Recognizing the enormity of the challenges our rural school faces, NYEF is dedicated to making a lasting impact through our programs. While our efforts are driven by the needs identified by Gardiner School, we spread a wide net by investing in a variety of progressive strategies. The needs of GPS aggregate along three areas: enhancement of programs, affordable teacher housing, and mental health. Each of our programs is designed to meet one of these needs.
Our 2022 programs are:
Connect! Grants, Mental/Behavioral Health and Teacher Housing Initiative
Connect! Grants is our classroom grants program. Connect! Grants support projects that fill educational gaps, promote health and wellness, and reach a wide range of students. Connect! Grants are community driven (meaning they respond to community needs), community funded (meaning they are funded entirely by donations), and community evaluated (meaning funded projects are chosen by a committee of community members).
Connect! Grants are evaluated three times per year, at the end of the first three school quarters (typically late October, late January, and early April). These grant funds are reimbursable upon receipt of a final report.
NYEF seeks to meet the mental and behavioral health needs of our community through our fiscal sponsorship of Park County Rural Schools 360.
The Park County Rural Schools 360 Program (PCRS360), in partnership with NYEF, has hired a full-time behavior analyst working across five rural school districts, implemented yoga in elementary schools, and launched numerous other support efforts for students, staff, and families.
Gardiner is in the midst of a housing crisis. Affordable housing was identified as the #1 concern for residents through the 2019 Successful Gardiner Campaign. This situation has impacted the Gardiner Public School's ability to hire and retain teachers, who have a starting salary around $35,777. NYEF is working to alleviate this problem through our Teacher Housing Initiative.
In 2020, NYEF purchased a property, a historic building built in 1908 that was once owned by Earl Hall and most recently used as a bed and breakfast, in Gardiner. Thanks to support from the Gardiner Area Resort District and very generous donors, we completed $300k in renovations and are now able to provide subsidized housing for three Gardiner School teachers.
Our efforts do not stop here - we continue to raise funds for completing the purchase of the property and our long term goal is to identify housing for 2-3 more teachers within the next 5 years.