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Education grants indicate a need for caring in the classroom

Mariah Engle
Eugene Education Foundation
Kindergarten teacher Mariah Engle uses the Conscious Discipline program in her classroom at Cesar Chavez Elementary

It’s a time for big emotions, and that includes in classrooms. The Eugene Education Foundation found teachers and staff asked for more social-emotional learning support this year.

The EEF uses community donations to award grants across the Eugene 4J district based on expressed needs. Dana Fleming is the Executive Director. She told KLCC, “We’ve noticed even before the pandemic, though, that we were seeing requests that were coming in increasing amounts every year for social-emotional learning support. So during this grant cycle, literacy was still the number one thing we awarded, category wise, but right behind that was social-emotional learning.”

Fleming said programs like Conscious Discipline and Zen Zones help teachers, students and parents handle weighty feelings. When kids feel safe and part of a group, they’re more ready to learn.

She said there were fewer requests for grants last year, because teachers didn’t have the bandwidth to make proposals. She expects applications will increase.

Other awards this year included money for a drone program at the Arts and Technology Academy (ATA), providing band instruments at several schools, and adding yoga instruction at Kennedy Middle School.

EEF’s current theme, “On Track for Success,” ties in the summer’s big track and field events and the fact that the awards put students on track to succeed in school and beyond. Ashton Eaton is the keynote speaker for the upcoming fundraising dinner, which is in person at Kidsports on May 13th. Find more information on their website, here.

Karen Richards has been a KLCC reporter since the fall of 2012.