As local kids start the new school year, the White Salmon Valley Education Foundation (WSVEF) is gearing up as well, with the announcement of $20,000 in summer grants, and the launch of a community drive done in partnership with Harvest Market.

The WSVEF’s “We Root for Schools” community campaign launches on Tuesday, Sept. 3 at Harvest Market. Make a $3 donation to the foundation when checking-out at Harvest Market, and receive a really cool window cling. Show your school spirit with one for each car, and home window too. All proceeds go to support our local schools.

Clings will be available at the store through Sept. 22.

Individuals can also help raise money for schools by bringing their own bags to Harvest Market when they shop. From Sept. 3 through Nov. 5, individuals can opt to donate a five center bag refund to the WSVEF. And Harvest Market will show its school support by matching each one of those donations with another five cents.

“Business and organizational support is vital to a strong community,” said WSVEF Board President Jason Spadaro. “We’re excited to launch this new, on-going, partnership with Harvest Market, which will allow our entire community one more avenue to support our schools.”

Meantime, the WSVEF this week also announced five successful applications for the latest $20,000 grant cycle, most of them STEM oriented.

The largest grant, $8,574, will go to Columbia High School to fund state-of-the-art Vernier Probeware and software for use in the science lab. This is Phase II of a program begun last year to replace antiquated systems and equipment in the lab. The program will benefit nearly all students in the high school through their science courses by helping to increase scientific literacy, providing needed background for students to enroll in upper division science courses, and preparing them for post-secondary science education, as well as providing more hands-on STEM experiences.

A grant of $8,212 will help install WiFi at Whitson Elementary and Henkle Middle Schools.

“The White Salmon Valley School District was very excited to hear that the Foundation would fund a grant proposal written by one of our parents that would bring the district closer to funding WiFi at both schools,” said district superintendent Dr. Jerry Lewis. “Once this work is completed, students and staff across all three schools will have greater capacity to expand the use of educational technologies for quality instruction and learning. I am very grateful for the support of the WSVEF and our community.”

This project is still awaiting final funding but the District expects to have fully accessible WiFi in place at both schools sometime this fall. Complete internet access was installed at CHS over the summer and functions like a dream.

Third grade Enrichment classes will get $2,200 to bring a bit of engineering to the table. The “littleBits” program consists of tiny circuit-boards with specific functions engineered to snap together effortlessly. Young users can easily design and build a variety of sophisticated electronic devices, ranging from flickering lanterns, to motorized piggy banks, and light sensitive cars.

Remaining funds go to Henkle Middle School. After-school Rugby will receive $139 to purchase balls and cones, and $875 will go to provide on-going training for staff in the Strong Climate/Strong Learning program.

The highly-regarded, behavioral intervention program creates a positive, organized, disciplined school environment, and has yielded encouraging results with a significant drop in discipline referrals since its implementation three years ago.

“As we continue to forge strong relationships within our community to support our schools, and see these great programs put into place as a result of everyone’s generosity, the sense of reward is tremendous,” said Spadaro.

Since its inception in 2006, the Foundation has provided and facilitated nearly $750,000 in grants to a broad spectrum of programs in the White Salmon Valley School District. The WSVEF is a 501 (c) 3 non-profit corporation dedicated to enhancing the quality of public education within our community by creating a stable source of supplemental funding for curriculum enhancement and investment in our teachers.

For more information, or to make a donation, visit or call 493-1175.

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