Robots for coding, aquaponics, virtual field trips, bus benches, gardens and a grocery store are just some of the exciting opportunities and lessons being funded through the Comal Education Foundation (CEF) this school year.
The CEF awarded a total of $40,300 in school excellence grants, new teacher awards and an employee giving campaign in November after receiving 52 grant applications from teachers throughout the district. The 15 applicants who received this year’s funding were surprised on their campuses by the CEF grant patrol with teachers, students and staff on hand to celebrate.
“It’s the highlight of the year to surprise each recipient during our Prize Patrol every November,” says Chris Narendorf, president of the CEF board of directors. “Throughout the year the CEF has an opportunity to witness firsthand some of the grants in action; whether it be a field trip to a performing arts event, a robotics program designed to align with STEM goals of the district or a meditative safe space for students, each grant sponsored by the CEF exhibits qualities that enrich, expand and excel.”
Teachers from across the Comal Independent School District have been applying for these grants to help fund their ideas for 19 years. A volunteer organization, the CEF raises funds through a variety of programs and fundraising events in order to help support all Comal ISD campuses.
This year, the CEF had four major partners who helped sponsor grants. They include SAMCO Capital Markets, O’Connell Robertson, Pfluger Architects and Sullivan Commercial Realty.
Grants were awarded to the following schools and teachers: Rachel Pruett Grubbs at Clear Spring Elementary, Stephanie Bogue at Danville Middle, Patrick Mondragon at DMS, Sandra Plumb at Freiheit Elementary, Luz Antolinez at Memorial Early College High, Jennifer Frey at MECHS, Natalie Black at MECHS, Lisa Johnson at Mountain Valley Middle, Susan Haynes at Oak Creek Elementary, Jennifer Klar at Rahe Bulverde Elementary, Tracie Hammond at Rebecca Creek Elementary, Kelsey Buxkemper at RCES, Stephanie Arnold at Specht Elementary and Shari Spangrud at Mountain Valley Elementary.
The CEF also awarded $150 to the following new teachers: Patrick Mondragon, Ashley Ikels, Elizabeth Znfagna-Ratliff, Meghan Law, Sarah Grove, Angela Wilson, Heather Patterson, Melanie Freund, Tonya Waller, Landrey Boatright, Sydney Stagg and Yesinia Aguilar.
In its first Employee Giving Campaign, the CEF offered an incentive of $5,000 to the Comal ISD campus with the highest percentage of participants donating. Danville Middle and Canyon Middle tied, and each received $2,500.
-The Comal Education Foundation Prize Patrol surprised teacher Shari Spangrud and her class at Mountain Valley Elementary with a check for her "Empowering Innovative Learners" grant application.
-Gifted and talented teacher Jennifer Klar and her class was surprised when the Comal Education Foundation Prize Patrol stopped by Rahe Bulverde Elementary to award her grant application for "Hooked on Aquaponics."
-Two teachers at Rebecca Creek Elementary were surprised by the Comal Education Foundation Prize Patrol. Pictured is Teacher Kelsey Buxkemper with her class. Buxkemper's grant application, "Striving in Second with Science and Math" was awarded funding, while P.E. Coach Tracie Hammond's application "Healthy Kids have Good Character" was also funded.