In an emotional moment during the event, Jackie Hartmann, SCVEF executive director and board secretary, presents Castaic Middle School science teacher Miquela Moreno with the horticulture materials paid for by her grant, January 31, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal

SCV Education Foundation distributes grants to local teachers

Called “Christmas in January” by those in attendance, 18 teachers from across local school districts received a combined total over $15,000 in grants from the SCV Education Foundation during a ceremony Thursday.

“These grants really make a difference,” said Renee Marshall, vice president for the organization’s board of directors. “I was a teacher many years ago in our community and these grants changed my classroom, changed my teaching and changed my ability to do innovative things.”

The grants, applied for by the teachers themselves in November of last year, were allocated this year for everything from 70 music keyboards, to two stereo microscopes to kits that teach students how to build robots.

“This is for the things you dream of,” Marshall said. “You pay so much out of your own pocket each year, and our districts work tirelessly to provide as much as they can, but there’s so much more.”

Saugus teacher Kristi Schertz and Golden Valley teacher Danielle Werts, who both teach advanced placement environmental science, accepted six pocket lab air pollution sensors on behalf of all six Hart District high schools.

(Left to Right) Danielle Werts, Kristi Schertz and Renee Marshall share the microphone as the two AP Environmental Science teachers discuss the grant they were awarded, January 31, 2019. Caleb Lunetta / The Signal.

Schertz said that the environmental science teachers have been talking about allowing their students to track and follow air particulate matter moving around Santa Clarita, especially during fires, and then share their findings with one another through a shared database.

“But up until now these sensors have been cost-prohibitive,” Schertz said. “They’ve been thousands of dollars. But new technology has lowered their price dramatically so we were able to put in for a grant this year.”

The items and learning materials purchased through these grants will be used by a total of 6,000 students annually within the Santa Clarita Valley, according to SCV Education Foundation officials. And with this year being the 21st year in a row the foundation has awarded local teacher grants, the total investment made by the program now totals $550,000 allocated over two decades.

K-12 teachers working within the Santa Clarita Valley, from across all five local school districts, were eligible to apply for grant funding this year. Foundation officials said they hope they’re able to expand beyond that in the future.

“We had about 35 applications and we couldn’t even fund even half of them,” said Marshall. “So, it’s great that we’re able to do as much we can, but we’re always looking to do more.”

To learn more about the Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation, visit their website at www.scveducationfoundation.org.

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