This letter was received by Birmingham Patch Editor Laura Houser.
The Birmingham Education Foundation (BEF) continued its mission of inspiring minds and expanding possibilities by deploying almost $150,000 to district teachers and staff who found innovative ways to reach students. BEF provides grants in support of teachers and administrators who want to offer their kids a deeper, more comprehensive experience in a particular subject area.
“Our teachers do a wonderful job bringing the curriculum to life and inspiring and challenging our kids,” said Laura Couger, BEF executive director. “Through the generosity of our community, 2012 was our most successful year ever and we were able to support enriching experiences that both extend and integrate classroom curriculum. BEF’s efforts are dependent on community contributions."
BEF concentrates its grants in four primary focus areas: Academics, Arts, Athletics and Technology. Select 2012 highlights include:
- Academics: BEF had an out-of-this-world program at its “NASA DAY” where students had a Skype conversation with astronaut Dorothy Metcalf-Lindenburger, hands on activities for 625 elementary, middle and high school students and culminated in a community event. This special day was part of the science-based initiative deployed at 13 BPS schools at a cost of just under $6,000. BEF’s “Robotics Day” was a huge hit among the district’s seventh graders. Family literacy nights, books for autistic students and Character Education Literacy Library were among the year’s other highlights.
- Arts: Fourth grade never sounded so good as BEF was proud to once again send district students to the Detroit Symphony Orchestra for a musical and cultural immersion experience. In a separate grant, BEF enabled DSO musicians to make multiple visits to Groves High School to work directly with its band members. On a practical matter, BEF purchased rain coats for the marching band.
- Athletics: BEF scored with Seaholm by funding new soccer equipment. It also earned extra points at Groves when Brendan Flaherty requested support for his footballs tech class.
- Technology: In an ever more digital world, BEF embraced new hardware and software that will help our students compete and excel in the 21st Century. Grants included more than 100 individual I-Pads utilized in classrooms throughout the district, purchased various educational software programs, and provided a $5,000 engineering technology grant.
“Because it is impossible to predict what will inspire a student, the BEF funds great ideas that come directly from our classrooms and our schools. It’s a formula that works, but also one that needs support from the broader community," said Couger.
Birmingham Education Association