UNthink My School Grant

HCS School Wins Coveted $20,000 National Grant

Grant provides art therapy to help students cope with loss


April 5th 2016

We’re delighted to announce that the Wahl Foundation, in partnership with the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP), has awarded one $20,000 grant and 10 $2,000 grants to 11 U.S. schools as part of the UNthinkMy School grant program. The mission of the grants: To reward elementary schools that approached a challenge with a creative solution. They serve to reinforce themes in Erik Wahl’s book, UNThink: Rediscover Your Creative Genius.

Rocky Ridge Elementary School in Hoover, Ala., received the top grant award of $20,000 help implement a curriculum called Project Lead The Way (PLTW), a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) program for grades K-12. The PLTW program for students in grades K-5 – PLTW Launch – introduces students to computer science, engineering, and biomedical science concepts, while helping them develop problem solving, critical and creative thinking, collaboration and communication skills.

Rocky Ridge is a Title 1 school in an economically disadvantaged area. The grant addresses 21st-century challenges that Hoover—and nearly every other community—will face. “Our job as educators is to prepare the students for future employment. The majority of jobs our current students will have do not even exist today. We must prepare our students to be problem solvers that can devise creative solutions and new ideas,” wrote the school’s assistant principal, Dr. Kara Chism, in the application, adding that the grant will, “awaken our children’s curiosity, capture the obstacles that limit their futures and give every child the opportunity to unleash the art of critical thinking.”

The schools receiving a $2,000 grant are:

  • Al Iman School, Raleigh, NC, for a trauma program.
  • East Point Elementary, El Paso, TX, for a “Golden Rule” civility and morale program.
  • Hidden Oaks Elementary School, Lake Worth, FL, for a hands-on lab.
  • Hillman Elementary School, Hillman, MI, to enhance a TV production studio.
  • Lincoln Elementary School, Huntington, IN, for an after-school arts program.
  • McMillan Elementary, Mexico, MO, for a summer book program.
  • Milan Middle School, Milan, MI, for a sensory garden.
  • Pocomoke Elementary School, Pocomoke City, MD, for a global learning lab.
  • St. Monica Catholic School, Dallas, TX, for STEM learning programs.
  • White Deer Elementary, New Columbia, PA, to enhance the resource room.

“We at the Wahl Foundation are honored to partner with Rocky Ridge and all the other grant winners as they engage their students in lifelong learning,” said the Wahl Foundation Executive Director Tasha Wahl. “Reading the hundreds of grant applications we received, we were filled with gratitude and hope for the future of education.”