Austin Ed Fund Announces ‘Student Opportunity Fund’ Grant Recipients

- Over $39,000 awarded in grants to support local small campus-based projects in Austin ISD - 

Mr. Min at Akins Early College High School.

Mr. Min at Akins Early College High School.

Austin Ed Fund, a recognized champion of the Austin Independent School District (AISD), has announced today that they will award more than $39,600 in Student Opportunity Fund grants for its fall 2019 cycle. The Student Opportunity Fund supports campus-based projects that provide educational enhancement for students considered economically disadvantaged in AISD.

Student Opportunity Fund grants support time-sensitive campus academic or extracurricular needs not covered by the campus budget. Requests include funds to provide experiences to students such as exposure to colleges, field trips, academic materials and equipment, and cultural opportunities. Since 2013, Austin Ed Fund has awarded over $680,000 in teacher grants.

“Thanks to generous donors to the Austin Ed Fund, these grants help level the playing field for our students,” says Michelle Wallis, Executive Director of the Austin Ed Fund and AISD’s Office of Innovation and Development. “We are thrilled to be able to support these amazing projects and initiatives and congratulate our teachers who go above and beyond to support our students. However, we have to acknowledge the huge gap between available funds and what our students and teachers need. This fall alone, we saw a gap of more than $250,000 in funds needed to support the initiatives that teachers applied for through our Student Opportunity Fund. The needs are great, and we invite the community to give to make sure our students and teachers have everything they need to be successful.” 

Fourteen grants were divided among twelve AISD schools all over the city for a variety of initiatives, including funding for field trips, academic support and musical instruments.

The 2019 Student Opportunity Fund Grant winners are as follows:

AISD AVID Department: $4,752

Off to a Running Start: One criteria for college readiness for students in an AVID Elective is taking the PSAT in 8th grade; this project will fund students in need of financial assistance. 

Akins High School: $1,500

Real World Criminal Justice Experience: The priority of the funding is to cover competition registration fees and allow for equipment purchases to be used to test their knowledge, skills, and abilities in a real world, tangible scenario. 

Becker Elementary: $1,074

It Takes a Village: This funding will go toward field trips, showing students that they have adults who care about them and who will expose them to culturally rich opportunities, making the students more engaged members of their community. 

Blazier Elementary: $1,438

Let’s Build a Community of Readers: This funding will allow children to be exposed to books and start building a love of reading.

Brooke Elementary: $645

Learning to Invest in Our Natural Self: This funding will provide staff with common curriculum and language to remove obstacles to learning for students and support them as they navigate changes.

Casey Elementary: $3,990

ROX (Ruling Our eXperiences) Empowerment Program for Girls: This program is a 20-week, evidence-based empowerment program for girls that focuses on team building and healthy relationships. ROX teaches girls skills required to address the challenges and pressures they face every day. 

Dawson Elementary: $1,497

A Trip to Remember: This will allow students and their parents to go on an end-of-year field trip to Morgan’s Wonderland, an all-inclusive amusement park for kids with special needs. 

Dawson Elementary: $2,850

Community Experiences for Dawson Pre-K and ECSE: This funding will allow all Mollie Dawson Elementary students in Pre-K and Early Childhood Special Education to participate in various study trips connected to thematic units. 

Dobie Middle School: $10,000

Dobie/Northeast Orchestra Reboot: This project aims to provide each student with an orchestra instrument and private lessons, with the goal of resurrecting Northeast High School’s orchestra. It will also strengthen Dobie’s vertical alignment with Northeast and keep students wanting to stay in AISD. 

Eastside Memorial High School: $3,500

Research and Education Activities for Community Health (REACH) Research and Education Activities for Community Health REACH for New Horizons aims to increase awareness of community research around minority and underserved communities in East Austin. Funding will be focused on providing high school students with the real experience of working with a community-based organization that has a history of collaboration with special populations of targeted areas. 

Martin Middle School: $1,000 

AP Test Funding for Spanish College Credit: This funding will pay for each student to take the Spanish AP test in order to earn both high school and college credit. 

Perez Elementary: $4,110

Read. Write. Lead! By publishing their own books, Perez students will become the creators of the diverse books needed in every school library and classroom, as they tell their own stories. These student-written books will serve as mirrors where students can see themselves reflected.

Travis High School: $2,800

Travis ECHS Social Studies Department Creative Learning Field Trips: This will allow all students to go to Blanton Art Museum once per semester. There, students will experience hands-on workshops as a creative learning initiative. Additionally, students will tour the UT Austin campus in order to explore their post-secondary options after graduation. 

Walnut Creek Elementary: $520

Gettin’ Diggy With It: This archeological expedition is designed to give students exposure to one-of-a-kind experiences in STEM fields where they can do hands-on investigations. Our students will be led by researchers through critical archaeological field work and teach them how to get diggy with it.

This funding opportunity is awarded two to three times a year and is exclusively for Austin ISD educators and campus leaders. Projects must be able to measure the impact of the grant and serve a targeted group or campus where the student population is greater than 70 percent economically disadvantaged. The Student Opportunity Fund awards grants up to $10,000. For more information on the Student Opportunity Fund, please visitwww.austinedfund.org/student-opportunity-fund

About Austin Ed Fund:

Austin Ed Fund is a recognized champion of Austin ISD. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, Austin Ed Fund develops and stewards meaningful public-private partnerships that promote innovation and support opportunities that prepare Austin ISD students for college, career, and life. The organization has successfully served as a catalyst and facilitated over $20 million in support for Austin ISD strategic priorities and initiatives since 2001. Austin Ed Fund empowers teachers and students through two campus-based grant programs. Through these programs, Austin Ed Fund has awarded over $680,000 since 2015. For more information, visit www.austinedfund.org.