GNADENHUTTEN -- From a dream to a reality -- the Indian Valley Foundation! After several years of "just talking about a foundation," a few community members came together and, in November 2009, a voluntary board of directors was elected. The foundation is an independent, 501(3)C non-profit, charitable organization. The purpose of the foundation is to raise funds from individuals, corporations and foundations to promote increased classroom learning and exemplary teaching in all Indian Valley Schools.

All Indian Valley Foundation programs and activities are planned and implemented by volunteers from the community, school district and alumni. All volunteers are welcome! The mission of the Indian Valley Foundation is to enhance academic excellence within the Indian Valley School District through support of educational opportunities not funded by traditional sources.

Although in operation for only seven months, contributions from donors and tributes have already made it possible for the Indian Valley Foundation to award 13 classroom grants and two student scholarships of $500 each. Tributes are a way to support the foundation and honor someone special by ordering a personalized tribute to anyone living or deceased. The minimum cost of a tribute is $10. Forms are available in every school and on the Indian Valley Web site.

The scholarships were presented at the Indian Valley graduation ceremony to seniors Danielle McMasters and Kimberly Quillen. Classroom grants were announced during visits to each of the schools. Checks were presented to the following recipients at the June 21 Indian Valley Board of Education meeting:

Midvale and Port Washington Elementary schools, Denise Picchetti, $250, Robotic Rendezvous

Kindergarten through fifth grade students at both schools will have the opportunity to program and operate robots. During the fall, fifth graders will create mini lessons for younger students and will then present the lessons to the younger students during the spring semester. Foundation funds will purchase a NXT Mindstorm Video Trainer. This grant supplements funds from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation, Federal Title 1 Program and the PTO's from each school.

Midvale Elementary, Joan Krocker, $250, Board with Mathematics

Student laptop boards are an ideal tool to help students learn, review and maintain and review lessons learned. Funds from the Foundation will be used to purchase 31 sets of Dry Erase Lap Boards, Markers and erasers.

Midvale Elementary, Debbie Lee, $249, Project Ken

Students will take four seasonal field trips to the Indian Valley Nature Park in Gnadenhutten. On the field trips, the students will plant bulbs and wildflowers, paint a trash can for the park and record each visit in journals that will include student created drawings and photos. Foundation funds will purchase a digital camera and supplies for the four trips.

Port Washington Elementary, Patty Couts, $250, Teaching Math through Literacy

Funds from the foundation will provide students with a complete set of books, games and hands-on activities focused on the basic math skills of patterning, shapes, counting and number recognition. These activities are known to develop strong math skills. For example, after reading the book, Around the Clock with Harriet, students will practice reading a clock and will order events based upon time.

Port Washington Elementary, Curt Glazer, $225, Space Day

Stark County Wilderness Center staff will lead all fifth grade students on a "tour" of the Solar System. Under the direction of Wilderness Center Staff, every classroom will conduct a series of experiments related to each planet. Foundation funds support these opportunities in three classrooms.

Port Washington Elementary, Rebecca L. Hicks, $189, All Aboard for Reading Success

All fifth grade reading and language arts students will benefit from 11 Porta-Centers purchased by the foundation. By providing literature-based activities for curriculum approved novels, the centers will help students improve their research and reporting skills, critical and creative thinking. Center activities focus on Genre Study, Literary Elements and Poetry.

Midvale Elementary, Linda Spring, $245, Family Engineering Night

Foundation Funds will support an evening for students and their parents to participate six exciting engineering challenges monitored by community engineers. Funds will also be used to purchase Elementary School Olympiad Competition and Tournament Manuals and DVDs.

Indian Valley Middle School, Denise Cooley, $224, Brian's Song

This book reaches out to students through football, friendship and human drama. A classroom set of 35 books purchased with foundation funds will help the eighth graders to better understand the winding road of social change between races, the importance of integration to society and the value of understanding and tolerance.

Indian Valley Middle School, Melanie A. Glazer, $233, Tonechime Ensemble

Foundation funds will expand the music program through the purchase three volumes of sheet music and student manuals. The arts are an important component of student learning; and students with no prior music training can participate in Tonechime ensembles. This will provide yet another way for students to succeed and to develop an understanding and appreciation of music.

Indian Valley Middle School, Hannah Hannen, $140, Dry Erase Boards

All English students will benefit from hands-on learning experiences provided by a classroom set of 30 dry erase boards, markers and erasers purchased with Foundation funds.

Indian Valley Middle School, Tiffany L. Shaw, $250, Dicey's Song

A classroom set of 35 books, a teacher's manual and a video purchased with foundation funds will help develop student reading, writing, thinking and language skills by reading and discussing the tragedy and familial bond presented by the book.

Indian Valley High School, Rachel Howell, $247, It's H.I.P. to be a Reader

High Interest Reading (H.I.P.) and the related Accelerated Reader quizzes connect with teenagers because they deal with issues that young people face each day. The books have proven to be effective in stimulating interest and increased reading by Indian Valley teens. Foundation funds will purchase 23 new books and related quizzes.

Indian Valley High School, Christine Rober, $247, Metal Enameling

Foundation funds will purchase an enameling kiln that will expand opportunities for students in the arts. By providing a new opportunity for students to experiment with and practice various art forms, this grant will expand the art curriculum.

You can support the Indian Valley Foundation by: Contributing a part of yourself with gifts of time and talent by volunteering to serve on a foundation committee; donating cash, securities or real estate in any amount; purchasing a Tribute or Memorial to honor teachers, students, friends and family -- living or deceased; naming the Indian Valley Foundation as a beneficiary in your will, trust, annuity or insurance policy; or creating and Naming a permanent restricted "Fund" to honor your family or a special project.

For information about the Indian Valley Foundation, e-mail ivf@ivschools.org, visit www.ivschools.org or contact Minnie Garabrandt at (330) 339-2666 or jgarab@wilkshire.net.