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(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Tropical Elementary School first grade teacher Amy DeCelle has received more than $9,000 in grants from the Broward Education Foundation since she started applying four years ago. Her program “Fun with Words” earned her classroom more than $1,000 to use toward implementing a unique approach to helping young students increase their vocabulary.

Nearly 600 Broward County teachers like Amy gathered at Nova Southeastern University recently for the Broward Education Foundation Teacher Idea Expo. They learned about successful K-12 programs supported by the Broward Education Foundation, and shared experiences about how to take the classroom curriculum beyond what is required. Attendees visited more than 60 exhibit booths showcasing successful grant-supported programs, enjoyed educational workshops and were inspired by a presentation by author and educator Andrew Toffoli.

DeCelle was among the speakers, as she recounted the numerous projects BEF grants have supported in her classroom. Her exuberance was so impressive that Superintendent Robert Runcie vowed to visit her classroom himself.

“It has been my goal throughout my career to positively impact my students and their families,” she said. “As a teacher, it is important to continue to understand the world around us and create an environment that fosters success for learners.”

Foundation grants for 2014 support a wide range of programs for all grades, including funding provided by State Farm Insurance for simulators that help new drivers throughout Broward County see and feel the real consequences of texting while driving, robotics projects at McArthur High School and an alternative fuel for cars science project at Crystal Lakes Middle School.

“The creative range and energy of our teachers never cease to amaze me,” said David Marcus, chair of the Broward Education Foundation Board of Directors. “These grants are a tribute to our teachers’ passion for learning and determination to engage students more enthusiastically in the learning process.”

In an effort to help more teachers gather financial support for their projects, the Foundation has launched a new initiative called “Find It, Fund It, Broward!” an online tool to help teachers who did not receive the grant dollars they needed raise support from the local community. Teachers post classroom projects and needs and use the online portal to market these wishes to their family members, friends and interested individuals and businesses in their surrounding neighborhoods. The supporters may review details about the proposed project, then choose how best to support the request.

About the Broward Education Foundation:

Established in 1983, the nonprofit Broward Education Foundation (BEF) seeks private contributions to supplement the public funding schools receive. The Foundation raises support from the private sector and charitable foundations to provide scholarships to college-or trade-bound high school graduates who have exhausted all other sources of support, grants to support innovative curriculum in the classroom and free school supplies to teachers in Title I low income schools through the Tools for Schools Broward center in Pompano Beach. Each year, the Foundation contributes more than $2 million in scholarships, school supplies, teacher grants and other school support.

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