PHARR – PSJA ISD educators were surprised by members of the PSJA Education Foundation as recipients of their 2017 Teacher Mini Grants. The Foundation distributed $41,890 to 20 PSJA campuses to fund innovative classroom projects during their annual prize patrol Dec. 14-15.

Founded in 2013, the PSJA Education Foundation is an independent non-profit organization operating exclusively for the benefit of PSJA ISD faculty and students. Each year, the Foundation awards competitive teacher grants, as well as, scholarships to district students to help fund their college tuition, and library grants to support literacy initiatives district wide.

Over 140 applications were received this year and 46 grants, ranging from $500 to $1,000 were awarded to teachers.

These opportunities are possible thanks to sponsorships, donations and payroll deduction from members of the community, local businesses and district staff.

According to Joel Gonzalez, PSJA Education Foundation President, close to $225,000 were raised during the Foundation’s annual fundraiser earlier this year, helping increase the number of Mini Grants awarded by $12,000.

“We are very proud to give this money to our teachers,” Gonzalez said. “We want to thank our teachers and everybody else in our community who donates because we would not be able to do it without you.”

For Minette Dueñas, teacher at PSJA T. Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School, having the support of this organization lifts her spirits. Her campus received a $1,000 grant to fund an Egyptian-themed camp to provide students with hands-on activities that give insight into the everyday life of this ancient civilization.

“The fact that we have an organization strictly devoted to PSJA, and to giving back to our students and teachers is magnificent,” Dueñas said.