Ladera Grants

Brittany Christensen, Editor-in-Chief

The Ladera Ranch Education Foundation donated over $1,900 to San Juan Hills High School for projects requested by Newspaper, Academic Decathlon and English.

“The foundation raises and distributes approximately $40-50K per year for our grant programs. In addition to this, we have several other fundraisers that are directly related to specific programs (i.e 5th grade science camps, K-3 music, technology replacement, etc.)  These fundraisers generate an additional $200-300K of annual funds specifically for these programs.” said John Waldeck, LREF President.

Teachers, Bill Kaiser, Shannon Spiers, and John Baker applied for these grants last spring.

Although the grants are normally given to Middle and Elementary schools, SJHHS was picked for these grants by LREF, according to Tom Ressler, Principal.

“Approximately 15 board members meet annually to review and approve the grants given.  Each board member is a volunteer that assists during the year on the various fundraisers and is typically a Ladera Ranch parent or business owner,” said Waldeck.

The money was given to the school in early September, however teachers have not yet obtained their grant funds

Kaiser, who along with teaching World History, is the newspaper adviser, received a grant for $1,260 for one additional computer.

“This grant will allow us to purchase one additional computer that we desperately need to expand the newspaper and give students more hands-on time with journalism,” said Kaiser.

Without the grant students would have to share one computer for every four students he said.

“Mr. Ressler was very generous with equipment when the class started 2 years ago, but to expand, we need money from selling ads, donations, and grants like this,” said Kaiser

Along with Kaiser, Spiers, health and yoga teacher, also was able to obtain a grant from the foundation for the Academic Decathlon team. Last year the 11th-12th grade team won 3rd place and the 9th-10th grade team won 1st at the decathlon at Westminster high school

Spiers is head of the Academic Decathlon, so she was thrilled to find out that the students have roughly $700 more to use for registration and materials.

“It lets us know that the community is helping our Academic Decathlon program,” said Spiers.

If this grant was not funded, the seventeen students involved would have needed to pay extra to participate. Spiers predicts that if those measures were taken, many students would drop out, which would be devastating for the team.

Baker applied for a grant to pay for iClickers, which are handheld devices students use to submit responses in real-time. The results are projected onto the classroom screed to provide immediate feedback on discussion questions. Each iClicker costs $35, and the package comes with 28. The total cost for the iClickers and response reader is $1,500. Even with the grant Baker is still short for an entire class set but the grant will help with the first phase.

Having seen previous grants go through as well in SJHHS, Ressler said, “We are very appreciative that the Ladera Ranch community has been a supporter of our school.”