With more than $260,000 in hand, groups of volunteers bombarded the halls of several Humble ISD schools presenting grant awards to teachers from the Humble ISD Education Foundation’s annual “Prize Posse,” an event that has distributed more than $4.87 million to campuses since 2000. “I love to see the looks on teachers’ faces,” said foundation chair Eileen Bell. On May 11, three buses delivered 109 awards to unsuspecting teachers, interrupting classrooms, and bringing elation and several tears. “They have no clue … We go in Publisher’s-Clearing House-style and surprise them,” Bell said. “Some cry and the kids get excited as well.” The highest-earning campuses by grade level were in Kingwood. Kingwood Park High School’s two grants received $12,202.38 in total; Creekwood Middle School’s four grants received in total $19,198.95; and Elm Grove Elementary School’s total for two grants was $20,107.50. Kingwood schools were the earners overall with $119,277.29 in 44 total grants. “This is the 13th year in awarding grants to educators. And we think it has been a very lucky year for us. The foundation is awarding the most money in its history to support excellence in education in Humble ISD. We owe this milestone to our generous and supportive community,” administrative director Jerri Monbaron said. While these campuses collectively may receive more grants and more funding, all grants are tied to specific lesson funding. Bell attributed Kingwood’s high obtainment to the amount of submissions. “The more grants a school turns in, the more chances they have to secure these grants,” Bell said. Bell also gave credit to administrators for being supportive of these grants. Some principals have been extremely willing to facilitate strong proposal writing, she said. Recipients use the grants to fund interdisciplinary topics and are responsible for conducting reviews of the projects following their awards. The selection process began in March when submissions were collected and discussed in several blind readings by various foundation members and residents in groups. Bell said the participants were compiled from various professions, many not in education. This year the foundation awarded $587,495 in total of 140 grants throughout the school year. “This often becomes a good introduction to the foundation in this culminating event. We work hard all year so we can turn around that money to our schools,” Bell said. Elementary school art teacher Lynn Bennett said she was excited to receive a grant, “My grant is a culminating activity for 5th graders to go to the Museum of Fine Arts Houston for a docent led tour. Then onto the Glassell Junior Art School to create a project based on artwork from the museum using all the elements and principals they have learned all year in art. Without the grant, we would not be able to go on this trip, so for this, we are most grateful.” Nearly $20,000 was targeted to specific teachers on the Teacher Wishlist Program. Bell said this program enables new technologies and other resources to enter the classrooms that, otherwise, may not. Encouraged that there appears to be an abundance of proposals every year and award rates, Bell doesn’t expect future proposals to lessen. “There always is more need than funds.” Photo: Educators celebrate more than $15,000 presented to Maplebrook Elementary School from last year’s “Prize Posse.”

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