Making an Impact - A Short Story

It’s the last day of another school year. All of the kids are on their way to start their summer vacation. In the now empty, quiet classroom, Mrs. Nelson sits back to reflect on the year. This year more than ever, the students seemed disconnected. The grades were on par with previous years, but she couldn’t help but think that the summer days would fade the lessons from their memories the way a shallow dye fades from fabric in the summer sun. “Did I reach any of my kids this year? Did any of my kids truly discover the value of learning?” She couldn’t help but think, “Is there a better way to reach them?”.

The first couple of weeks during the summer break started the same for Mrs. Nelson. She’d wake up, make her way to the kitchen for morning coffee and find her cozy spot in the sunroom. The sun warmed her and brought her comfort. But it didn’t take long for the sun to remind her “...a shallow dye fading in the summer sun.”

She began to think deeply about the problem. The thinking lead to questions that she could not answer. These questions lead to research. The research led to more questions, and so the cycle continued until finally, Mrs Nelson fund a solution; a program called Classroom Moments. This program turns lessons into group-based learning experiences that stick. Some lessons are gamified, some lessons are converted to stories by students and some lessons are led by subject matter experts from the community. After reading the positive reviews, Mrs Nelson exclaimed “This is perfect!”. As she scrolled down the program’s website, she noticed the price. $500 for a classroom set.

Mrs Nelson was deflated. She had the answer at hand, and it was well worth $500, but there was no way she could afford the program. And the budget for the school year was already set. It seemed like there was no way forward. Then, sitting up like a bolt, Mrs Nelson remembered one of the speakers at convocation last year. “Megan Schneider?” she thought. “No, wait...she spelled it M-a-e-g-a-n. Anyway, Maegan spoke about the Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation’s grant program. Reflecting on Maegan’s reciting of the mission of the Foundation, Mrs Nelson thought to herself, “I think Classroom Moments would be a perfect fit.”

Mrs Nelson visited the Foundation website and clicked on the Grant Application link. She was relieved to see that she had the rest of the summer break to complete the grant application. Later that afternoon, Mrs. Nelson shared her journey with her neighbor and PTO member, Mr. Trent. When Mrs. Nelson described the program’s requirement of up to three sessions where subject matter experts come into the classroom to lead discussions, Mr Trent committed to finding the volunteers. “I found a community partner!” exclaimed Mrs Nelson. “I’m including this in my grant application.”

Towards the end of the summer break, Mrs. Nelson finalized and submitted her grant application. It was approved by the administration and sent on its way through the grading process. The first few weeks of school seemed to crawl by as she waited for Surprise Patrol. She thought, “When the Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation marched down the hallways, beating drums and, for some reason, honking duck callers, would they stop at my door with a check for $500? Could today be the beginning of something new for my students?”

The outcome of this story depends on you. Each year, the Whitehouse ISD Education Foundation receives quality grants that go unfunded due to lack of available funds. Become a donor and help support Whitehouse ISD employees in their efforts to make an education at Whitehouse ISD second to none!

James Wansley
2019-20 Board President
WISD Class of 1993