New books, scientific calculators and accessible playground equipment are a few upgrades Klein ISD students can look forward to following the award of $58,281 in innovative classroom grants by the KISD Education Foundation in late April.

The background: The KEF was created by the KISD board of trustees in 2000. According to the nonprofit's website, its mission is to generate and distribute resources to KISD to enrich, maintain and expand programs needed to meet the district’s stated mission of excellence in education. The organization is governed by a board of directors made up of local business, corporate and community leaders.

The details: Six KISD campuses were among the KEF’s 2023 spring grant recipients.
  • Klein Cain High School received a $5,061 grant, sponsored by Stantec, to purchase 300 Texas Instrument 36X calculators. District officials said this will allow dual-credit precalculus students to use scientific, nongraphing calculators during lessons and college assessments as course guidelines state graphing calculators are not permitted for use on college assessments.
  • Zwink and Benignus elementary schools received a $9,300 grant, sponsored by Campus Kids, to implement VOX Books in pre-K to second-grade classrooms. VOX Books pairs an audio component with the corresponding physical book, which district officials said will help students improve listening comprehension, speaking vocabulary, and comprehension and response skills.
  • Klenk Elementary School received a $4,300 grant—sponsored by KISD Superintendent Jenny McGown and her husband, Brian—to create a pickleball club for students in second to fifth grades. A cross between tennis, table tennis and badminton, pickleball is a team sport that district officials said will challenge students to listen to instructions, follow directions, be flexible mentally and physically, and work as a team.
  • Eiland Elementary School received a $14,620 grant, sponsored by Houston Methodist Willowbrook Hospital, to revitalize and repurpose the school’s library walls as part of its "Eiland Around the World” initiative. Upon completion, the library focal wall will feature a world map, analog clocks, phases of the moon and the night sky, while the side walls will have designated spaces to display student-created works.
  • Mueller Elementary School received a $25,000 grant—sponsored by Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott LLP—to provide wheelchair-accessible playground equipment to allow all students to engage in collaborative play.
What they're saying:
  • “Rewarding phenomenal teachers with generously donated funds is a truly remarkable experience. With these grants our educators are able to turn their innovative ideas into a reality. This is one of the many ways we continue our tradition of excellence and innovation in Klein ISD,” McGown said in a statement.
  • “We are so incredibly grateful to our educators who go above and beyond to enhance and personalize the learning experience for our students, as well as for our dedicated and generous sponsors who allow us to continue our mission to support Klein ISD,” KEF Director Christy Spisak said in a statement.
Get involved: To learn more about getting involved with the KEF or to donate to the nonprofit, click here.