Broomfield Buddies Awards School Grants
Mountain View Elementary
Broomfield Buddies is putting money in the hands of teachers who want to teach students more than core curriculum.
The nonprofit recently awarded its first round of educator grants for social-emotional learning and mental health. Grants were open to any educator at any Broomfield school — public, private or charter.
Emerald Elementary School Principal Samara Williams, one of the group’s founders, said the vision of Broomfield Buddies 2.0 is to provide funding to educators who serve as “boots on the ground” and see what is going on inside schools.
The organization received 16 grant applications from schools and was able to fully or partially fulfill 14 of the 16 applications.
“It was really awesome,” Williams said. “Requests were between $100 and $300 with a cap at $300, and will go toward children PreK through 12th grade.”
Applications were handed in by teachers, social workers, school psychologists and one principal.
Mountain View Elementary School Principal Peggy Heath received $250 for the school. She intends to buy about two dozen read-aloud books that support social-emotional learning through stories about bullying, anger management and friendship.
She and her assistant principal will visit classrooms throughout the school year to share the lessons.
Research has shown that these type of skills make a difference in reducing the number of behavioral incidents and increasing student achievement, Heath said.
“I think that unfortunately, due to No Child Left Behind, more of the soft skills and social emotional learning got pushed to the side for a while,” Heath said. “Schools felt pressure for the academic achievement piece, but it really is just as important because we’re trying to raise good humans and not just good test takers.”
In the past the school has touched on social-emotional learning, but in relation to focus on it more this year.
Their PBIS Team, which stands for Positive, Behavioral, Intervention and Support, came up with four “rocks.” The rocks, named so because the school is Mountain View, are ideals they want to instill in students — be kind, be safe, do your job and show initiative.
“That’s a backbone of everything we’re trying to do,” she said. “Then this year we’ve started dabbling with social, emotional curriculum called Second Step.”
Other examples of projects the grants will fun include a parent library where guardians can check out books dealing with emotional health, money to attend a social thinking conference and “calm kits.”
Broomfield Buddies was a group formed by area teachers and community members in 2013 following the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Broomfield Buddies 2.0 came about following the Parkland, Florida school shooting Feb. 14 last year.
“I think what we’re the most proud of is we gave almost an equal amount to Adams 12 as we did to BVSD,” Williams said. “We had a committee that represented people from all aspects of Broomfield.”
In the future, she hopes more private and charter schools apply. Emails were sent to all principals or school leaders in Broomfield.
Donations to Broomfield Buddies can be made through the Broomfield Community Foundation.
Before it can give out a second round of grants, the group will need to raise more money. Williams said one option they’re exploring is searching for someone willing to host a fundraiser with a silent auction.
Their last event raised $2,800, and this first round of grants totaled nearly $2,500.
Jennifer Rios: 303-473-1361, email@example.com or Twitter.com/Jennifer_Rios