Joanne Taylor of Boise writes winning grant for Cynthia Mann Elementary School


Joanne Taylor of Boise comments on most recent grant win:

I wouldn’t want to get in the habit of writing about every grant I win, but I’m really excited about the most recent one. Maybe it’s because the grant funds will benefit the school that my daughters attend. Or, perhaps it’s because I wrote the grant as a volunteer, and there’s something satisfying about doing something just for the sake of doing it, and affecting change, even if in a small way.

Feeling frustrated and wanting to do something to help Boise schools in the wake of budget and staff cuts, not to mention rash legislation that serves private interests, I volunteered to write a few grants for Cynthia Mann Elementary School.

I have always been impressed with the teachers, staff and principal at Cynthia Mann, and have often thought about what the place would be like without them, should their jobs be eliminated or they decide to seek a new career. How would other kids acquire the love for reading and math that my girls acquired without first grade teacher Wendy Leadbetter? How would they discover that learning can be fun and teachers can sometimes be silly without Tina Kambitsch? How would they learn that at school, like everywhere else, kindness and respect towards others is essential?

Those thoughts led me to action. I asked some of the teachers at Cynthia Mann what they needed most in order to continue to progress and/or keep up with current teaching methods.  Interactive whiteboards were mentioned most often. I worked with Cynthia Mann PTA President Amy Stahl and Principal Rick Bollman to complete two grants in hopes of raising enough money to cover the costs for 5 whiteboards, 5 wireless adapters, and installation fees.  Total amount needed: $9,836.80.

We were awarded $4,836.80 from Boise Public Schools Education Foundation and are waiting on word from Micron on an additional $4,000.  Cynthia Mann’s PTA helped out, raising $1,200. In addition, the school received two used whiteboards from the Boise School District—all-in-all, a fantastic return on our efforts, thanks to teamwork and determination.

We made a difference. A small difference, but it’s a start. Please think today about what you might be able to do to help kids, teachers and staff at public schools.

“Most students enjoy interacting, manipulating, and working with the whiteboard. It is quite impressive to see reluctant learners, who have previously been hesitant to interact during class discussions, are now more excited to “come to the board” and share their results, style of learning, or process in which the solved the answer.”

-Kimberly Amburn, 5th Grade Teacher at Cynthia Mann and interactive whiteboard user


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