GEF, community partners reward staff

The Garland ISD Education Foundation (GEF) started the giving season early, surprising dozens of staff members with grants and scholarships in November. The GEF Prize Posse delivered $35,000 in grants and $12,000 in scholarships to teachers and paraprofessionals during its fall blitz.

“Thank you. That is wonderful,” said Montclair Elementary School librarian and $1,161.68 grant recipient Diana Haun. “We are going to buy Bee-Bots and Ozobots so that we can learn about coding and computers.”

Like Haun, several other teachers also received surprise cash for innovative programs and tools. Celebrating a 30-year partnership with GEF, Ecolab commemorated the milestone by awarding $50,000 to more than 30 staff members at a special ceremony.   

“We are so appreciative of Ecolab’s longtime support. They have awarded GISD teachers $900,000 over the past three decades,” said Education Foundation President Lisa Cox. “We would not be able to sponsor our educators without strong community partners like them.”

Thanks to another community partner, GEF was able to present its first-ever $10,000 Innovation, Growth and Imagination Grant. Sponsored by Texas Instruments, the grant allowed Digital Learning Facilitator and grant recipient Brian Dean to introduce Sphero Robotic Balls at every secondary campus.

“The ability to code, or program computers, drives innovation throughout the U.S. and world,” Dean said. “Sphero provides an engaging, relevant and fun way for teachers to promote computer science across curriculum.” 

Dean and Cox surprised secondary master teachers, known as i3 members, with the devices earlier this fall. Each i3 member now features a Sphero in their classroom and integrates it in their instruction.

“All children in GISD deserve a quality education—that is the belief that drives everything the Education Foundation does,” Cox said. “Contributions made to the Foundation go directly back into the classroom. We truly enjoy awarding funds and recognizing partners—these are the best parts of my job.”

For more information about the Garland ISD Education Foundation, visit its website.