Date: April 26th, 2017

Excellence in Education Grants Awarded at Belmont Schools

From left: Kim Schmelz, representing the Belmont Excellence in Education Advisory Board, presented grants to Liz Weittenhiller, Dee McConnell, Troy Updike and Nik Werner

Four projects that will enhance and supplement initiatives in classrooms in the Belmont Schools received grant funding from the Belmont Excellence in Education Endowment Fund.

Kim Schmelz, advisory board member for the Fund, made the presentations at the conclusion of the April 20 staff training event.  Schmelz gave a brief history of the formation of the Excellence in Education Endowment noting that a group of volunteers came together at the beginning of the 2013-2014 school year with a goal of endowing both an excellence in education and a scholarship fund.  The EIE fund was immediately endowed with a gift of $10,000 by Derek and MJ Dachelet.

2017 marks the third time that grants have been awarded for special projects in the Belmont Schools.  Two grants were awarded in 2014 – to support the construction of two ‘little free libraries’ and to support the software subscription fee for Adobe Creative Cloud with After Effects.  One grant was awarded in 2016 – to purchase a camcorder for use by students, faculty and coaches.

Schmelz presented grant awards totaling $1,123 for the following initiatives:

  • For 3rd grade students as proposed by Troy Updike: 2 – STEM activity kits. One that enables students to design and make a solar car; the other, which challenges students to develop and design experiments to move isopods.
  • For pre-kindergarten students as proposed by Liz Weittenhiller: an incubator, egg turner and egg candling light to study the life-cycle of an animal and the responsibilities associated with caring for living things.
  • For special education students at all levels as proposed by Nik Werner: Hokki ergonomic stools, which allow movement while seated, for two classrooms to assist students in focusing on their classwork.
  • For high school students as proposed by Dee McConnell: a GoPro Waterproof Action Camera for use in completing class projects.

In completing the presentations, Schmelz noted, “Today is a great day for Belmont students and staff.  These grants are a visible sign of the support by our community for the work that is done in this school by our teachers.  Our committee is dedicated to finding way to provide grant funding to supplement what is paid for with tax money.  We want staff to know that it is possible to propose new and creative projects and initiatives.  We live in a competitive school environment and it is our desire that by being able to provide support for projects and unique tools, we will keep Belmont competitive and a great place for our students and staff.”

The Belmont Excellence in Education and Scholarship Endowment Funds are components of the Community Foundation of Southern Wisconsin, Inc., a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt public charity.  For more information, contact advisory board member Kim Schmelz or Barb Daus, donor services representative with CFSW (608-778-3344 or [email protected]).  Donations may be sent to the Belmont School Funds, PO Box 348, Belmont, WI  53510 or may be made online at