Bylsma, teachers seeking grants to help fund programs

Bylsma, teachers seeking grants to help fund programs

Yearbook sponsor Cherise Lopez is one of several RB teachers looking for grant money to help fund their school programs.

Jori Zobel, Staff Reporter

As the RBHS community looks to deal with its financial struggles, teachers are finding creative ways to attain money for needed items throughout the school.

English teacher and yearbook sponsor Cherise Lopez heard about a grant for new media equipment from the Illinois First Amendment Center (IFAC) through an e-mail from Principal Pam Bylsma.  RBTV and our own Clarion also applied for equipment through the same grant.

Lopez said, “Mrs. Bylsma e-mailed those she thought would be interested in the grant.”

When applying for a grant, it is necessary to state what the grant is for and how any money received will be used.  The donors then decide if they will accept and issue you the grant.  The grant Lopez applied for was open to any public education institution.  In order for Lopez to receive the grant, she had to come to an agreement with IFAC, which was to make sure that the grant money would be used to help teach about the 1st amendment at RBHS.

Lopez said, “It’s a simple process of explaining how the money will be used and for what and also how the 1st amendment ties into it.”

If she receives it, the grant Lopez applied for will be used for new equipment such as mac books for the yearbook.

Lopez said, “The designing program on these computers are old and outdated; the mac books will have newer designing programs which will be better for the yearbook and Clarion.”

Bylsma hears about grants through building relationships with people and through e-mails.

She said, “It’s a timely process and involves a lot of research.”

Bylsma believes that receiving grants does help a portion of the financial issues, but it is not going to fix the entire problem.  RB has received grant money in the past for the college readiness program which helps kids in C.A.P (An ACT prep class) who get a score below state standards.  The grant pays for the teachers to take time and teach those kids, and it also acts as an incentive to the kids.  The amount of time the kids put into going to class determines how much money they get in return.  The money the kids receive is held until they graduate where they then apply for a scholarship and receive money in return.

Bylsma said, “Part of companies missions are to give away some of their profits through grants.”

RB’s new sustainable garden has also been funded through grants.  A large grant from Granger helped to get the garden underway.

The school’s garden project was also offered grant dollars from Monsanto, a seed company.  The difficulty is that Monsanto also promotes conventional and genetically modified seeds, whereas Eco Club and the teachers involved with the garden had been intending an organic, sustainable garden.