Fall Women's Giving Circle Supports Leadership and STEM

Great things really do happen when caring women gather! Septenmber 25 over 150 women participated in the fall 2018 gathering of the Olathe Public Schools Foundation’s Women’s Giving Circle. The women heard presentations for three proposed grants to address a challenge or problem impacting student achievement.


Ridgeview Elementary SchoolMembers of the Women’s Giving Circle voted to award Ridgeview Elementary a $10,000 grant to help implement the Leader in Me program. The Leader in Me program is a 4-year program that empowers students with the skills they will need in the 21st century. The program is based on the premise that every child has unique strengths and abilities to become leaders. This program explicitly teaches students the 7 Habits of Happy Kids and embeds these habits into the culture of the school.


“We believe that this program will help us reach our students in so many ways - from social, emotional and character development to personal management and relationship skills,” said Ridgeview Elementary Principal Kim Thorup.


Staff will be trained in how to develop leadership skills and to help the students evolve into leaders. Implementing this program is expected to benefit students in many ways including increasing their ability to set goals and see them through, and in emotional regulation, self-efficacy, self-management and social awareness.  These benefits are expected to have a far-reaching impact, even resulting in improved test scores.


Ridgeview Elementary is a Title 1 school with a high number of English Language Learners and a poverty rate of 80%.


Members were so excited by the other proposals, that the Women’s Giving Circle committee decided to provide a seed funding grant for each of the additional two proposals. Westview Elementary teacher John McCormick received $5,000 towards his program to expose students to computer science early and to encourage interest in computer technology. Oregon Trail Middle School teacher Jessica Sadler received $5,000 to revitalize learning within the classroom with the addition of hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) manipulatives and tools.


The Women’s Giving Circle meets twice a year to hear three solutions to overcome an obstacle to learning. Spring proposals address student innovation and fall proposals address student need. Each member donates $100, which directly funds the gathering’s winning grant.


The Women’s Giving Circle has awarded $125,000 in grants to Olathe classrooms since Spring 2014. The Olathe Women’s Giving Circle will meet again in the spring to award a $15,000 innovation grant. Visit www.olathepublicschoolsfoundation.org or call 913-780-8222 to learn more.