A conversation among moms started Kim Mosier into researching different education models, and ultimately led to developing the Baker Valley Education Foundation.
“Somewhere in my research on expeditionary learning, I came across education foundations,” said Mosier, who lives in Baker City.
(Expeditionary learning is an in-depth, project-based approach. This year, fifth-graders at South Baker Intermediate School have completed several “expeditions.”)
Mosier has a fourth-grader and a first-grader. She helps in her children’s classrooms, and through conversations she learned that “the teachers want to do hands-on, and many are already, but they have to pull out of their own pockets.”
As Mosier read about education foundations, she discovered these exist in all 50 states in various forms — some are all volunteer, and some have paid staff. The goal, however, is the same: “augment, supplement or complement programs and activities currently being provided by the district.”
The Baker Valley Education Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit. The board of directors is Mosier, Angela Willison, Megan Alameda, Stephanie Rasmussen and Melissa Irvine. All are volunteers.
The foundation’s mission is to “promote and support innovative teaching and education in the Baker 5J School District” by providing grants directly to teachers for classroom projects.
Mosier has made presentations to the school board, staff at the district schools, and parent-teacher organizations.
In her program for teachers, Mosier asked “What would you do with $1,000?”
Answers ranged from tubs full of science units for kindergarten to standing desks to outdoor clubs and greenhouses.
Teachers or teacher teams can submit an application for a classroom grant that specifies how many children it will impact, the money requested, and if volunteers are needed.
“We expect we’ll have more ideas than money,” Mosier said.
The Foundation’s objectives are:
• support hands-on, experiential learning opportunities
• help teachers meet the educational needs of multiple intelligences
• support teachers’ efforts toward innovative teaching methods
If an application comes in requesting more than the foundation can fund, Mosier said they can look for other options.
“Other foundations have been successful matching projects in their districts with funders,” she said.
Open House, Fundraiser Friday
The foundation will have a community open house and fundraiser this Friday, downstairs at Crossroads Carnegie Art Center, 2020 Auburn Ave., from 5:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.