GRPS FOUNDATION — Special Initiative

Teresa Weatherall Neal Principal’s Discretionary Fund

Teresa Weatherall Neal Principal’s Discretionary Fund

The Teresa Weatherall Neal Principal’s Discretionary Fund (TWNPDF) is a designated fund that allows principals to determine what needs can be remedied quickly such as providing students with eyeglasses, fleece jackets, boots and mittens. It is a flexible fund in which principals can request up to $2,000 per school to support and enhance the educational experience of our young scholars. 

Since the 2020 school year, through the generosity of our donors, the Foundation has been able to award approximately $133,000 to individual schools for items ranging from an educational field trip to the zoo and end of school year celebrations. Funding through the TWNPDF was also used to fill book vending machines that reward good student behavior, and for the creation of multicultural classroom libraries to encourage reading and promote cultural awareness.

Examples of Eligible Emergency Basic Needs Expenses:

  • Mittens, Snow Pants, Boots, Coats, Socks, Other Warm Clothing
  • Class Field Trips
  • Cap & Gown for specific students
  • Haircuts
  • Formal Dance Expenses, ie decor
  • One off Specific Projects

Examples of Ineligible Principal’s Fund Request:

  • PBIS, including parties for 2022/2023 – covered under ESSER
  • T-shirts unless specific need
  • General Snacks
  • Water Bottles
  • Items that can be covered by other agencies ie, mortgage/rent, electric/gas bill, healthcare

Examples of Impact

Girls on the Run

Girls on the Run has fun, evidence-based programs that inspire girl empowerment by building confidence, kindness, and decision-making skills. This was the first year we offered the program. It centered on 4th grade with plans to expand to grades 3-5 next year. By having the Teresa Weatherall Neal Principal’s Discretionary Fund supplement the cost for our girls, we were able to fill the team. Eight girls participated in a 14-week program with a culminating 5k run. Sherwood staff volunteered at the 5k as running buddies. The girls were also the only team chosen to lead warmups for over 2,000 runners at the event.

5th-Grade Promotion

On June 3, 2022, Palmer Elementary hosted our 5th-grade promotion ceremony for our scholars and their guests. This event is always bittersweet as we say goodbye to our 5th graders and wish them the best as they move on to middle school. Thanks to the thoughtful grant from our GRPS Foundation partners, we were able to purchase sweatshirts for our scholars and cupcakes for them and their guests. On the back, the sweatshirts say “Always a Little Redhawk”. Thank you for helping make this day even more special and memorable! We appreciate your continued support!

Basketball Banquet

Students in grades 3-5 participated in the GRPS-sponsored youth basketball program. The program was coached by three staff members (a teacher, a youth advocate, and a West Michigan janitorial worker) and coordinated by Sherwood’s administrative assistant. The high level of student participation and staff involvement created an expectation for positive behavior and classroom completion of work for teammates. The team members had pride in being a part of the team and created a climate of increased awareness of their behaviors and academics. The Teresa Weatherall Neal Principal’s Discretionary Fund allowed for the teams to have an end-of-the-season banquet on a Friday evening. Families and players attended, with dinner served, coaches and the coordinator giving speeches, and student recognition and awards distributed.

Cotton Candy at
John Ball Zoo

On May 20, 2022, all kindergarten, 1st, and 2nd-grade scholars at Palmer Elementary went on a field trip to John Ball Zoo. To celebrate the end of the school year and all of the achievements and memories we accomplished, we purchased a bag of cotton candy for all to enjoy as part of this beautiful experience at the zoo. Thank you, GRPS Foundation, for funding this delicious treat for our youngest scholars at Palmer Elementary School.

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