May 25, 2016

Mostly cloudy

Creative Elyria teachers hope community steps up

ELYRIA — Elyria school teachers are hoping the community steps up to support a program that will succeed only if funding is provided through grants and donations from community members.

Mark Sutter, director of academic services at Elyria schools, said 59 Elyria teachers have applied to receive grants that could fund educational programs the teachers are hoping to install in their curriculum.

The Elyria Schools Endowment Fund held its third annual “Adopt-a-Grant Social” at Lorain County Community College’s Spitzer Conference Center on Monday, where community members and various organizations were invited to examine a handful of the teachers’ projects.

Sutter said a number of ambitious Elyria teachers each year propose educational projects or programs for their students, and many of the proposals require grants or donations to operate successfully.

“Our teachers are very creative,” Sutter said. “This is a way for them to do something above and beyond what is in the curriculum.”

Some projects proposed: Bringing an outside author to a school to discuss a book with students or teaching kindergartners to cook foods that complement their studies. And every project costs money, Sutter said.

The average cost of the proposed projects is about $500 each, Sutter said. The adopt-a-grant social at LCCC allows business leaders and community members to view roughly one-fifth of the programs teachers are proposing, but all of the 59 programs will be discussed.

Sutter said community members and businesses can sponsor part of a project or pay for the whole thing.

“To leverage resources and make the dollars go further, we always invite the community and business leaders to come and view the project,” Sutter said. “A business leader might come in and adopt a teacher’s project.

“For a variety of reasons, people come and help support these classroom projects,” Sutter said.

The school district invests donated money in the Community Foundation of Lorain County, where teachers are given grants from interest earned on money that had been previously donated. Only so much of the endowed money is available each year — this year it’s about $20,000 — which means that there is still a $10,000 hole that needs to be filled by sponsors.

“It’s the gift that keeps on giving,” Sutter said. “When people donate money, it becomes a perpetual donation.”

Sutter said donations and sponsorships can be given through November.

To contact Sutter, e-mail or call (440) 284-8282.