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Chandler Education Foundation, community funds 127 CUSD grants

Teaching is a calling and every day in Chandler Unified School District (CUSD) teachers find ways to provide additional engaging, hands-on learning opportunities for our students. In fact, CUSD educators are so dedicated to their craft that sometimes they pay for classroom items right out of their own pocket. However, thanks to the 2022 Cash for Classrooms campaign hosted by Chandler Education Foundation, 127 educators received enrichment grants to supplement their classroom campaigns. Many CUSD educators use the grant money to help fund additional educational experiences for their students. The Foundation has been a non-profit supporter of CUSD for more than 36 years. 

The number of grants funded each year depends on the amount of money contributed by the community during the August campaign. This year, $139,700 was raised. 

When grants are approved, Chandler Education Foundation surprises the recipient with a visit from the “Woo Hoo Patrol, ” which is a group of CUSD community members who volunteer time to celebrate grant awards. Unbeknownst to the recipient, the site administrator and Chandler Education Foundation plan the patrol visit. When the big day arrives, the group surprises the teacher and students with a celebratory appearance in the recipient’s classroom. Many CUSD educators have said the “Woo Hoo Patrol” visit is very memorable and meaningful. 

“Chandler Education Foundation believes every student deserves opportunities and experiences to enrich learning, regardless of a school’s PTO or booster program’s ability to provide those ‘extras’ CUSD families have come to count on. Our community has proven the importance of investing in education through countless years of generous giving. These grants aid countless educators in their efforts to make classroom experiences hands-on, innovative, and captivating,” Chandler Education Foundation Events and Marketing Coordinator Melissa Poure said.

Why Cash for Classrooms makes a difference 

When writing grant applications, applicants must clearly state their projects, what materials they need, and how the lesson applies to state standards. 

Third grade Tarwater Elementary teacher Nikole Bohn applied for a Foundation grant to fund a project called “Author’s Tea,” a well-known project at Tarwater which aims to benefit the entire third-grade department. The hands-on opportunity plans to share the author’s writing process with students by giving them the opportunity to write, illustrate, and publish their own hardcover book, purchased from Bare Books Publishing Company. 

A teacher is smiling with a student who is holding up his book from project Author's Tea“Getting this grant allows our third-grade students to participate in a tradition that our students and families love and enjoy. Getting support from our community helps provide real life writing experience for our students. Throughout the year our students practice the entire writing process, but with our Author’s Tea project students can see a final project. Students have a sense of self-accomplishment they may not have felt before with any other project.  Parents also love seeing their work since it is a big writing project, and it is a piece they can keep and treasure. Without the help of Chandler Education Foundation, this project would be much more limited with what we do,” she said. 

Bohn has been teaching third grade at Tarwater for 10 years. 

Eighth-grade Willis Junior High School science teacher Zach Ringo-Kasotakis pitched his project called “Exploring the Magic of Chemistry.” In his application, he said “due to chemical interactions beginning on a microscopic level, most chemistry is taught exclusively through expository reading. This grant will allow me to equip my entire 8th grade science class with enough materials that they can each experience the magic of chemistry and chemical reactions up close with their own hands.” Materials that he needed included Potassium Iodide, a Yellow and Blue Switcheroo Chemical Kit, Litmus Red and Blue Test Papers, and more. 

He had all the items he needed in an online cart to buy them with his own money the day administrators surprised him with the good news.  

"This grant represents peace of mind in my classroom. It affords my students the opportunity to be uninhibited in their exploration of science. They can make a mess and we now have the material resources to try again," Ringo-Kasotakis said. 

Look for additional opportunities to support CUSD educators and students with the Foundation like January’s car raffle which funds IMPACT scholarships for eligible graduating CUSD seniors. For more information on Chandler Education Foundation, visit

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