McMurray teacher receives a grant with roots on Vashon

The Washington Schools Foundation — founded by former Islander and avid volunteer Gene Lipitz — has issued one of its first-ever grants to a Vashon teacher.

Patty Gregorich, who teaches sixth grade humanities at Mc, was recently awarded a little more than $4,000 to spend time over the summer weaving reading and writing lessons into her humanities curriculum. She’ll use recently purchased reading curriculum, she said, making it more relevant to subjects studied in her classroom.

Gregorich said she’s wanted to work with her curriculum for some time, but there simply isn’t time during the school year.

“That’s what the foundation has given me, is time” she said.

The foundation also awarded about $8,000 to three high school English teachers in Anacortes who will work together on a project.

Liptiz, who now lives in Seattle and is still involved with the Island’s Rotary, said he founded the Washington Schools Foundation while serving on the Vashon school board, but it was never active. He recently revived the nonprofit to fund something meaningful to him: professional development among teachers. Funding for the first grants, offered to Vashon and Anacortes teachers as a pilot, came from Lipitz himself as well as a large donation from the Tulalip tribe.

Liptiz said the grant applications considered by the committee were full of innovative ideas from teachers who wished to apply the latest research on learning in their classrooms and share their findings with colleagues. If the foundation’s first grantees are successful, he said, he’ll aggressively fundraise to get grants to more teachers each year.

“I’m looking to see if the program is something that does more than just employ three, 10, 100, 500 teachers a bit more, but actually creates an effect that raises the energy and the effectiveness of our teaching institutions statewide,” he said.


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