The SPARK Grant Program provides small grants for Mission High teachers and staff to pursue impactful projects both in and out of the classroom. These grants are meant to further enrich the priorities of Mission High School, have a tangible impact on strengthening Mission’s anti-racist teaching goals and further improving equitable access to innovative, college-preparation lessons, projects, and activities. Each year, the Foundation gives out over $15,000 in Grants to fund everything from food supplies for a cooking class that teachers students real-life budget management skills to acting workshops hosted by local theater troupes.
One project we recently funded that really stands out as representing the unique impact of Spark Grants was the “Sad Classroom Corner Makeover”. The grant was awarded to Conor Hallinan, who teaches 11th and 12th grade intermediate and advanced English Language Development. His students have all recently arrived to the United States and are adjusting to life in a new country, while learning a new language. Mr. Hallinan applied for a grant to transform one of the corners in his classroom into a vibrant gallery space to showcase the students work. “I believe that when they see their work honored and celebrated in such a way, they feel a sense of accomplishment which increases engagement. In addition, when they see a clean, organized and nice looking space created just for them, they see themselves reflected there in a positive way, and by extension, know they are loved,” says Mr. Hallinan.
With the grant, Mr. Hallinan was able to purchase large sheets of cork that completely transformed what was a bland classroom corner into an exciting, multipurpose space:
Students were thrilled about the new walls. Some of them said that seeing the wings and their other artwork each time they enter the classroom makes them feel “acknowledged,” “honored,” and “understood.” This project exemplifies the unique impact of the Spark Grant Program, which provides funding for innovative projects that otherwise would not get funded.
Please support the Spark Grant Program to directly fund high-impact projects inside and outside the classrooms of Mission High.