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Grant to boost local classroom libraries

• Nov 28, 2017 at 11:00 AM

The Grand Haven Area Community Foundation and the foundation’s Youth Advisory Council recently announced 11 third-round grant awards totaling $687,500 to support the northern Ottawa County community.

The grants include $145,000 to the Ottawa Area Intermediate School District for World-Class Classroom Libraries (WCL). WCL aims to equip every K-4 classroom library in the Grand Haven and Spring Lake school districts with robust and relevant titles so students will have immediate access to the most current and quality books.

Michigan lawmakers passed a law last year designed to improve third-grade literacy outcomes. This law requires all students, starting with grade 3, to read at or above grade level, and has increased urgency within our local school districts to guarantee students meet these new requirements.

“Resources in our schools are severely restricted," said Sandy Huber, board member of GHACF, grants committee chairwoman and a former principal at White Pines Middle School.

Research has shown that at least 1,500 high-quality titles are needed in every elementary classroom, and that the quantity and availability of these types of books to students is directly proportional to their academic achievement.

“We are so excited about this grant,” said Dr. Kyle Mayer, assistant superintendent at OAISD. “In partnership with Reading Now Network, both GHAPS and SLPS have been focusing on literacy for all students by third grade. We want kids to learn to read, but we also want them to love to read, so that they continue to grow in literacy throughout their lives. We can support that growth best in classroom environments with abundant reading materials aligned to students’ interests. This grant is going to greatly accelerate our ability to provide these essential resources to our children.”

The libraries align with the readers’ workshop model of instruction that has been adopted by both school districts. Books will be organized by reading level and will reflect various topics of interest and cultural relevance.

Other grants awarded:

• Children’s Advocacy Center — $50,000 for its capital campaign for building expansion; $8,000 is funded by the Youth Advisory Council.

• Grand Haven Department of Public Safety — $60,000 for four AutoPulse Units, one each for North Ottawa Community Hospital, the City of Grand Haven, Spring Lake Township and Crockery Township.

• Greater Ottawa County United Way — $15,000 for the 2018 Community Assessment Survey.

• Greater Ottawa County United Way — Up to $375,000 over five years for Housing Next.

• Harbor Humane Society — $10,500 for the Training & Community Center.

The Youth Advisory Council awarded $31,500 for the following grants:

• Grand Haven Schools Foundation — $7,000 for its Social/Emotional Needs Curriculum.

• Spring Lake Public Schools — $5,000 for the expansion of middle school robotics.

• Pathways of Arbor Circle — $2,000 for the 2017 Ottawa County Youth Assessment Survey.

• The Ronald McDonald House of Western Michigan — $2,500 for the 2017 Family Support Program.

• West Michigan Environmental Action Council — $15,500 for Zero Waste in Landfill program.

In addition, three organizations were recently awarded $500 Facebook mini-grants through public voting:

• Girls on the Run/Center for Women in Transition to provide girls with a 5K finisher’s medal after completing the June Celebration 5K Event in Coopersville.

• Harbor Humane Society to help fund a new community and training center.

• Grand Haven High School’s DoRAK (Do a Random Act of Kindness) Club to influence students’ and staff’s day and help change the culture at school.

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