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Students from Clear Creek Community work on designing a poster that demonstrates STEAM concepts.

Community Builder

Meet our 2020 Community Builder winners!

There are many incredible endeavors happening in support of local students. As part of the 2020 OnPoint Prize campaign, we are pleased to recognize five schools as Community Builder award recipients.

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Congratulations to Grout Elementary School for being selected by community votes as our $5,000 school winner.

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Grout Elementary

District: Portland Public Schools | Program: Grout Grounds Improvement Project

The Grout Grounds Improvement Project will repair the Grout Elementary track and field in SE Portland. In 2019, more than 35 students were injured due to compacted soil, uneven and bare surfaces of the Grout track and field. Where compacted soil issues exist, athletic injury is more likely to occur, putting the facility and its community at risk. The Grout Grounds Improvement Project will work to reduce these injuries and benefit the students of Grout Elementary, where approximately half are considered low income with 51% qualifying for no-charge lunches. The field improvements will also benefit after-school programs administered by SUN school and YMCA childcare, promoting increased usage during evenings and weekends by Southeast Portland neighbors, helping to reduce vandalism on school property, including Kenilworth Park across the street.

Track and field grounds at Grout Elemetary School, shown through a cyclone fence

Congratulations to our $2,000 Community Builder Award Winners.

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Atkinson Elementary

District: Portland Public Schools | Program / Event Name: Gardening and Cultural Cooking Project

Atkinson Elementary’s Gardening and Cultural Cooking Project will provide K-5th grade classes with two garden work parties per year in the school’s community garden. Activities will include weeding, raking, picking produce and harvesting vegetables for use in the school’s cafeteria. Each grade will also have a special one-hour cooking project that includes picking, cleaning, chopping and putting the dish together.

This project fosters community building through collective garden work and through making and eating food together. In addition to making dishes, the students learn what the food means and what the dish signifies from a native of the culture. Through this experiential learning children will have the opportunity to practice hand-eye coordination by working with kid-friendly chopping instruments. Gardening and cooking also helps develop creativity by stimulating the five senses, and scientific studies show that stress levels are reduced when people are in nature.

Atkinson Elementary shows their community garden for their Gardening and Cultural Cooking project

Clear Creek Middle School

District: Gresham-Barlow School District | Program: The Tomorrow Bus

The Tomorrow Bus is a mobile STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom that encourages K-8th grade students to create, collaborate and innovate using hands-on learning materials. The bus will visit every K-8th grade school in the Gresham-Barlow School District several times during the school year. At each visit, technology coaches will use curriculum kits to introduce students to STEAM concepts. The kits are created with curriculum that is grade-appropriate. The youngest students may be introduced to the concept of lift using a simple piece of paper and a wind tunnel. Older students may study aerodynamic concepts using paper airplanes that they create. The kits are inter-changeable so each visit introduces a new concept using hands-on, engaging materials. Each visit the Tomorrow Bus makes inspires students to work together, try, fail, try again, and learn in new ways. STEAM is best learned in a group, and the bus fosters community during classroom visits when the students learn and discover together.

Image of the Tomorrow Bus, a mobile STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) classroom.

Sandy High School

District: Oregon Trail School District | Program: Pioneer Digital Media Sports Broadcasting

Sandy High School’s Digital Media Career Technical Education department, along with Pioneer Digital Media Club, aims to offer live multi-camera broadcasts of sports, news and events from the Sandy High School campus. The Community Builder grant funds would directly provide accessibility for deaf and hard-of-hearing students and community members by providing closed captioning software for broadcasts. This aspect of the Pioneer Digital Media Broadcasting program will develop and graduate students ready to enter the workforce in creative digital media fields or move on to 2- and 4-year colleges to further advance their creative skills. The Sandy High School athletics and journalism departments would also have a greater continuous connection through the Sandy community through these broadcasts, providing those who are local, and those who have moved on to other areas, give them a chance to remain connected to their hometown.

Students in the production room editing film and giving a thumbs up to the camera

Sifton Elementary

District: Evergreen School District | Program: After School Club

The Sifton After School Club is a free program for families designed to provide extra academic support in math and reading, as well as opportunities for students to participate in enrichment activities such as organized sports, drama, cooking and art. The program’s mission is to help students make academic gains in an enthusiastic and engaging way, help families access extracurricular activities, and help students build meaningful relationships with peers and teachers at their school. This program currently runs for the whole school year and meets twice a week for an hour and a half. The first 45 minutes of the program is concentrated tutoring in either math or reading. The students are also provided a healthy snack at the beginning of the tutoring session. The second 45 minutes provides students the opportunity to choose an enrichment class to participate in, which changes every six weeks. Classes include basketball, Zumba, karate, yoga, soccer, art and cooking. This program respects the importance of sports and arts for students, and the facilitators understand there are many obstacles that prevent families from accessing these activities. Currently, 45 students are enrolled in the program and the school plans to expand the program to up to 65 in the coming year.

Sifton Elementary students show off the activities they used to participate in the after school program


About the OnPoint Community Builder Award

The goal of the Community Builder award is to provide funding for schools to complete a project that is enriching to the school, students and faculty. The award provides four schools with a $2,000 prize, while one lucky school, determined by online community votes, will receive a $5,000 prize. In considering which applications will be selected as finalists, the following criteria is considered:

Creativity and Community

Will the project inspire creativity and foster community?

Broad Segment

Will the project reach a broad segment of the school community?

Matching Cost

Can the project be completed with the $2,000 or $5,000 Community Builder award, and if not, what is the plan to raise any outstanding funds needed?


Who Is Eligible?

OnPoint accepts project applications for the Community Builder awards from public, private or charter K-12 schools in the counties of Benton, Clackamas, Columbia, Crook, Deschutes, Jefferson, Lane, Linn, Marion, Multnomah, Polk, Washington and Yamhill counties in Oregon, and Clark and Skamania counties in Washington.

Who can join OnPoint_regional graphic map of approximate charter area
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Learn more about the OnPoint Prize for Excellence in Education.

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