The Ed. Foundation, a community-based organization that supports educational initiatives, announced Thursday that it will award 44 grants to the Port Washington School District. 

Becky Schamis, the foundation’s vice president of marketing and communications, announced the grants in a news release.

The grants, the release said, include funding for audio books, before-school exercise groups, Chromebooks, math support programs, robotics, a special overnight trip to the Museum of Natural History and digital microscopes.

“The Ed. Foundation continues to overwhelm our district with unparalleled generosity and an impressive array of grant awards,” said Kathleen Mooney, superintendent of the Port Washington School District. “These grants provide our teachers with unique ways to bring their creative ideas to life and inspire our students to explore new challenges and experiences beyond the classroom.”

This year, the Ed. Foundation’s grants total over $126,000 — the most it has ever awarded to the Port Washington School District since it began 14 years ago.

In the last 14 years, the foundation has awarded $1.1 million in grants.

Ten of the 44 grants were awarded to Paul D. Schreiber High School for, according to Principal Ira Pernick, “more ambitious programs starting this year.”

“The Ed. Foundation continues to be a catalyst for all students and an advocate for Port Washington schools,” Pernick said.

Along with the 44 awards and $126,000 awarded, the Ed Foundation, according to the release, “received over $100,000 in targeted donations in the past year.” 

The contributions are for the support of ongoing programs, including the Ed. Foundation Support Center, the Digital Learning Center at Schreiber, a program that prepares students for college and the start of a Daly Elementary School weekly newspaper. 

“Because of the generosity of the Ed. Foundation, the Creative Arts Department has been able to provide unique visual and performing arts experiences for our students,” Kevin Scully, the director of creative arts for the district, said in a news release. “The foundation is tremendously forward-thinking and works hand in hand with our department to support innovative projects and programs that enrich our students’ lives.”

Teachers in the Port Washington School District were awarded grants, too. 

A teacher at Carrie Palmer Weber Middle School, Jeff Moss, was awarded the blues grant, which he has received for several years.

The grant is for eighth graders to experience the blues through poetry and, Schamis said, to fund a workshop with Toby Walker, an American folk artist.

Moss said  over 4,000 students have participated in the program, and it is “one of the great unifiers of the entire Port Washington school population.”

Early Birds, a program that allows students to exercise before the school day starts, was funded by the Ed. Foundation, too. The program was part of the work for which the foundation received national recognition with the Let’s Move Active Schools Award.

“We have become the school we want to be with the support of the Ed. Foundation,” said Bonni Cohen, principal of the Manorhaven Elementary School.

According to the release, the Ed. Foundation is focused on helping schools start and run programs and other services that aren’t included in the yearly school budget.

The John J. Daly Elementary School principal, Sheri Suzzan, said she is thrilled about the foundation’s support of new and old initiatives. 

In the elementary school, Schamis said, every fifth grader takes part in a program called Dancing Classrooms, which is designed to teach ballroom dancing and social skills to students. 

Fourth graders, she added, participate in Bio Bus, a program that allows them to conduct scientific experiments.

On Nov. 4, the Ed. Foundation will  host a dinner to raise money for future school programs, and it will  host a spring party on April 21, as well as a family event in the winter, the release said.

“The Ed. Foundation is thrilled to partner with the school district in funding even more grants than ever before,” said Ed. Foundation President Paula Whitman. “As the Foundation grows, we are delighted to be able to enrich education on such a large scale, in every grade, in every school, in every subject. We are looking forward to another fabulous year”

By Stephen Romano
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