Westlake Educational Foundation awards over $30,000 in grants

Westlake Educational Foundation’s Mary Essig presents Adam Purdy, Technology and Engineering teacher at Westlake HS, and Kip Primrose, Career Connections teacher at Lee Burneson MS, with grants awarded by the Foundation.

At the Dec. 12 Westlake Board of Education meeting, the Westlake Educational Foundation awarded two staff grants totaling over $30,000 to support creative and innovative learning experiences in the classroom. Both grants will provide opportunities for students to expand their STEM knowledge with hands-on projects and activities and expose students to various STEM careers.

The Westlake Educational Foundation awards grants to Westlake City School teachers and staff for projects that enhance the educational opportunities and learning experiences of students over and above the required curriculum, giving special consideration to proposals that demonstrate creativity and innovation in student learning. Grants are not made for those expenses normally covered within the school district’s budget.

Mr. Adam Purdy, a Technology and Engineering teacher at Westlake High School, will use his $27,120 grant to purchase a ShopBot CNC Cutter. This spindle cutting machine is used to cut materials like wood and plastic as part of the design and manufacturing process, and will be used in various classes, including Know Your Home (1 and 2), Computer Graphics, and Technical Drawing (Levels 1,2,3,4).

Purdy says, “Students using this industry-standard equipment will make real world connections in manufacturing while taking the design-to-build process to the next level. When prototypes and models are created, student designs will be cut to precise dimensions and specifications.” Providing students this enhanced learning opportunity expands their design skills, exposes them to different careers, and prepares them for the future of manufacturing and technology.

Mr. Kip Primrose, a Career Connections teacher at Lee Burneson Middle School, received a $2,990 grant to purchase Ozobot kits to introduce students to programming by writing code. Primrose explained, “Students begin by using color combinations to move the Ozobot on a path from one location to another. This allows students to see how coding works by how the robot moves on the paper.” The next step is drag-and-drop coding on Chromebooks. Throughout the process students get immediate feedback on whether their programming worked or not, and, if necessary, they then fix it to get it done correctly. Exposing middle school students to coding before they enter high school has the potential to spark an interest in taking programming courses in high school and ultimately pursuing a STEM career.

The Westlake Educational Foundation, sanctioned by the Westlake City Schools Board of Education, was founded in 1987 as a community trust to meet the needs of education beyond the parameters of traditionally funded programs. The Foundation is an independent non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status.

Enhancing educational opportunities and experiences of Westlake City Schools’ students by offering grant opportunities is at the core of the Westlake Educational Foundation’s mission. However, without adequate funding the Foundation cannot achieve its mission.

In partnership with Serpentini Chevrolet of Westlake, the Foundation is currently holding its third annual car raffle. A 2023 Chevy Malibu LS is the grand prize. Six additional prizes are being raffled, including a FOUNT Eloise Tote bag donated by FOUNT at Crocker Park. Westlake Demons Athletic Boosters, Westlake Music Boosters, Westlake PTAs, and Westlake Alumni Association are also partnering with the Foundation and have donated additional prizes for the raffle.

The drawing will be held Jan. 31 during the Westlake High School boys varsity basketball game. Tickets are five for $100 (or $25 each) and available at the Foundation's website, www.wlake.org/about-us/westlake-educational-foundation, until Jan. 27 or can be purchased in-person at the Westlake Board of Education, formerly Hilliard Elementary School, at 24365 Hilliard Blvd. and at select Westlake High School athletic events until Jan. 27. Each ticket includes a Serpentini Chevrolet oil change coupon valued at $20.

Supporters may also contribute directly to the Foundation at the above website.

Mary Essig

President, Westlake Educational Foundation

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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 9:53 AM, 01.17.2023