program also donates peripheral equipment, including printers, modems, routers, servers, telecommunications equipment, and research equipment. Applicants must submit information about their organization and its needs, as well as the name and eMail address of a point of contact. Donations are all given based on need, including whether a school is within an empowerment zone or enterprise community.

(888) 362-7870

Detwiler Foundation

Since its inception in 1991, the Detwiler Foundation Computers for Schools Program has solicited retired corporate equipment, refurbished it at prisons and vocational centers, and placed more than 55,000 computers in schools and nonprofit organizations. Refurbishment and/or distribution of computers now occurs in 22 states, and more states are added each year. Schools and nonprofits may access the Application for Refurbished Computers on the web site, print, fill out, and mail it to the Detwiler Foundation.

Schools Online Internet Access

Schools without classroom internet access are eligible to apply for Schools Online equipment grants. The Schools Online grant program offers schools simple, cost-effective internet access, together with local support and training in its use. Participating schools are asked to designate a committed person to manage the equipment and participate in training. Schools are also asked to provide a telephone line and an internet service provider (ISP) account for dial-up access or a network connection to the world wide web. Schools Online has helped more than 5,000 classrooms get internet access in a little more than two years. The program is supported by corporate, educational, and individual partners.

(408) 501-0770


Los Angeles schools approve use of low-risk herbicide

Seeking to control a campus weed problem without using potentially harmful chemicals, Los Angeles Unified School District officials have voted to allow use of a low-grade herbicide while continuing to explore such alternatives as a heat wand.

Neither method appears to kill weeds at their roots, officials said, but both adhere to the district’s pest control policy adopted in March, which calls for the phasing out over the next three years of hazardous pesticides and herbicides.

The majority of the district’s 15-member pest management team—which is composed of administrators, teachers, parents, community members, environmental activists, health officials, and scientists—voted to allow the use of Scythe, a low-risk herbicide made from a naturally occurring fatty acid.

“This will enable us to get the weeds under control,” said Rick Henry, the district’s integrated pest management coordinator and a member of the pest management team.

Weeds have become unruly on the grounds of many of the district’s 668 schools, leading to complaints from principals and parents concerned about children stumbling on grassy patches on asphalt playgrounds. Homeowners have also objected to weeds making neighborhood campuses ugly.


Ohio lawmaker says state should pay for school bus sensors

The death of an Ohio boy who was run over by a school bus in September is just the latest example of why the state should require electronic sensors on all new buses, says a state lawmaker who has been working on the issue for 13 years.

“I think it’s time everybody knows what’s going on,” Sen. Dick Schafrath, R-Loudonville, said at a news conference Sept. 24. “Thirteen years we’ve been saying the same thing and nothing has happened.”

Schafrath wants the state to pay for the $900 sensors, which alert drivers that a pedestrian is in the path of the bus—specifically in the areas to the right of the bus and close in below the windshield where the driver might not be able to see.

The equipment, which has been approved by the Ohio Department of Education as optional equipment, has been installed in some school districts. Others, though, don’t have the extra money.

Since the proposal would apply only to buses purchased in the future, Schafrath did not have an estimate of the cost to the state. Whatever it is, it’s worth it, said Bev Lock, a bus safety advocate whose grandson was kill by a school bus in 1986.

Schafrath cited a national study that reported 709 deaths over the past 20 years of students who were either getting on or off a school bus. Fifty were in Ohio.


Maryland district mulls NRA curriculum proposal

School officials in Carroll County, Md., are considering whether to teach students gun safety under a program sponsored by the National Rifle Association.

NRA officials have presented ideas on how to incorporate the Eddie Eagle Gun Safety class into the county school curriculum. Kathy Cassidy, manager of the Eddie Eagle program, said the program would be geared to children in kindergarten through sixth grade.

The presentation would involve a gun safety video, instructional materials, and an Eddie Eagle mascot to push home the message of gun safety. “People that are against the program usually haven’t seen it,” Cassidy said.

School officials are treading lightly and want to discuss the idea with parents, teachers, and administrators.

“This would not be celebrated by all members of our community,” said Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Dorothy Mangle. “I think some of the parents wouldn’t want to imply that there is such a thing as the safe use of guns.” Mangle said if approved, the program would not begin until next year at the earliest.


Newslines–Web site teaches educators by example

Under the direction of the University of Northern Iowa, a group of colleges and other institutions have received grant money to create what they hope will be an innovative new web site for instructing teachers on technology use.

Researchers intend to go into classrooms and identify teachers who are using technology effectively for instruction. They will then record these teachers using the technology, add video footage of the teachers explaining how and why they use the technology provided to them to enhance student learning, and post the results on a free web site.

William P. Callahan, associate dean of the University of Northern Iowa’s College of Education, told the New York Times, “I think if we can provide educators with easily accessible strategies and techniques involving technology to help students learn more and better, they will use them.”

The grant money for this project came from a new $75 million federal project to train teachers in the use of technology, funded by the Department of Education. The “Preparing Tomorrow’s Teachers to Use Technology” program also funded 223 other projects that aim to help train teachers.


Newslines–Oklahoma creates web sites to prevent ‘brain drain’

Oklahoma is using the internet to ensure that college graduates stay in the state after graduation, bringing with them their expertise and training.

The state has set up two new web sites, Oklahoma Marketplace and Teachers Job Connection, to help college grads find the types of business, teaching, and professional jobs they want. When students and alumni log on to the new sites, they can create resumes online, search job listings, and match their resumes to posted jobs. Likewise, Oklahoma employers and schools can post job openings and review resumes for candidates.

The sites have specific areas for employers, students and alumni, teachers, and those seeking teaching jobs. Hans Brisch, state higher education chancellor, stated, “It is our hope that these system-wide web sites will serve as key tools for keeping more Oklahoma college and university graduates in the state and better ensuring that they are properly employed.”


Newslines–Arizona board okays new state computer standards

Arizona schools without modern computers for their students will get them under new standards that will guide numerous repairs and improvements to be paid for by the state.

Approved Sept. 2 by the School Facilities Board, the standards are a key step in implementing Students First, a statewide school building program enacted last year to resolve a years-long legal and political battle over disparities between rich and poor school districts.

Under the new computer standard, each classroom will have internet access and each school will have enough networked, multimedia computers so there is at least one for every eight students.

A document accompanying the standards defines a multimedia computer as one with sound, CD-ROM, a keyboard, a monitor, and a pointing device.

Jose Leyba, superintendent of Isaac Elementary School District in Phoenix, said the new computer standard would double the number of computers in his 8,000-student, inner-city district. As it is now, he said, student learning suffers.

Those improvements won’t come cheap for the state, though. Legislative budget analysts estimated the standards could add up to at least 50,000 new computers.


FYI:New resources for school health and safety

“Reducing School Violence”

SERVE, the U.S. Regional Educational Laboratory for the Southeast, has made its 84-pagesafe schools publication, “Reducing School Violence,” available in electronic format at the organization’s web site:

The downloadable PDF file is available to assist teachers, school principals, district administrators, parents, students, and others in creating safe environments where learning is the primary focus.

The book covers all major facets of school violence reduction, including establishing a safe environment, creating prevention strategies, forming a crisis management and intervention policy, tracing the risk factors of violence, and implementing national, state, and local school safety initiatives and issues.

Guides to prevent hate crimes

According to a new manual published by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), 18 Americans a day become the victims of hate crimes, and the FBI’s hate crime statistics for 1997 reveal about 8,000 hate incidents ranging from harassment, assaults, and murders to vandalism and property crimes.

To help people understand these hate crimes and work to prevent them, the SPLC has published two guides, “Ten Ways to Fight Hate” and “Responding to Hate at School.” The organization has sent copies to every mayor, police chief, and school principal in the nation, as well as every governor, state attorney general, and member of Congress. The booklets also have been published on the law center’s web site:

Statistics on teen smoking

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have released a report showing tobacco use among teens and adults in all 50 states. According to the report, titled “State Tobacco Control Highlights, 1999,” current smoking among young people (grades 9-12) ranges from 16.4 percent in Utah to 47.0 percent in Kentucky. Overall, 36.4 percent of students in grades 9-12 have used tobacco at least once in the past month, the report says.


Poll: Two-thirds of Americans say police in schools would quell violence

Posting police officers in hallways would help curb school violence, two out of three adults said in an Associated Press poll taken in late August. But most Americans see dangerous acts as events that happen elsewhere, with more than 80 percent saying they think schools in their own communities are safe.

“I like the idea of a human being, someone the kids could go to” if there was trouble, said Mary Beth Corvati, a mother of two children in Harford County, Md., and one of 1,016 surveyed in the poll conducted by ICR of Media, Pa.

While 65 percent said they thought stationing officers in schools would reduce violence, Americans were less certain that metal detectors would help. Fifty percent said they would help, 47 percent said they would not.

“I would like for my children to view a police officer as someone who could help preserve their safety, be a role model—someone they could look up to,” said Mrs. Corvati. “I don’t think my children could look up to a metal detector.”

Blacks were more likely than whites—30 percent to 10 percent—to say schools in their community were either “not too safe” or “not safe at all.” But despite recent high-profile cases of violence in schools, only 14 percent of Americans in general think their schools are not safe.


Tyvek could send mold spores packing

Tyvek‚ the wrap from which waterproof express-mail packages are made, is being tested by DuPont as an insulation that could help eliminate mold problems in school walls.

Excelsior Elementary School, which just opened in Grant Bay, Calif., had its interior walls wrapped with Tyvek before they received their final plaster coating. If the experiment proves successful, it could revolutionize the school construction and renovation process.

The solution came about through the determination of Ron Feist, superintendent of the Eureka Union School District, where Excelsior is located. “We have schools in this state dying a slow death with moisture problems,” Feist said. “Some districts have had to evacuate entire schools because of mold and moisture. It’s a huge issue.”

In the construction project, Tyvek Commercial Type(tm) is replacing grade D and grade B insulation paper, which is normally wrapped around the plywood walls to help prevent rot.

“The code called for a double layer of grade D black,” said Corey Price, inspector of record with the California Division of State Architects, “but we knew that wasn’t going to work because it wasn’t working elsewhere [in the state]. Then we considered grade B paper. It has a waterproof designation, but that lasts only a few years.”

Lumber used in construction of school walls appears to be the genesis of the problem with mold in schools, Price said: “The [building] code allows for the use of non-kiln dried lumber. That lumber already has a high moisture content and the presence of mold spores.”

Because the wood does not dry out completely, the spores lie dormant—just waiting for the right combination of additional moisture and warmth to start grow ing.

Since the project is merely an experiment, California’s construction code has not been changed to allow Tyvek on a ongoing basis. However, Price said he would support the change if mold problems are reduced. “We need to re-think the materials we were using and the way the walls [are] constructed,” he said.