Once a year I read grant proposals for the Sarasota Schools. When I was teaching here, I used to write those grant proposals and hope for good news. They’re fairly easy to write and it’s incredible how much money they have to give away to teachers who are willing to offer a well thought out plan for spending it.
Anyway, it happened again this year. Among the grants for some great extras..field trips to Mote Marine, equipment for creating documentaries, book sets on a particular subject, iPads etc..there are always some ones that shock me because I figure “of course the school has those”. This year it was one from an art teacher who wanted art tables. She’s using portable tables that jiggle every time a student erases or leans on the table (which of course messes up another kid’s piece) and that offer interesting ways for curious kids to pinch their fingers.
Maybe I’m naive but honestly, I’ve never been in a school that has an art room without proper art tables. I figure it should be part of the basic furniture budget…tables, chairs, desks, bookshelves..whatever. Anyway, I scored the grant as high as I could (tricky because there honestly wasn’t anything creative about the request nor could I directly relate it to increased test scores—those damned rubrics) but in my comments, I said “Fund this. It’s ridiculous that this teacher is teaching without the proper tables.”
There were several requests for technology software. I wrote notes to the each grant writer that asked for something I had never heard of saying “Please know that most of the grant readers are retirees with limited technology experience. Describe what you want and how you’ll use it very clearly if you want to get this grant.” And I’m not a tech illiterate…just tech challenged!
Anyway, I always enjoy reading the proposals…There are always some that hit me (like the tables) and some that I don’t like because (in my humble opinion) what they want is a colossal waste of money. But I’m glad so many teachers work so hard to submit them. Their enthusiasm is impressive. And hopefully, that girl will get her art tables.
My mentee from Big Brothers, Big Sisters is now in high school and was mighty impressed that I could help him with his algebra. Wait till next year, I told him. Algebra, I love. When you get to geometry, it might be a different story. He’s such a sweet kid and so clearly uninterested in school…He really is just going through the motions till it’s over. And I have no clue how to light a fire under him. He loves nature and animals. He has so many pets in his house I don’t know where they fit them all. He would make a fabulous vet or wildlife expert…but, as I have pointed out to him, he will need college for almost anything other than cleanup crew at a National Park. He doesn’t believe me…I’ll keep trying.
Books…I’ve read a couple recently that I loved. One is The Blessings by Elise Juska (thanks, Kim) It’s about an Irish Catholic family in New Jersey. Each chapter is written from a different member’s point of view. Likable characters (even the ones who you might not like when you first meet them, looking at them from another person’s eyes). And I just finished Infinite Home by Kathleen Alcott (thanks, Deirdre) Oh my, what a treasure. I listened to it and the reader got the characters just right.I’m reading The Secret Chord by Geraldine Brooks. I guess you can’t go wrong with her. She’s an incredibly good story teller. Good book about King David. And our book club read The Destiny of the Republic by Candice Millard (thanks, Shirly) Nonfiction about James Garfield –amazing man who didn’t really die of a gunshot wound. He died of malpractice AFTER he was shot. EVERYONE in the book club loved this book…it was great.
The weather is turning cooler…especially in the morning. I’ve been walking for about twenty minutes before yoga and usually need a light jacket. Today was beautiful…and there were two dolphins out in the Gulf who were traveling at about the same pace as I was…nice. And the snowbirds are coming back. Yes, that means more traffic. Yes, it means longer waits in restaurants. Yes, it means longer lines at grocery checkouts. And yes, it means driving around the Publix lot looking for a parking space in the middle of the day. But it also means that some of my dearest friends are on their way. Hurrah.