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Thursday, September 21, 2023
Sept. 21, 2023

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Nearly $19K awarded to Washington School for the Deaf

Teachers, staff receive $18,826 in mini-grants from DEAF foundation

By , Columbian staff writer

The Deaf Education Advocates Foundation awarded $18,826 in mini-grants to teachers and staff at the Washington School for the Deaf to support extracurricular activities and innovative instruction practices.

The foundation, known by its acronym DEAF, is a 501c3 nonprofit organization that supports the School for the Deaf — which, based in Vancouver, is the only comprehensive pre-K-12th grade school for deaf and hard of hearing youth in Washington — through fundraising and event planning.

The foundation awards annual mini-grants of amounts around $100 to $1,000 for a handful of teachers for field trips and additional classroom materials. This past fall, it received the largest number of teacher applications for such grants — 29 — and eventually awarded grants after a panel review to 21 staff members in late December.

The largest grant awarded this year was to art teacher Billy Miles: $1,880 for a complete screen-printing machine setup. The machine will allow students to design and create T-shirts both for themselves and for the school, among other things. Other grants will go to field trips to yoga classes and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry in Portland for older students, as well as to purchasing new Nintendo Switch consoles for each of the residential cottages on the school’s campus — where 60 or so students live throughout the school year.

“The purpose of the DEAF mini-grants is to fund activities and provide equipment and other resources that aren’t a normal part of the state-funded school budget,” the foundation said in a statement last week. “These annual grants give staff the opportunity to enrich the lives and education of the deaf and hard-of-hearing students attending the school.”

The foundation’s next project will focus on raising funds for a playground to accompany the rebuild and renovation of the school that’s set to begin in May. Bill Newell, the elementary principal at the School for the Deaf and a foundation board member, said the playground is estimated to cost about $150,000 to $200,000.

“What isn’t included in a state-funded construction project is a playground for the younger students,” Newell said. “We’ve raised a good bit so far, but we’ve got a long way to go.”

More information about the foundation and how to make donations is available on the organization’s website at http://www.deaf-wa.com/.