With the economy in a recession and with state and federal dollars shrinking or past due, finding any extras for Geneva students' special projects or special needs just keeps getting tougher—and more important.
Geneva Academic Foundation representative Mary Bencini presented District 304 with a check in the amount of $41,621.53 Wednesday, a generous and welcomed sum but significantly less than the $52,400 raised last year.
"We’re having financial difficulties just like every other nonprofit is in this economic environment," Bencini said at the annual Geneva leadership breakfast at Geneva High School.
GAF raises funds for programs and equipment that the district otherwise would not be able to afford. Bencini said GAF received requests for scholarships and grants totaling more than $146,000.
"It was very difficult to to decide (which requests to fund) because all grant proposals were great," Bencini said.
Bencini emphasized that people can contribute on the GAF website. GAF also is looking for and would welcome new board members.
Here are some of the projects funded by GAF:
#1 Learning and Movement, Geneva Middle School North—A stand-up desk and stool, which allows a student the choice to sit or stand while engaged in learning activities. This special desk helps students with DHD to focus better, release some excess energy, and not to distract others.
#2 Television News Writing Program, Geneva High School—This news-writing program will help improve the writing skills of students enrolled in television classes at the high school. This program allows students to write for all components of the various studio productions and connect directly with the technology that sends it to the airwaves.
#3 Digital Cameras, Fabyan Elementary School—Three digital cameras were purchased to be used in classrooms and on field trips by all grade levels and staff.
#4 Poster Printer, Geneva Middle School South—Money was given for a large format printer to allow teachers to create large graphic organizers and other classroom posters which depict specific reading, writing, and math strategies.
#5 Science Discoveries with Microscopes, Fabyan Elementary School—Microscopes were purchased for students to use in the elementary classrooms.
#6 Cordless/Portable Microphones, Geneva High School—Four cordless/wireless/portable microphones were purchased for use in the auditorium for theater and music programs as well as for school assemblies and programs.
#7 Supplementary & Enrichment Materials for Science, Geneva Middle School South—A DNA model, forensic activities to reinforce the study of the skeletal system, and genetically engineered seedsthat germinate quickly were purchased for a seventh-grade classroom.
#8 Lightspeed Portable Infrared Audio Systems, Heartland Elementary School—An audio system with speaker and microphone was purchased for each grade level at this elementary school.
#9 Smartboard-Interactive White Board, Western Avenue School—This new visual learning technology will help students to become more active learners. This interactive white board was purchased to be shared by all classrooms.
#10 SPARK Science Learning System, Geneva High School—Thirteen SPARK Learning Systems were purchased for use in the chemistry classes at the high school.
#11 Reading/Writing Lab HB Probook 6550b, Geneva High School—Money was given to purchase laptop computers to be used in the Reading Lab at the high school.
#12 BookFlix Interactive Online Literacy Library, All Elementary Schools—Money was given to help purchase a year-long online multimedia literacy subscription for each elementary school. This program pairs fictional video storybooks with non-fiction eBooks, and can be used at school and at home.
#13 Literary Festival 2012, Geneva High School—Money was given to help fund the Upstate Eight Literary Conference in order to continue this event which has occurred for the past 35 years for Geneva High School students.
#14 Portable Document Cameras, Mill Creek Elementary School—Money was given to buy four more document cameras for individual classrooms. Document cameras present crisp, clear, detailed images through the LCD projectors which are mounted from classroom ceilings.
#15 Digi-Walker Pedometers, Fabyan Elementary School—A class set of pedometers was purchased to be used in physical education classes.
#16 Bulletin Board Die-Cut Machine, Geneva High School—A die-cut machine was purchased for the high school to make classroom and extra-curricular clubs’ displays more attractive.
#17 Listening For All, Fabyan Elementary School—Money was given to help purchase more books on CD for the school’s library. Partial Grant $1,250.
#18 Healthy Cooking Equipment, Geneva High School—Three ActiFry Units were purchased for the high school culinary arts classroom to promote healthy cooking.
#19 Technology for Art Classrooms, Geneva High School—An inkjet printer, a four-color glass printer, and two megapixel digital cameras were purchased for art and photography classes at the high school.
"GAF is very proud that our organization has raised and contributed more than $1 million to the schools in Geneva ever since our organization was founded in 1987," Bencini said. "The funds raised by GAF help to fulfill our mission to connect students at all grade levels to new experiences, ideas, and challenges. Every year GAF funds such things as scholarships for students, technology, services, programs, and equipment in order to enhance the educational experiences for all the students in the Geneva Schools."