By Jason Bramwell
Tipps Elementary School in Houston is expected to purchase four new document cameras this week for classroom use as a result of a $1,052 grant it received on April 23 from the Houston CPA Society's CPAs Helping Schools program.
"It feels good because it's a small way for us to give back to our local schools," Sandra Sena, co-chair of CPAs Helping Schools, told AccountingWEB.
Dedicated to improving the quality and scope of education for students in prekindergarten through twelfth grade, CPAs Helping Schools offers the 8,000 members of the Houston CPA Society (a chapter of the Texas Society of CPAs) the opportunity to become actively involved in support of their local schools. Members are asked to donate to the fund every year when they renew their dues.
Since 2002 when its formal grant process was established, CPAs Helping Schools has provided more than $388,000 to fund approximately 240 requests in 27 or more local school districts, according to the Houston CPA Society.
For the past five years, Tipps' teachers have shared two document cameras that need to be checked out through the school's technology liaison. The cameras are used for sharing books that are in limited supply, showcasing student work in the classroom, and showing parents in real time how students work out a particular reading or math strategy, according to Tipps math instructional specialist Dorothy Windham, who wrote the grant proposal to CPAs Helping Schools.
Tipps has 1,330 students and 120 staff members, so there was a need among teachers for additional document cameras at the school, she says.
"They are in constant use every day, and because we have such a large staff, some teachers have actually purchased their own personal document cameras – at a cost of between $100 and $200 – for daily use," Windham told AccountingWEB. "We are very grateful for the support of the Houston CPA Society and for their generosity toward our need. We can't say 'thank you' enough."
Tipps' Grant Proposal
Windham received the CPAs Helping Schools grant application earlier this school year from Tipps principal Pam Redd. In her proposal, which was submitted in January to meet the 2012-13 grant application deadline, Windham requested $4,991 to purchase 19 Lumens DC120 Ladibug document cameras – the model used throughout the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District in Houston.
According to the Houston CPA Society, the maximum grant amount one campus can receive per school year for educational programs is $5,000. CPAs Helping Schools committee members reviewed 23 applications in January and selected 14 programs from four local school districts and two 501(c)3 organizations to receive full or partial funding.
"In an ongoing effort to provide educational benefit to the greatest number of students through support of multiple programs, CPAs Helping Schools looks at the minimum amount that will help a school, with the option to provide additional funding in the future," the Houston CPA Society stated in an email sent to AccountingWEB.
Several factors accounted for CPAs Helping Schools selecting Tipps' application for partial funding.
- Reuse of equipment for additional classrooms and in future years = large student benefit
- More than 80 percent of students are on a free/reduced lunch program
- Program is ongoing after five years
- Well-written request that covered all listed questions
"Getting the [document] cameras into classrooms will allow Tipps to keep up with population growth even when funding is decreasing each year," the Houston CPA Society states. "Cameras enable the staff of nearly 120 teachers to better demonstrate strategies for reading, math, and science. This technology allows teachers to showcase examples of student work, including various learners' ways of solving problems, which can motivate reluctant learners to show effort."
Windham found out in mid-February that Tipps would be awarded a partial grant of $1,052 to purchase the additional document cameras.
"We were elated and overjoyed to get some help with this project," she says. "We do not have a very active PTO like most schools, so it was fantastic to get some outside help in purchasing some much-needed equipment."