Duncan Public Schools Foundation: established 1989
Executive Director: Haylee Root, first Executive Director for the organization, started in 2016
District Serves 3,484 students (2018) with 6 elementary schools, 1 middle school, 1 high school
Two Great Ideas to Share: Simplified Grant Awards, and Leveraging Community Partners to Increase Capacity.
Demon Excellence Award (DEX) Grants were created to simplify the Foundation grant application process and increase teacher participation. The DEX grant window is opened near the start of the school year, and teachers are notified via district email.
A simple online application is available for all teachers and staff
. Teachers can apply for three levels of funding, an individual classroom grant of $1000, a collaborative grant for two or more teachers of $3000, a professional development grant of $2500, and may apply for any combination of these three. The grant must address one of four areas of improvement in the district strategic plan, and meet the foundation goal of providing either a Teacher Incentive or STEM/Project Based Learning. Submitted applications are reviewed by the foundation board, and teachers are notified within 45 days of application. The window
for DEX grants stays open until funding for the year has been allocated. Haylee said, "We have gotten some really great feedback from applicants on the process. They love how easy the application process is, and appreciate the quick turn around time". Next year the foundation plans to release funds in two waves, half in the Fall and half in the Spring to be more inclusive of teachers who have opportunities that come up later in the year.
All foundations are looking for ways to increase their capacity and better leverage support for new initiatives in their district. Haylee has had great success in approaching community partners not just to fund a specific need, but also to oversee and direct its implementation. Allowing community partners to feel real ownership by helping in a hands on way while providing a firm timeline with an end date has proven attractive to local businesses looking for ways to help Duncan Public Schools. The Foundation is working with a local machine shop that is interested in outfitting the fabrication STEM lab that is under construction. In exchange for donation of needed machinery, the Foundation will give the business naming rights for the area. Partnerships like this allow flexibility for both the foundation and local business in collaborating to procure needed resources for the good of the students in Duncan Public Schools.