An initiative to install new playground equipment at Cassingham Elementary School, 326 S. Cassingham Road, is among the recipients of $32,806 in grants recently approved by the Bexley Education Foundation Board of Governors.

The foundation awards grants twice a year. The grants are funded by donations to the foundation's annual Fund for Excellence campaign, the BRAVO! event and other foundation fundraising initiatives. During grant cycles each spring and fall, the foundation's grants committee evaluates proposals, identifies projects that will have the most impact on the Bexley City Schools and makes recommendations to the board of governors, said Pamela Glasgow, foundation president.

"They look at it in terms of the long-term investment in students. They like when teachers bring forth ideas that have come forth through students," Glasgow said.

"They're looking for that impact: How many students will benefit and how the need or the desire to implement the specific project or program will benefit the schools," she said.

The foundation awarded $12,000 to support the installation of a new playground at Cassingham Elementary. The playground, which is scheduled for installation this summer, will include new play structures, swings, moving parts and quiet areas designed to support the social, emotional and physical benefits of outdoor play.

A group of parents and community members have been working since last fall to raise funds for the project.

At a May 15 meeting, Bexley Board of Education members approved the playground's design on the condition that the Cassingham Elementary Parent Teacher Organization have at least 90 percent of the estimated $250,000 needed to complete the project in hand before installation. The remaining 10 percent can come from pledged donations that are paid over the course of the next year.

The only portion of the project that the district is paying for is flooring that complies with the Americans with Disabilities Act. The flooring is similar to that installed at Maryland and Montrose elementary schools, said board President Melissa Lacroix.

"All three playgrounds will have the same ADA-certified flooring, and we do that for liability reasons," she said.

Other grants the foundation approved for projects that are to be implemented during the 2017-18 school year include:

* Mobile recording studios -- A $5,949 grant to Bill Manchester, a district music specialist, will be used to purchase computer recording equipment allowing middle and high students to record music together. The equipment will be available for use by music educators districtwide.

* Technology for language instruction -- A $5,760 grant to Bexley Middle School World Language teachers will be used to purchase 12 tablet computers to support instruction in their classrooms.

* Flexible seating options -- A $4,000 grant to teachers Lindsay Shankle and Alison Nakasako will help enhance their Bexley Middle School foreign language classrooms with flexible seating options to encourage greater collaboration, communication and creativity among students.

* Athletic program -- A $3,250 grant to Adam Straight, a physical education teacher at Montrose, will support the implementation of an educational program for elementary students to build character, reinforce values and promote healthy choices through the game of golf.

* Montrose sensory space -- A $1,020 grant to Montrose intervention specialist Katie Roslovic will support development of a dedicated quiet space at the school. The space will include materials that help students with sensory integration needs to calm themselves and return to their classrooms ready to learn.

* Costumes for Shakespeare play -- An $827 grant to Rachel Lilly, an English teacher at Bexley High School, will be used to purchase costumes for students in ninth-grade English classes to act out "Romeo and Juliet" as a way to increase engagement with Shakespeare's play.

To date, the foundation has provided nearly $5 million in grants in support of the Bexley City Schools, Glasgow said.

For more information about the foundation, call 614-338-2093 or visit bexleyeducationfoundation.org.

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