Members of the Killeen Independent School District Education Foundation’s grant patrol made surprise visits to seven campuses Friday morning to award funds for professional development to KISD teachers and principals.
The group visited Cavazos, Clifton Park, Fowler, Oveta Culp Hobby and Montague Village elementary schools, Palo Alto Middle School and the district’s KLSS facility on Rancier Avenue, where they handed out more than $34,000 in grants.
The members of the grant patrol often took recipients by surprise, cheering and spraying them with colorful Silly String before awarding them the check.
“This is always the best part of the process,” said Wayne Moore, a foundation board member. “You know that this grant money is going to help our teachers and ultimately benefit the students at these schools.”
The grants are written by school staff and submitted to the foundation, which vets and selects which grants to fund. This year’s professional development grants include funds to send school staff to professional trainings and conferences such as the Texas Autism Conference and the Conference for the Advancement of Mathematics Teaching.
Other grants provide training or allow for the creation or purchase of materials or resources used for professional development.
Joe Gullekson, principal at Cavazos Elementary School, said the grants allow schools to implement additional programs and training even when state and federal funding for education is scarce.
Cavazos received two grants, including one for $3,067 to train teachers to use Johnny Can Spell, a system that focuses on improving students’ understanding of phonics, spelling, handwriting and vocabulary.
“It gives us the opportunity to do things that we might not be able to do,” Gullekson said. “It’s great for our teachers, and will help our students achieve and meet their goals.”