WSVEF Announces $20K In New Grants-- Arts, Tech, and Social Programs Benefit

Media arts, technology, and social programs all get a helping hand as the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) announced the successful recipients of the organization’s $20,000 winter grant cycle.  It is one of two granting cycles awarded each year. Successful applicants requested funds for programs that will touch all four schools in the district.

Forget about wheeling in the old projector and screen for assemblies at the Wally & Priscilla Stevenson Intermediate (WPSIS) and Henkle Middle Schools (HMS).   A grant of $7,494 will be used to purchase a state of the art multimedia system for the gym.  While it was requested for use for the PBIS (Positive Behavior Intervention & Support) program, the system can be used to greatly increase student engagement and enjoyment in a wide variety of applications.  The system will allow for connection with the world community, as well as the creation and sharing of movies, animations, and interviews.

An additional $5,355 goes to the Media Arts Project in HMS and Columbia High School (CHS). This is an innovative and exciting pilot program which will offer participants the opportunity to create film and other media arts on a relevant topic at a professional level.  This first year has schools partnering with the US Forest Service, who will provide content in the form of raw, unreleased footage of the 2017 Eagle Creek fire.  The goal of the project is to produce professional level media, which will be released to the public.  One class at HMS, and two at CHS will participate.  The long-term goal is to create a sustainable program in Film and Media Arts in the district. The funds will be used to purchase iPad Pro Kits and accessories.          

A proposal to launch the Sources of Strength (SOS) program at CHS and the White Salmon Academy (WSA) received a $5000 grant.  SOS is a comprehensive wellness program that focuses on preventing suicide, violence, and substance abuse in schools and their communities.  SOS trains a group of adult advisors and peer leaders (both chosen by the student population) to positively change school and/or community norms about help seeking, codes of silence, and perceptions of adult support.  Effective school-based intervention to enhance mental health and social inclusion has been shown to improve attendance, grades, test scores, and graduation rates, while reducing disciplinary actions, and allowing students to engage more fully and productively in their classes.  Several other community organizations are helping to fully fund this program including, the Klickitat County Health Department, the Klickitat County Sheriff’s Department, Skyline Hospital, and others.  

 Finally, $2,152 will be used to purchase a Workshop Set of littleBits.  These are modular, electronic components that can be used to engineer an endless number of inventions.  Each “bit” has a single purpose.  Groups of color-coded “bits” are strung together magnetically, to create a wide variety of increasingly complex circuits, which can do everything from making sounds, to powering motors.  They are designed to increase student engagement while incorporating STEM principles, and make every student an inventor.   The littleBits will be used in the after-school programs at Whitson Elementary (WES), WPSIS, and HMS.  

“We are excited to be funding such a wide variety of worthwhile programs that will reach the students in all our schools,” said WSVEF Board President Dawn Hulbert.  “And we are so thankful to have the community support to be able to help provide these opportunities.”

That community support has made possible the more than $3 million dollars in contributions the WSVEF has provided to local schools since 2006.

The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.  At least 25% of every donation goes to the WSVEF’s endowment fund, which will allow for continued grant funding into the future.  For more information, or to make a donation, visit www.wsvef.org or call (541)490-3466.

Amanda Lawrence