Foundation Rolls out Impact Grants to Three Schools; Plus 24 Enrichment and Innovation Grants Distributed

Community in Action

The Bellingham Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) gave out three Impact Grant awards this spring and funded 24 other Enrichment and Innovation grants to schools. The Impact Grants went to Cordata Elementary School, Shuksan Middle School and Squalicum HIgh School.

With the support of BPSF, Cordata Elementary School will use their Impact Grant of $5,000 to build a resilient school community. Through a 15-hour professional development training with a Seattle-based non-profit organization, the entire Cordata staff will be trained in the principles of positive discipline using a trauma-informed approach. As a school, the staff will develop a consistent  practices for handling students with challenging behavior and who suffer the effects of childhood trauma and chronic stress. This work puts into action the core beliefs that every child should be loved, and that the whole child is important.

 

The Shuksan student mentor program called Students Leading Students is an innovative approach that develops student leadership and facilitates conversations supporting the growth of positive school culture. The program is based on Restorative Practices which “seek to develop good relationships and restore a sense of community in an increasingly disconnected world.”

Middle school students navigate complex issues such as social media addiction, substance abuse, self-harm, nutrition and adverse childhood experiences. Students need a high level of skill to act as resources of peer support. This program will support mentors to express their concerns for peers, advocate for change, assist others, and create a strong sense of belonging for all students in the school. In 2017-18, $5,000 in grant funds will train 50 student mentors at Shuksan to lead throughout the year. These mentors will have an impact on all 600+ students in the school as they learn to practice meaningful conversation and dialogue.

 

The BRIDGES program at Squalicum High School received $2,500 award towards seed money to launch a student run BRIDGES BREWS Coffee Shop. The coffee shop will provide an authentic job opportunity to help students who are profoundly impacted by their emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD) acquire relevant job and life skills.

Individuals with EBD experience longer delays in obtaining employment after graduation and are more likely to be employed part time and hold multiple short term jobs rather than single, long term employment. This coffee shop opportunity is designed to connect and integrate BRIDGES students with their school community, build peer and staff relationships, and learn responsibility while building leadership skills and self-esteem. By supporting Squalicum’s EBD program, the Foundation places faith and value in a population of students who do not always experience love through interactions at home, school and in our community.

 

Visit the Foundation grant webpage to view all 24 of the Enrichment and Innovation grant winners given out this school year.

 

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