Santa Barbara Education Foundation Awards Over $109,000 to Local Teachers

When the current school year started with distance learning, it was clear that teachers would have a growing list of needs for their students with the new format. In response, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation awarded a total of 55 grants to SB Unified teachers totaling over $109,000 to meet the needs of their students.

Since 2018, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation has offered SB Unified teachers grants between $250 to $5,000 to promote innovative teaching and classroom supplies. Anticipating an even greater need, the Santa Barbara Education Foundation increased its fundraising efforts over the summer to boost its giving power for this school year by $50,000.

“We were overjoyed by the way that our community has stepped up to offer additional support for our teachers during this difficult time,” said SBEF Executive Director Margie Yahyavi.

This year’s grants will help purchase a wide variety of items, including outdoor seating and shade structures for on-campus hybrid learning, digital cameras, laser cutters for STEAM labs, compost bins for gardening, and books about social justice and current politics.

But the impact of these grants will be felt far beyond this most unusual school year. Justin Mack, a STEAM teacher at Washington Elementary, was awarded a $2,000 grant for robots and a classroom coding kit. “I am passionate about the value of STEM education, which fosters design and engineering thinking that yields superb student creativity and innovation,” said Mack. “The generous support of our Wildcat STEM Lab Ozobots Robotics and Coding Program is a huge blessing that will positively impact 600 Washington Elementary School students every year of their valuable tenure with us!”

The Santa Barbara Education Foundation will host a virtual reception honoring their 2020-21 Teacher Grant awardees on Thursday, January 7.

Santa Barbara Education Foundation promotes private support of Santa Barbara’s public education system, serving over 14,000 students in 21 schools. For more information, visit www.santabarbaraeducation.org.

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