Sharpen your pencils and grab your backpack. As the new school year starts, teachers and students will benefit from multiple grants made possible through the OCF. Following is an overview of some of those grants:

Adopt a Classroom

The purpose of Adopt a Classroom is to provide teachers with resources to supplement students’ learning experiences through enhanced supplies and materials.

  • Gaylord Community Schools: all K-6 educators will be awarded funds to enhance instructional activities across the curriculum that will impact over 1,400 students.
  • Johannesburg-Lewiston Area School: all K-8 educators will be awarded funds to increase hands-on learning which will impact over 430 students.
  • Vanderbilt Area School: all educators K-12 will be awarded funds to increase instruction across all curriculum platforms that will impact over 100 students.

“Thank you so much for this grant. Not only does it support our classrooms but our students tremendously. We plan to make improvements which we know positively improve our student outcomes. With the resources that our teachers buy from this grant, it will help all our families and students at Vanderbilt Area School.  A big thank you from our Yellowjacket family!” – Christina Bunker, Vanderbilt Area School

North Ohio Preschool Playground

Who doesn’t like playing on fun playground equipment? Usually children of all ages will run to the park and climb every structure to enjoy some active times outdoors. So age-appropriate playground equipment is of utmost important to children of all ages. This is especially true for preschool children who are still developing their fine motor skills. Last year, due to COVID-19, Gaylord Community Schools had to move the preschool program out of the Early Childhood Center over to North Ohio elementary school. North Ohio elementary school’s playground was set up with kindergarten through 3rd grade children in mind, so it didn’t have any preschool-rated playground equipment. The only thing the children can play in is a sandbox, per State of Michigan playground licensing rules. The Otsego Community Foundation brought together donor advised funds and other community organizations to make this new playground a reality. Construction of the new playground is scheduled for October.

“North Ohio Elementary has been lucky enough to receive support from the Otsego Community Foundation whenever there is a need. This past year, they facilitated funding to secure a new preschool playground for our youngest learners. We all know how important outdoor play is for students, and the fact that the GCS preschool students will now have a dedicated play area will make such a positive impact on their school day. We couldn’t be more grateful about their ongoing support.” – Mandy Bolen, North Ohio Elementary Principle.

Sportsplex Swim Lessons

Get your swimming suits and beach towels ready, 4th graders! The Catt Family Fund was established with the OCF in 2009 and has granted annually to the Otsego County Sportsplex for swim lessons for all 4th grade students in Otsego County. In 2020, because of COVID-19, only the Johannesburg-Lewiston Area School participated, but the Catt family is excited to fund lessons in the 2021-2022 school year for all area 4th graders.

Building Reading Through Phonics – Johannesburg-Lewiston Area School

This grant made it possible for educator Dan Serba to purchase the supplemental phonics reading materials that will allow students K-3 to apply their knowledge from the phonics core instruction through highly engaging activities and reading books with those exact phonics skills. The phonics readers have word-building activities that coincide with the
phonics books to give students the opportunity to practice their phonics skills while also reading stories.

“The grant funding for the Tales and Tiles Phonics Reading program gives our students more books in their hands at their reading level. Our school district and students are extremely fortunate to have such a giving, caring, and thoughtful community.” – Dan Serba , Johannesburg-Lewiston K-3 Title 1 reading educator