Join the STEAM Funding Committee!
STEAM @ SILVER OAK NEEDS YOU!
Dear Silver Oak Parents,
We are bringing this opportunity to your attention to partner with us to seek corporate and foundation grants for our Steam Lab. This year the Lab was made possible with the help from funds from parent's pledges, school district funds and a foundation grant. In the coming year to make the program more secure, we would like to lean more on securing corporate and Foundation grants. We need your help in this. Having more volunteers will allow us to apply for a greater number of grants. Grant funds will sustain us for more years and collectively enhance our community. We are putting together a team of volunteers for this work.
Committee volunteers would be able to participate from home as their schedule allows.
The committee will...
- Research Bay Area companies to determine which may offer STEAM funding programs
- Utilize our parent network to locate companies with available grants/funding
- Determine what the application process is, requirements, eligibility, and timeframe
- Communicate with the committee lead when leads are found (will help avoid duplicate effort)
- Apply for funding / Write grant requests
- Form a sustainable plan for STEAM lab funding
Questions? Please contact PTO STEM Director, Neha Vyas
SPRING 2017: The Silver Oak STEAM Lab was the first such lab to open in the Evergreen Elementary School District in March 2017. That first spring, Silver Oak ran STEAM workshops in the lab for grades K-6. Silver Oak saw the potential to do more, and wanted to plan for a full time STEAM Specialist to reside in and run the lab for our classes for future school years. The district guaranteed funding for a 1/2-time position for a minimum of two years, and Silver Oak was to be responsible for covering the other half of that position if we wanted a full-time staff member. Silver Oak planned to cover $10K of the expense out of its operating budget, and PTO committed to covering the rest. This made the hiring of Mrs. Gardener as our full-time STEAM Specialist possible for the 2017-2018 school year.
2017-18 SCHOOL YEAR: The STEAM Lab was fully outfitted with equipment, instrumentation, and supplies by the PTO and other direct donations, and was given an annual PTO grant for expenses. The lab was able to offer curriculum-compatible lessons and experiments for all grade-levels. Classrooms from kinder all the way up to sixth grade visited the lab 3-4 times a month and participated in a variety of STEAM-based lab work that was prepped and run by our STEAM Specialist.
SPRING 2018: Unfortunately, by spring of 2018, we learned that the district was instituting major budget cuts across EESD, and funding for specialists was cancelled, and well as drastic cuts to Silver Oaks operational budget. If we were to keep our STEAM Lab operational, PTO would need to fund the STEAM Specialist position and lab expenses in full. Due to the short notice of funding being pulled, the parent and business community of Silver Oak came together through the PTO and funded the entire lab cost for 2018-19.
2018-19 SCHOOL YEAR: The STEAM Lab was in full operation, and all classes enjoyed the tremendous benefit of having this program on our campus to explore and experiment throughout the year. With regard to funding, PTO committed to covering 1/2 of the STEAM expenses each year with pledge funds, but realized that a committee of parent volunteers would be needed to pursue and secure corporate grants and funding to cover the other half.
FALL 2019: Silver Oak and PTO worked with EESD, resulting in $15K in district funds being provided for our lab for the 2019-20 year. Silver Oak moved different expenses around, and PTO covered half of the lab expense, plus secured a small amount of corporate funding to make it possible to keep our lab operational for the current year.
2019-20 SCHOOL YEAR: Our STEAM Lab will be fully operational for it's third year. We currently need to assemble a corporate funding committee of parents to work through the school year to research grants we can apply for and secure corporate funding so that we can fund our STEAM Lab operation year-to-year without asking student families to contribute more than they already do each year.