FAQs

Education Foundation FAQs (16)

What is the Dripping Springs Education Foundation (DSEF)?

Founded in 1992, the Dripping Springs Education Foundation raises private-sector funds to support academic excellence at every school in our district. Through our mission we strive to bridge the funding gap between the District’s state-allocated budget and the actual budget required to provide the high-performance education we have come to expect from DSISD.

The Foundation raises funds through the annual Bridge Builders Capital Campaign, Schoolhouse Scramble Golf Tournament and Denim & Diamonds Gala.   We rely exclusively upon financial contributions from DSISD families, friends and businesses to fulfill this mission. 

Why does the community have a Foundation?

At a time when the state is reducing support for our schools, our community is redoubling its efforts to maintain teacher positions and programs that are being cut in other districts.

The Texas State Constitution requires only an adequate education for our children.  In DSISD merely adequate is not acceptable – We strive for excellence within all our schools, but ongoing state budget cuts are putting our high-performance standards at risk.  DSEF will grant money to DSISD through the Capital Campaign Fund to Bridge the Gap, Innovative Teaching Grants and Student Leadership Grants.

In Dripping Springs, we believe that our children deserve more than the adequate education described by the State of Texas. 

 

Source:  Texas State Constitution

The state of Texas does NOT require at any level Nurses, Librarians, Counselors, or Campus Technology Coordinators. At the elementary level, Texas does not require Gifted and Talented teachers, specials teachers, Compact/Advanced Math, Advanced Language Arts, and has no size limit on 5th grade classes. At the middle school level, Texas does not require Gifted and Talented teachers, electives teachers, Advanced Math, Advanced Language Arts, class size limits, any sports program, foreign language, band, choir, orchestra, drama, journalism, technology. In high school, Texas does not require Gifted and Talented courses, electives teachers, any Advanced Placement course, any Pre-Advanced Placement course, class size limits, any sports program, advanced core subject electives such as Calculus, Statistics, Biology II, Chemistry II, any standard elective such as debate, journalism, creative writing, countless fine arts and technology electives, choice of foreign language electives and the choice to take a foreign language for more than three years.

What is the difference between the Foundation and the PTA?

The Foundation raises private-sector funds to support academic goals and achievement at every school in our district.  Specific application of the funds “granted” by the Foundation to DSISD is at the discretion of the District leadership.

The Parent-Teacher Association (PTA) plays a key role in raising money for campus-specific enhancements, and providing parent volunteers in each of the district’s five schools to help teachers with an array of day-to-day classroom needs.

DSEF and the PTA work in tandem to provide complimentary resources that benefit each school in our district.

How is the Foundation managed?

The Foundation is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization that is managed by a volunteer board of directors from the community, representing a broad spectrum of talent from parents to business leaders and community-members at large.  As an independent 501(c)3 non-profit, the Foundation provides accountability to its donors for the dollars raised.

What does DSEF do to raise money?

DSEF raises private-sector funds to support academic goals and achievement at every school in our district.  The Foundation raises funds through the annual Bridge Builders Capital Campaign, Schoolhouse Scramble Golf Tournament and Denim & Diamonds Gala.

 

Funding is distributed annually through three DSEF grant programs.  Innovative Teacher Grants fund teacher generated ideas that do not have an obvious funding source through the District. Student Leadership Grants fund projects that are designed by students with the support of a mentor teacher. The DSISD Grant helps fund programs that prepare our children for the demands of a modern world, such as the District’s 21st Century Learning Initiatives.

How are donations to DSEF spent?

Funding is distributed annually through three DSEF grant programs.  Innovative Teacher Grants fund teacher generated ideas that do not have an obvious funding source through the District. Student Leadership Grants fund projects that are designed by students with the support of a mentor teacher. The DSISD Grant helps fund programs that prepare our children for the demands of a modern world, such as the District’s 21st Century Learning Initiatives.

The school district’s leadership, in consultation with DSEF, determines specifically how the funds are spent.

What does a DSISD education cost? How are the budget cuts affecting the quality of education in the District?

The facts are important!  The annual cost of a DS education per student is $7,653.

Average state funding per student/per year is $1,958 (2011/2012 AEIS Report).  The majority of funding for our schools comes from local tax revenue.  Our population is increasing year over year, while our state funding per student is not.

Projections indicate a pattern of continued enrollment increases.  

Private funds donated to the Foundation stay in the District for education.

How do bond revenues affect the school district budget? Are they subject to the Robin Hood mandate?

Bond revenues pay for infrastructure development, expansion and improvements, such as buildings and busses.  Bond revenues are NOT subject to the Robin Hood mandate.

 

By Texas state law, bond revenues cannot be used for district-wide operational expenses, including teachers.  For instance, the 2007 bond that passed appropriated $96.17 million to our District that was used for the conversion, expansion and renovation of both secondary campuses, as well as the purchase of land for future facilities.

Does the Foundation have an endowment?

To date, DSEF does not have an endowment.  A long-term goal of the Foundation is to establish an endowment to provide a predictable source of revenue for District academic needs, such as funding teacher positions. Donors interested in establishing an Endowment should contact DSEF Board President, John Doucet at  .

Is my gift tax deductible?

Yes!  Your gift to DSEF is 100% tax deductible.  The funds granted to the school district by the Foundation are exempt from the ‘Robin Hood’ tax provision.

Is my gift to the Foundation subject to “Robin Hood”?

No!  100% of the money you give to the DSEF stays in the District to be spent on education.  In fact, private-money raised through the Foundation actually helps to ease the burden that the recapture law or “Robin Hood” places on the District, because it is not subject to recapture by the state.

How much should I give?

Our challenge goal for 2013-14 is $200,00 — Every dollar donated counts!  Every Dripping Springs ISD campus receives funding from the money DSEF grants to the school district.

Why is my contribution important if I don’t have children in the District?

The Foundation is a bridge between our community and DSISD.  By supporting our public schools, DSEF makes a difference in the lives of district students and ads to the vitality of the community.  Your gift to DSEF will help fund the gap between the adequate education supported by state funding and the excellent education we have come to expect for our children.

As an independent 501(c)3 non-profit, the Foundation provides accountability to its donors for the dollars raised.  

How can I get involved with DSEF?

The Foundation Board is looking for community leaders who want to roll up their sleeves and get involved to further our important mission.  New Board Members keep the Foundation energized and volunteers are needed for the Golf Tournament and Gala, as well as various other events throughout the year.

Sign up for the Foundation newsletter here on our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are interested in volunteering your time, or serving on the Board as a volunteer, please contact us via email to info@dseducationfoundation.org or by calling the DSEF office  (512)858-3063.

How can I help as a business leader?

The Foundation Board is looking for community leaders who want to roll up their sleeves and get involved to further our important mission.  New Board Members keep the Foundation energized and volunteers are needed for the Golf Tournament and Gala, as well as various other events throughout the year.

Sign up for the Foundation newsletter here on our website, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

If you are interested in volunteering your time, or serving on the Board as a volunteer, please contact us via email to info@dseducationfoundation.org or by calling the DSEF office  (512)858-3063.

Teacher Grant FAQs (12)

What types of projects will the Foundation fund through this program?

The purpose of this program is to fund innovative and creative educational approaches designed to enhance the classroom learning experience.  The Foundation is especially interested in funding grants that enable teachers to incorporate instructional tools and methods into their classrooms that could benefit learning in new ways.

What types of expenses will the Foundation not fund?

The Foundation does not fund stipends, salaries or travel expenses. However, the Foundation does fund conference or workshop registration.

I see that a Work Plan is called for in the application. What exactly is a Work Plan?

The Work Plan outlines the step-by-step process you would take to implement your proposal. For example, if you are applying for a grant to host a student art exhibition at Barton Creek Mall, your Work Plan might detail meeting with the Mall manager to agree on an exhibition time frame, purchasing supplies for the student art project, detailing a multi-week instructional unit on watercolor painting, and taking a field trip to the Blanton Museum to see an art exhibition. The Work Plan is intended to demonstrate to the Grant Review Committee that you have both a well-defined project idea and implementation process.

Will those who review my application know where I teach?

All applications are evaluated through a blind-review process. The objective of the Grant Review Committee is to review every application on the merits of the proposed project alone. To this end, we ask all applicants to refrain from identifying themselves or their school except on page one of the application, the Signature Page. The Signature Page will not be included in the package that is delivered to the Grant Review Committee. That said, feel free to describe any campus-specific issues that relate to your project needs.

Can I request technology that is not currently approved by our school district?

In support of innovation and creativity, we encourage teachers to propose the use of new technology that is proven to have a beneficial impact on student achievement. We recognize that if the technology is new, it may not yet be on DSISD’s approved list. You may still request this new technology in your grant application. Please know though that funding of a new technology grant will require it to be approved by the District prior to purchase. Therefore, we encourage you to begin the technology review and adoption process with the District as soon as you have submitted your grant application. If you are awarded grant funds for technology that the District does not approve, the funds will be returned to the Foundation.

I would like to purchase some books for my classroom library. Do I have to list every title that I want to purchase?

Yes.  With each submission, it is important to outline exactly how you intend to spend the grant money. In the case of library acquisitions, listing the individual titles helps the Grant Review Committee understand your overall objective. The Committee also recognizes that there may be minor title changes at the time of purchase.

Oops, I forgot to include shipping and handling in my application budget and now I need another $200 to complete my order! May I ask the Foundation for more money after the fact?

On an annual basis, the Foundation awards all of the money it raises for the Innovative Teaching Grant program that year.  Typically, we do not have residual funds to cover later budget amendments. Please include shipping and handling and all costs related to your grant proposal in your initial budget.

Can I use the STAAR test as a measure of success for my project?

We do not encourage applicants to use standardized tests as a measure of success for grant submissions. Because there are numerous factors measured in standardized testing, it would be difficult to determine the impact of standardized test scores, like STAAR, on a given grant submission. Instead, we encourage applicants to identify alternative means of measurement such as a pre- and post-project measurements, rubrics, student surveys, and peer evaluations.

How can I recognize DSEF as the financial supporter of my project?

We are glad you asked! There are several things you could do to announce your award and help us build awareness about the Foundation’s role within our community. (1) Send a letter home to parents announcing your grant award and how it will benefit their children. (2) Submit an article and progress updates to your campus newsletter. (3) Tell your friends and neighbors – and direct them to the Foundation’s website to learn more about what we do www.dseducationfoundation.org.  (4) Place stickers on supplies purchased with grant funds that say “Purchased by the Dripping Springs Education Foundation, dseducationfoundation.org”. For promotional information about the Foundation, contact Jen Misko in the Foundation office at (512) 858-3063.  In addition, DSEF will issue a press release to local media outlets announcing the grant recipients.

Does the Foundation support staff development projects?

The Foundation will consider requests for staff development activities (attending workshops, trainings, conferences, bringing in a consultant) when these activities represent one component of a well-planned project and are integrated with other activities that more directly impact students.

The Foundation will not fund travel-related costs such as lodging, per diem, airfare or mileage reimbursement.

How much money is allocated to fund Innovative Teaching Grants?

Funding from the Foundation is distributed annually through three DSEF grant programs.  Innovative Teaching Grants fund teacher-generated ideas that do not have an obvious funding source through the District. Student Leadership Grants fund projects that are designed by students with the support of a mentor teacher. The DSISD Grant helps fund programs that prepare our children for the demands of a modern world, such as the District’s 21st Century Learning Initiatives.  This year, the Foundation hopes to award $70,000 through the Innovative Teaching Grants program; however, this amount is contingent on the Foundation meeting its fundraising goals.

Will grants for existing programs at the same school be considered?

Yes.  However, in determining recipients, priority will be given to categories of grants in the following order:  (1) new pioneering/pilot program grant requests; (2) extension of projects to other campuses; (3)   expansion of projects within a campus; and (4) re-funding previous grants for continuance.

 

Student Leadership Grants FAQs (12)

What is the Student Leadership Grant all about?

This is a student leadership grant; we place an emphasis in our evaluations on seeing that the student or students will be involved in leading others during the execution of their project, not just doing something good by themselves.  We will evaluate how they plan to involve and lead others.

What kinds of projects will the Foundation fund through this program?

We are open to a wide range of ideas, and want to encourage any student to submit an idea, big or small.  For instance, programs might seek to improve or serve:

  • educational process
  • student life
  • health or safety inside/outside campus
  • school facilities
  • the environment
  • peer advising
  • the DS community
  • a group of people in need (ex.: economically disadvantaged, cancer patients, etc.), somewhere in the world – in our back yard, or around the world

What type of projects will the Foundation not fund?

The Foundation will not fund projects or programs that are clearly not student-lead or student-inspired.  While we realize many of your younger students will require more direction, we want to ensure they are able to practice their leadership skills throughout the entire process.  Our goal is to focus on the process and less on the product created by the student-lead program.

Who will be reviewing the application for grants?

All applications submitted will be reviewed by a 4-person committee.  Two reviewers will be board members from the Foundation while two reviewers will be members of the community and/or school district.

Why is there a limit of $500 for the Student Leadership Grant?

There is actually no hard limit on the amount of the grant.  The $500 limit is a suggestion based on the amount of grants approved in the past.  Some projects will require more and some will require less.  We want students to think big, and to take into account that the grant money should be spent by the end of the school year.

What happens if my request is not approved?

If your grant is not approved, you will be contacted by a member of the reviewing committee.  In some cases, the scope of the request may fall outside of our parameters, while in some cases, the project may simply need to be modified.  Our goal is to say yes whenever we can.

How much time does a sponsor need to spend on this?

Each project is different and the requirements of a sponsor will vary considerably.  With younger students, the sponsor will be more involved while with older groups, the students can take a much more active leadership role.  The scope of the project will also determine the involvement of the sponsor.  All applications submitted should list the involvement of the sponsor.

What if my project does not meet the goals we project?

While we are interested in the product of the grants (what the program will accomplish), we will emphasize the process (how the students will grow and benefit by doing it) in our evaluation.  As with any learning, “smart tries” are encouraged.  While we want all projects to meet their goals, if the students had an opportunity to exhibit and learn leadership qualities, then the program was a success.

Who handles the money for these grants?

The faculty sponsor will be entrusted with the funds on behalf of the student leaders.

I am helping with the application for an elementary student. Some of these questions seem geared toward middle or high school students.

You are correct.  This is the first year we have included elementary students in the grant process.  We made a conscious decision not to alter the application but to allow the elementary student to seek assistance in the completion.

When will the grant money be disbursed?

Grant money will be distributed within the first two weeks of January.

We want to thank the Foundation for our grant. What is the best way to recognize the contribution?

Publicity!  Our objective is to grow this program and provide for more grants in the future.  Document what you do and share it.  Send your pictures to your school for the newsletter, but also send them to the Foundation for placement on our website and on our Facebook page.  We want to publically recognize your group as much as you want to thank us!  The other thing you can do is ask friends and family to contribute to the Foundation.  The more we receive, the more we have available to fund outstanding projects.  Lastly, patronize business who support the Foundation and let them know you received a grant.  They want to share in your success!

Teacher of the Month FAQs (6)

What is the Teacher of the Month Program?

The Teacher of the Month Program is one of the ways DSEF recognizes and shows its appreciation of DSISD teachers.  Over the course of the school year each of the five DSISD schools will select two teachers to receive the Teacher of the Month award.

Does the Education Foundation choose which teacher will be selected?

No.  Each campus determines who the recipient will be and the principal provides their name to the Education Foundation.

Do all DSISD campuses participate?

Yes.  Each school will have the opportunity to select two teachers over the course of the school year.

How is the Teacher of the Month selected?

Each school determines how their Teacher of the Month will be selected.  The principal may make the decision or it may be by teacher or student vote, essay contest, etc.

How is the Teacher of the Month recognized?

Representatives from the Education Foundation and Teacher of the Month sponsor, Lone Star Bank, announce the recipient at the school’s monthly faculty meeting.

 

The teacher receives a framed Teacher of the Month certificate and a $100 VISA gift card.  In addition, they are recognized on the Education Foundation’s Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/FundDSISD  and website.

What is the schedule for program this year?

DSHS:             September and February

DSMS:            October and March

DSE:               November and April

RSE:                November and April

WSE:              November and April