We are proud to announce this year’s 10 Community Builder award finalists. The winning school, selected by you, our online community, will receive the $5,000 grand prize. Additionally, four other schools chosen by the OnPoint Prize Selection Committee will each receive $2,000.
The voting period runs now through May 4. Read about the schools below and vote for the project you think will make the most of the $5,000 award. Don’t miss our announcement of the Community Builder award winners and the eight finalists for the Educator of the Year on May 9!
Read about our finalists and their amazing school projects:
Buckman Arts Focus Elementary: Multicultural Family Art Nights.
Buckman Arts Focus Elementary is located in Northeast Portland and has a unique focus on the arts. The school is proposing a project to host multicultural family art nights, where art from different cultures will be shared in alignment with heritage months and examples will be brought in from a local organization for students and their families to engage with. This program will support Buckman’s focus on the arts and offer space for families to share their unique backgrounds with the school and each other, increasing a sense of belonging among BIPOC students. Some events will also offer art projects that the students can do during the event. The program is inspired by the success of the school’s Loteria night hosted earlier this school year, which brought in over 200 people and connected families over food and shared experiences.
Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary: Supplemental Food Relief/Dispensa de Alimentos Program.
Buena Vista Spanish Immersion Elementary School in Eugene, Oregon, understands that food insecurity hinders student success in school. To address this issue, the school’s Parent Organization runs a food pantry program for its students and their families. With the OnPoint Community Builder Grant, the program would expand to provide culturally relevant, supplemental food to a larger number of students and families. The program also includes emergency grocery store gift cards, a culturally specific food drive, and sharing traditional recipes to promote cultural fluency. The school aims to reach families at an accessible bilingual location where they can already find resources and family support without worrying about additional transportation, translation, and or paperwork/logistics.
Desert Sky Montessori: Outdoor Book Nooks.
Desert Sky Montessori’s new campus in Bend, Oregon, needs a standalone library and outdoor gathering spaces, which is where the Outdoor Book Nooks project comes in. The project aims to provide six child-sized reading nooks, each with waterproof storage areas for pillows, blankets, and mats, and mini libraries stocked with a range of books for grades K-6. These nooks will be scattered throughout the schoolyard. The OnPoint Community Builder Grant will help create these spaces for students to gather and hang out with friends, or to simply serve as a quiet space for reading with a snack. The project aligns with the Montessori philosophy of education without walls and will provide a unique and engaging learning environment for students.
Gaffney Lane Elementary School: New Furniture-New Learning.
Gaffney Lane Elementary School in Oregon City is a Title 1 school that is still working to transition back from the COVID-19 pandemic. The school’s current furniture does not support collaborative learning, which is a priority for the school. The school aims to provide students with the flexibility to stand and work, move their desks into groups or sit with a partner, or sit alone on more updated furniture. The population of students at Gaffney Lane who require additional or alternative supplies to be successful is growing. The OnPoint Community Builder Grant would help offer these students options so they don’t feel so different from their classmates. The school plans on purchasing as much furniture as it can over time to meet the needs of its various learners.
Helen Baller Elementary: Foundations to Reading—Reaching Our Struggling Learners.
Helen Baller Elementary in Camas, Washington, is dedicated to implementing the Science of Reading into its curriculum to improve student learning. The district has invested in Language Essentials for Teachers of Reading and Spelling (LETRS) training manuals, and the school is currently undergoing extensive training for K-5 teachers. However, to reach even more students, the school needs toolkits for teachers to use in small group settings. OnPoint’s funding would help provide 5-6 HD Word Kits for effective literacy instruction in each classroom. The kits include magnetic letter and color tiles, SyllaBoards, and other components necessary to complete all 33 units of HD Word. With these kits, students learn concepts faster and retain them better through multisensory phonics instruction.
The Marylhurst School: Relaxation Room & Calming Center.
The Marylhurst School in Oregon City is proposing the creation of a Relaxation Room & Calming Center to support its students’ mental health and well-being. The proposal cites statistics from the Center for Disease Control indicating that nearly 8 million children between the ages of 3 through 17 suffered from anxiety and/or depression in 2019, while an additional 11 million children in the same age group were diagnosed with ADHD and/or behavioral issues. The school’s proposed Relaxation Room & Calming Center would be a safe space for students to take time to calm down, refocus, and let go of frustration. It would be equipped with various sensory materials to help students restore calm, including weighted blankets, plush bean bags, watercolor materials, plants, resistance bands, noise-canceling headphones, books, and puzzles.
Marysville Elementary School: Accessible Laundry.
Marysville Elementary School in Southeast Portland is proposing a project to install washing machines and dryers in the school to improve the hygiene and well-being of students, teachers, and staff members. The project aims to provide easy access to laundry for low-income students who are financially struggling.
McKenzie School District: Sports and Fun After Fires.
The McKenzie School District’s proposal aims to upgrade sporting equipment for a school impacted by the 2020 wildfires. The purpose is to support outdoor activities and ADA access.
Mt Angel Middle School: Family Resource Room.
In Mount Angel Middle School’s “family resource room,” students can find clothes, shoes, blankets, pillows, and food boxes. The objective is to have all students have the basics to be able to learn without being hungry or cold. With OnPoint’s Community Builder Grant, the school could offer toiletries, and gas cards to parents looking for jobs, and possibly even assist families whose water or electricity is shut off. The proposal states that this grant would help the school “teach parents and students how to fish” with their limited resources.
Rose City Park: Mid-Autumn Moon Festival.
The Mid-Autumn Moon Festival is a celebration put on by Rose City Park Elementary School that promotes diversity, equity, and inclusion in several ways. This festival allows Vietnamese communities in Portland to recreate their cultural traditions and pass them down to future generations. Additionally, it encourages local families to participate in the school’s activities and advocate for their students. Finally, the event is focused on bringing the community together to celebrate the importance of children and family. By supporting the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival, the public can help preserve cultural traditions and promote inclusivity within the community.
Show your support and vote.
This year, we will donate $193,000 to outstanding schools and educators who contribute to positive change in the places we call home through our annual OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education.
We hope you will join us in honoring those making an impact in our community. By casting your vote today, you can help show appreciation for our education community as they continue striving to reach our children and improve our community.