Foundation grants improve the experiences for teachers and students alike


FHC is no stranger to a variety of opportunities for students to learn and express themselves. But some groups have made sure that students and teachers are given the highest possible quality of items to enhance the learning experience. This is why the Forest Hills Foundation is one of the most influential pieces to the puzzle of FHC. 

Many teachers throughout FHC have had to make do with the materials given by the school. Although sometimes the resources can become lackluster, the Forest Hills Foundation helps by donating money to help pay for certain things to help both the teachers and students of FHC out.      

The Forest Hills Foundation is a community organization that raises money for the Forest Hills public schools giving out grants to pay for things that the school budget might not be able to pay for. 

Jon Fisher, an English teacher and yearbook advisor, has received many grants throughout the years to help him with equipment for the yearbook. 

“I worked in a different district for the first few years of my teaching career,” Fisher said. “It was in a much lower socioeconomic area, and you had to struggle with what you had resource-wise.” 

However, moving to the Forest Hills school district has posed a vast difference in resources available to teachers. 

“In this district, If I come up with an idea that I think will make my classes an overall better experience for my students,” Fisher said, “then I can ask the foundation and they’ll review it and if they decide that it’s beneficial, then they’ll give us the funding for it.” 

Although Fisher has received many items through grants over his time at FHC, this year to help out with the yearbook he received a new telescopic lens for a camera. This camera helps the yearbook crew get consistent, good-quality photos during sporting events. 

“We have lenses, but we didn’t have any that were 600 millimeters, which are the big ones you see on the side of sports fields,” Fisher said. “[I checked] with the foundation, and to my surprise and joy, they funded it for me. So, they bought a new lens.”

The new equipment is not only beneficial to the teachers, but it also helps out students that are looking to sprout a career in photography get some more experience. Fisher loves that these students have access to professional tools to practice and improve. 

“That lens has allowed [my students] to feel more like a professional, because [they have] more professional grade equipment,” Fisher said. “So I think in numerous ways, it has benefited the students who have been able to access it.”

So I think in numerous ways, it has benefited the students who have been able to access it.

— Jon Fisher

Fisher has loved what the foundation has done and provided for the teachers and students of Forest Hills. And more specifically, what they have provided his classes with over the years. 

However, the yearbook isn’t the only department that has received grants for items, over in the art department there has been some key funding for new displays for the students.

Grace Stynes is one of the art teachers and teaches a variety of classes. As usual with teachers, her experience with the grants has allowed for more equipment available to students. For Stynes, however, she was able to receive new gallery walls. 

“This year, I wrote a grant for gallery walls that move,” Stynes said. “So we can have an art show that is bigger and better than last year, so even more students [can] have their work on display.”  

The new Gallery walls will help more people be able to see a wider selection of works from around FHC, and having them be moveable allows them to be set up in more central areas of the school.  

“It’s more for the students,” Stynes said. “Even if you’re level one in Drawing and Painting, your artwork can still be on display along with the AP students.”

Although she applies for grants just about every year, Stynes is very happy with the new equipment that she has received.

But art isn’t the only department that receives grants. The science department also has received a recent grant. 

Kristy Butler is a science teacher for just about every subject of science there is out there. And, she has received a couple grants over her time as a teacher. The equipment she receives is all to help science students have physical models. 

“We got a grant to get models of the brain and the eye because there’s an entire unit of sensation and perception,” Butler said. “[Some of the curriculum] is about the anatomy of the brain and the anatomy of the eyes.”

Having physical models not only helps the students understand the curriculum, but it also helps the teachers explain the lessons to the students. All around, the grants have improved life in the classroom. 

“I think that it’s something that’s really engaging for the kids and they can have some good discussions about it,” Butler said. “And it just helps their brains learn in another way when there’s something physically to hold on to.”

The Forest Hills Foundation has allowed the expansion of the school’s material for education and experience enhancement throughout the district.  

“The foundation is so important because that’s when we want extra things to have our students interact with,” Butler said. “So the foundation writing those grants really helps support innovation and extra support for our students.”