Excellence in Education
Ms. Ronda Hassig, library media specialist at Harmony Middle School, may be retiring, but has left a powerful legacy with students and teachers in the Blue Valley School District. Ronda’s many accolades include national board certification twice over, one of the seven master teachers in Kansas in 2008, and a member of the Midwest Center for Holocaust Education’s Teaching Cadre. She is also a published author of two historical fiction novels, an avid world-traveler, and an 11-time BVEF grant award winner.
After 26 years as the library media specialist at HMS, she has much wisdom to bestow before she heads into her well-deserved retirement. The Blue Valley Educational Foundation was lucky enough to sit down with Ronda before the end of the school year to talk about why her tie to BVEF has been such an important part of her education career. From 2008-2018, she has received more than $29,600.54 in funding through the BVEF teacher grants program.
Harmony Middle School Grants Awarded to Ronda Hassig:
2007-08 Harmony with a Voice $2,000.00
2008-09 Harmony with a Voice II $2,000.00
2008-09 T-Bird Trekkers $3,300.00
2009-10 Harmony Story Corp $1,708.30
2010-11 Harmony Talking Heads $847.00
2011-12 HPods $4,975.00
2012-13 Empty Bowls $3,602.54
2013-14 Empty Bowls $3,150.00
2013-14 Harmony's Creation Station $2,789.47
2016-17 Harmony History Museum $3,336.27
2017-18 STEMing the Tide $1,891.96
Click here to see what was funded in YOUR schools.
Sharing her Knowledge
Q. Blue Valley schools are known for providing ‘Education Beyond Expectations.’ With so many resources already in place, why did you apply for BVEF grants every year?
A. These grants provided funding for programs, teaching tools, or experiences that we couldn’t get from our limited school budget. They helped provide enhancements for my students and ensured that they had opportunities that wouldn’t otherwise be available to them.
Q How have BVEF grants impacted your students?
A. They have made an impact in so many ways! We were able to work with poets, geocaching devices, and STEM programs, just to name a few. I was able to take what they were learning in the classroom and turn it into a real-world experience. One of my favorite grants involved a trip to Lawrence, KS, to see first-hand where Quantrill’s Raid took place. We actually took the iPods we received as a grant to Lawrence for three different years after we collaborated with two sets of students at CAPS to put a Quantrill app on the iPods. It was a win-win situation for us and the CAPS students. My students used the app to find clues that related to the Raid, study them, and move on to the next location. They were so interested in the history of the US at that time, and the story came alive for them.
Q. If you could encourage educators who have not ever applied for a grant to do so, what would you tell them?
A. Don’t be afraid! With the revisions in the software, the grant applications are very easy to complete. You can fill it out a little at a time, and if you get stuck, ask for help from a librarian or someone in your school who has received grants from BVEF. They would be more than happy to assist! It’s worth it!
Q. What has BVEF meant to you?
A. The Ed Foundation is a support system to help facilitate learning. No matter what your dream idea might be for enhancing learning, they are true partners in this process. Personally, BVEF has been invaluable to me because of their “we’ll find a way to do it” attitude!
The Foundation Funds ALL Schools
In the 2017-18 school year, the Blue Valley Ed Foundation board of directors were very excited to announce that EVERY school would receive a $2500 grant to help fill the gap in their buildings. Stay tuned for information about the impact of those funds.
How you can help?
Each year we hope to spend more and more in our buildings and in our classrooms BUT we can't do it alone! We need all the community support we can get to increase the amount we put into our schools. To support this effort, as well as District-wide grants, click here.