Katy ISD Education Foundation Announces $1 Million Milestone

| October 1, 2017

Seven Lakes High School teacher Sandra Szafran and her team receive a Katy ISD Education Foundation Inspiring Imagination teacher grant for “Windows on the World: Bringing Social Studies to Life.”

Seven Lakes High School teacher Sandra Szafran and her team receive a Katy ISD Education Foundation Inspiring Imagination teacher grant for “Windows on the World: Bringing Social Studies to Life.”

Inspiring Imagination Teacher Grant Program Reaches Milestone In Five Years

In October 2012, the Katy ISD Education Foundation Board of Directors wisely crafted an intentional vision for the new organization and defined its purpose. Five years later, its Katy ISD Education Foundation’s Inspiring Imagination teacher grant program, has reached a spectacular milestone – $1 million awarded to Katy ISD teachers in the Foundation’s first five years of operation. “Our board wanted something that had immediate impact on lots of students over many campuses. We decided teachers were the key,” says founding board member and current treasurer, Ken Janda. Foundation grants have now funded projects in every discipline, touching nearly every Katy ISD campus with almost 1,000 Katy ISD teachers and 120,000 students as beneficiaries.

The $1 million milestone is a direct result of community support coupled with ongoing fundraising efforts, including popular community events Fireflies & Foodtrucks and GROOVE. Every year the Foundation raises the necessary funding and manages the grant application process. Katy ISD teachers bring the ideas, presenting them through detailed, well-researched grant applications. Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000 depending on the number of teachers involved in the project. This year’s grant application process opens in October with grants awarded in May 2018.

A few examples of numerous winning grants are:

  • Teams of teachers at Bethke Elementary, led by Sarah McKiernan and Jenks Elementary, led by Jenn Stapleton, received grants for “mobile magnetic walls.” This creative contraption allows students to learn about slope, cause and effect, momentum and gravity via hands-on experimentation using a vertical play space. Dealing with gravity in creative ways, students arrange rings and ramps to create vertical drops, then utilize balls, cars, or even sand, to decipher how much slope is needed to move material down the ramp, through a tunnel or over a bridge.
  • For the past three years, Karen Baker from Bear Creek Elementary has received a “Novel-ty Bookstore” grant. Karen purchases discounted books and then sells them to students, teachers and parents at bargain-basement prices. The money that is generated from the sale of the books is used to procure more, which in turn will allow the bookstore to be self-sustaining and grow year-after-year.
  • Ryan Nutt and his Taylor High School team received grants for two years to fund a cross-curricular project. Funds allowed student-led teams to launch a set of cameras and scientific sensors aboard a weather balloon that soared to more than 100,000 feet. A primary goal was to give students the opportunity to work on a project outside of class with students from other subject areas. An added benefit allowed students to work in teams without a fully defined process, providing a more accurate representation of how tasks are accomplished outside of the classroom.

This school year’s fundraising efforts began with Fireflies & Foodtrucks, Thursday, Sept. 28, 5:30-8 p.m. at No Label Brewery, and will continue throughout the year. “The Katy ISD Education Foundation’s next five years is all about growth and endless opportunity,” says board president, Tara Wilson. “Together with investors, businesses, community leaders and volunteers, we will continue to create thousands of extraordinary experiences for Katy ISD teachers and students. We invite the entire Katy/West Houston community to join us.”

For information, contact the Katy ISD Education Foundation, foundation@katyisd.org, 281-396-6031.

West Memorial Junior High teacher Erin Wise and her team receive a Katy ISD Education Foundation Inspiring Imagination teacher grant for “Robotics Club . . . In the Big League!”

West Memorial Junior High teacher Erin Wise and her team receive a Katy ISD Education Foundation Inspiring Imagination teacher grant for “Robotics Club . . . In the Big League!”


Category: Katy Texas Schools, Sports, Students, Katy Kid

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