BY REBECCA BENNETT — The City of Hyattsville Education Advisory Committee, which established an Education Enrichment Grant Program earlier this year, announced Dec. 7 it’s first 13 recipients. The maximum award was $500 and the selected grants range from $220 to $500.
“The committee was excited to see some fantastic proposals and examples of the creative ways teachers and administrators in our area schools are working to enrich learning for our children and to build connections with parents and the broader community,” said T. Carter Ross, interim-chair of the committee. “All too often, there is a disconnect between our county-run school system and the life of our city, but this program helps to bridge the gap between the two.”
According to a city memo, “In selecting the program awardees, the Committee sought to select programs that would have the greatest impact for the largest number of students in a school. We also looked at the potential sustainability of the program and the likelihood of continued benefit beyond the grant period.”
The committee received a total of 35 grant applications. The council allocated $5,000 program in FY 2016, and the Education Advisory Committee recommended the program be extended to $10,000 the following year.
Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 4) said she did not this some of the items chosen for grants were appropriate, such as completion of a cafe mural, a museum night or parent coffee. “We can’t get to the point where we’re raising taxes because we’re spending money where we shouldn’t be,” she said. “There are more important things that need to be addressed in the schools … that have a lot more to do with learning.”
Councilmember Ruth Ann Frazier said the city is just now finishing audits and shouldn’t put money into “frivolous” things, but rather for items like books or trips. “It is not fair that our tax dollars should be going to pay for murals and a Girl Power through Step program and long term music storage.”
Education Advisory Committee Interim Chair T. Carter Ross said the kids light up when they see the mural at Hyattsville Elementary School and it’s a source of pride and contributes to a feeling of place.
“It seems to me if we engage our children in multiple events, we’re ahead of the game,” Councilmember Tom Wright (Ward 3) said. “It’s such a small amount in the scheme of things, I think we should support it.”
“I think this is money well-spent,” Councilmember Shani Warner (Ward 2) said.
“Thriving schools with great enrichment opportunities for students help to make Hyattsville a more vibrant and attractive community,” said Mayor Candace Hollingsworth. “I am excited to see how the grant money awarded will be put to use.”
Perry and Frazier voted against the motion. Councilmember Patrick Paschall (Ward 3) and Councilmember Robert Croslin (Ward 2) were absent.
The grant funds will be disbursed early in 2016, for programs taking place in the spring and summer, according to a city press release.
- Hyattsville Elementary School, $492 for Completion of cafeteria mural
- Hyattsville Elementary School, $495.91 for Library support, including Spanish-language books
- Hyattsville Elementary School, $500 for Orff instruments
- Hyattsville Middle School, $450 for Kids Excelling in Math & Science program support
- Northwestern High School, $500 for Sousaphone repair
- Rosa L. Parks Elementary School, $500 for Building Cultural Literacy Through Arts program
- University Park Elementary School, $500 for Music program augmentation
Partial Awards (the full amount requested is noted parenthetically)
- Edward M. Felegy Elementary School, $220 for Career Day support ($400)
- Edward M. Felegy Elementary School, $300 for Nights at the Felegy Museum event ($500)
- Hyattsville Elementary School, $220 for Coffee chat parental engagement program ($500)
- Northwestern Evening High School, $300 for Parent Engagement Committee ($500)
- Rosa L. Parks Elementary School, $220 for Parent engagement workshops ($500)
- Rosa L. Parks Elementary School, $300 for Literacy and Numeracy Carnival ($500)