The Willis ISD Education Foundation gave $80,000 in Innovative Teaching Grants in December to 25 teachers in the school district.

Two-minute impact

Michelle Bischof, director of the WISD Education Foundation, said the program hosts a competitive grant application process every year in November. She said grants are awarded based on new and different ideas that staff in Willis ISD can implement in the classroom to elevate student learning.

In 2023, the foundation received 40 applicants and was able to fund 25 of those grant applications, Bischof said. Some of those grants went to purchase items, such as:
  • Sewing machines for the district's fashion design program
  • Podcasting stations and cameras for the student news department
  • A gurney for the students taking EMT courses in high school
  • Equipment for special education students to be able to participate in sports
  • Software to teach digital charting to the nursing students
Bischof said other grants went to experiences, including:
  • Taking all high school German students to visit the Holocaust Museum
  • Bringing author Nathan Hale to visit all WISD elementary campuses
  • Providing more than $7,000 for economically disadvantaged students to be able to take career and technical education certifications
Quote of note

"The amount of grants we've given out has doubled in the last two years with us giving out $70,000-$80,000 since 2021," Bischof said. "To me, this is my favorite part of the job. I get to read what the teachers are asking for and imagine how this will impact their classrooms."

Also of note

Funds for the Willis ISD Education Foundation grants come from fundraising events, such as the Annual Bash held in August, and a golf tournament held in March.

The foundation also gives scholarships for graduating seniors in the spring. Bischof said the WISD Education Foundation provides approximately $20,000 in scholarships every year.