Bridge Street’s Schultz Raises Grant Dollars

Bridge Street Middle School Teacher Julie Schultz, center, is pictured with eighth-grade students Melody Jennings, left, McKenna Dei, Nathan Bittinger and Joseph Farmer.

Bridge Street Middle School teacher Julie Schultz tells students to “shoot for the moon, and even if they miss they will hit the stars.”

Since 2011, Schultz successfully has requested grants that have brought in more than $100,000 to the school and transformed her basement classroom.

BSMS now has a stellar music room well-equipped with keyboards and guitars and other items as a result of her skills. In addition, a musical theatre program has started at the school.

Now she is turning her efforts to the school’s “innovation space” work areas for students.

This week Schultz learned Walmart has funded her three latest grant requests through DonorsChoose.org, bringing in another $2,227 to the school. The first grant for $1,185 will be used to purchase items for the school’s music lab, while a second for $459 will go toward art supplies and a third for $583 that will go toward reading nooks.

Schultz said among the items to be purchased will be a Cricut Easy Press, which will be used by chorus students to design and print T-shirts. The machine will be placed in the innovation space.

She next has her eye on a 3-D printer for the school, and more items for the chorus and theatre programs.

“We are looking for consumable items for theatre students, which is the fabric and paint needed for sets,” Schultz said. “For the chorus, we are looking for the (sheet) music to sing.”

Other grants have paid for recording equipment and lighting to create a recording studio at BSMS, and two drones have been acquired for the school.

All schools have a need for more funding to acquire desired items for classroom use, according to Schultz.

“And grants are a good way for teachers to do more for students without taking money out of their own pocket, or having students pay,” she said.

Schultz praised officials in Ohio County Schools for supporting music and the arts as a number of other counties in West Virginia have eliminated these programs due to their cost.

She said she often applies for grants after speaking with students and getting their opinions.

“They get incredibly excited,” Schultz said. “I ask them what would you like to see in your classrooms? That’s where I get my ideas.”

What the students tell her is they want more hands-on opportunities, she said.

“For teachers, the limit to their classroom is their imagination,” Schultz said. “They can think of what classroom should look like, and achieve that through grants.

“I tell my students to shoot for the moon, and even if they miss they may wind up in the stars. As a teacher, this is the way I approach things. I think, this is what I would like to have in my classroom. I may not get it, but maybe I’ll get some of it.”

Schultz is a “teacher ambassador” for DonorsChoose.org, and assists other teachers who may wish to seek funding through the website.

“In terms of grant writing, the sky is the limit,” she said. “It’s simple to do once you do it.”

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