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OPEF gives $86K back to schools

Haunted High greatly benefits district programs

May 16, 2012

Oconomowoc Area School District - The seven educational awards announced by the Oconomowoc Public Education Foundation (OPEF) Tuesday night, shattered previous totals by presenting a record $86,795 in grants to support innovative educational opportunities in the Oconomowoc Area School District. It represented a 70-percent increase over the last year's totals.

"If OPEF had seasons, we'd have our haunting season," OPEF President Mike Herro said in reference to the wildly successful Haunted High fundraiser that the organization hosts at the former Oconomowoc Middle School, and Christmas and New Years - and that's tonight."

"This is a culmination of hundreds of people working thousands of hours," he added.

The seven educational grants were awarded from the OPEF General Fund. Two grants were awarded from the Jennifer Bukosky Fund, a memorial fund in honor of a former associate principal at Oconomowoc High School who was killed, along with her daughter and unborn child, by an impaired driver. That fund supports drug and alcohol awareness education.

The grants have the potential to impact students at all grade levels and schools, as well as families in the district.

"We couldn't have raised this money without literally hundreds of volunteers and donors from our area commu nities, including teachers and corporate sponsors who helped make our Haunted High and Haunted Ball fundraisers successful. OPEF is proud to offer a way for supporters of education to make tax-deductible contributions that will help continue Oconomowoc's long tradition of educational excellence," said OPEF Grants Committee Chair Maribeth Bush.

OPEF received 31 different grant applications with a total dollar request of $341,000 from OASD staff members. Applications are reviewed by the grants committee and approved by OPEF board of directors.

According to information provided by OPEF, selections are made based on key criteria that includes the number of students it impacts, creativity and long-term impact on curriculum, alignment with OPEF mission ofencouraging leadership, fostering excellence and nurturing a sense of belonging in the public schools.

OPEF was formed in 2007 to allow for private, tax-deductible contributions and to encourage innovative educational opportunities in the Oconomowoc Area School District.

Grant recipients from the Jennifer Bukosky Fund include: Brenda Barker and Peihua Reinke of Nature Hill and Silver Lake Intermediate Schools, for educating students through the "Too Good for Drugs" curriculum assemblies, Red Ribbon Week activities and strengthening relationships with community group that educate youth and parents

Katie Westerman, coordinator of Oconomowoc Parent Education Network received a grant for Get Connected, monthly parent informational meetings and resources, was the other grant from the Bukosky Foundation.

The educational grant awards were presented to:

Laura Busch, Greenland Elementary: Creating local, national and global connection with audio, photo and video capabilities.

Beth Kauffeld, Nature Hill: Integration of Smart Music and Smart Board technology in music classroom to enhance current music curriculum and increase student achievement and interest in music.

Patrick Stinnett and Dani Herro, OHS: Students take creativity, innovation, logic and challenge inherent in game design further as they develop educational apps for mobile devices and Smart Board technology. High school students will design the apps and games; intermediate students will test them.

Danielle Chaussee, OHS: The creation of 21st Century Language Lab, with handheld technology that allows students to learn world languages at their own pace, interact with partner schools around the globe and participate in virtual field trips, debates and international service projects.

Holly Myhre, OHS: Innovative CollaborativeClassroom - this grant is a continuation grant that will add projectors that enable student groups to work collaboratively, using technology to demonstrate their learning of literature and composition.

Lynne Carlstein, Silver Lake Intermediate: Piano Power Phase II - incorporating piano into existing music curriculum and technology initiatives.

Cathy Daane: Each K-8 library will receive 10 Kindle Fires to help improve student technology literacy and enable greater access to various media formats and electronic resources.

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