The Friendswood ISD Education Foundation (FEF) hosted the second annual Student Grant Committee Meetings on Friday, Apr. 30. In the meetings, a group of students at each campus dreamt up $1,000 grants funded by FEF’s Mustang Association and #WeAreMighty campaigns.
In a traditional year, the student committees are tasked with selecting a grant for their campus from a group of applications submitted by teachers. This year, FEF utilized the unique opportunity to inspire the first student-generated grants in FISD.
“I was so happy to hear that the second annual student grant committee meetings would be able to happen this year,” FEF Grant Committee Chair Niki Rhodes said. “Listening to our youngest to oldest mustangs talk about what they want to see in our schools was very exciting!”
The meetings were tailored to each age group and concluded with a vote, giving each student a voice and choice in how to invest the funds.
At Cline Elementary and Westwood Elementary, students looked at two learning spaces and brainstormed what the grant funds could purchase to make learning even more fun for all of their friends at school.
After throwing out the wild idea of funding 500 trampolines, FEF Executive Director Ashley Adair asked Westwood second-grader Thatcher Hopkins how a trampoline might help him learn. She shared that she couldn’t help but laugh when he responded, “Well it will help me learn about gravity, of course.”
“He sure did surprise me,” Adair said. “It was a great reminder for us of the importance of viewing grants through the eyes of kids with a sense of childlike wonder and imagination.”
At Bales Intermediate and Windsong Intermediate, students reflected on learning experiences that stood out to them and the elements that made them memorable. The groups narrowed in on a focus area and decided to fund a grant supporting “movement” at Bales and “creating and building” at Windsong.
At Friendswood Junior High (FJH) and Friendswood High School (FHS) students also discussed meaningful learning experiences and dug deep on the characteristics of authentic learning that they believe grants should support. The groups brainstormed a variety of ideas for their $1,000 and ultimately decided on a grant to support outdoor learning at FJH and a grant to provide real-world, collaborative workspaces at FHS.
"I appreciate the effort FEF puts into making sure that students are able to shape their school experience to what their interests are,” FJH eighth-grader Ben Seifert said. “It is reassuring to know that future classes will have fresh opportunities, and that I helped make it possible."
FEF Directors who supported the meetings mentioned what a joy it was to learn from and be inspired by the students that participated.
“Our students are truly innovative,” Rhodes said. “I can’t wait to see the first student grants in action across Friendswood ISD.”
Click here to view all Student Grant Committee Meeting photos.