The Owensboro Public Schools Foundation for Excellence grants are largely funded by the grant recipients themselves. The last two years, an average of 223 OPS employees gave almost $13,000 out of their own pockets each year to help fund school grants. That hard-earned money comes from teachers, cafeteria staff, bus drivers and other OPS staff. The percentage of OPS employees giving to the OPS Foundation is well above the national average, as reported by the National School Foundation Association.
“With additional funding resources being so hard to come by, it’s incredible to see our employees sacrificing their own money for enhanced opportunities in the classroom for our students,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS Superintendent.
During this time of the year, OPS teachers are encouraged to apply for the foundation grants. The OPS Foundation for Excellence awards the grants on Opening Day in August after a long deliberation process. This past year, money went to help fund projects such as:
- new microphones for students at Cravens,
- a Boys2Men and Girls Etiquette club at Newton Parrish,
- renewable energy science kits at Owensboro Middle School North,
- Project Lead the Way at Estes,
- a journalism project at OHS,
- an Early Childhood Pathway at OHS,
- as well as funds for needed instructional supplies at all eleven OPS schools.
“OMS South is using our foundation grant to offset the cost of digital programs that we make available to our students in order to better individualize instruction,” said Patrick Tines, OMS South Principal.
The rest of the money for the grants, which have been given out since 2005, comes from other foundation donors including foundation board members.
The Foundation for Excellence is made up of OPS alumni and community members who have a passion for maintaining and improving Owensboro Public Schools’ Tradition of Excellence. The Foundation recently named retired OPS employee and alumna Janet Suwanski executive director.