School board recognizes Chamber for Best BET grants

It’s possible momentous decisions were made during the closed session that followed the February 20 school board meeting, in which district officials conferred with a negotiator and legal counsel regarding the disposition of the former La Puerta property.

The preceding gathering, however, was short and sweet.

It began with applause as Mindy Hansen of San Antonio High School was sworn in as the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education’s newest student representative.

Then, it was time for kudos as the board honored the Claremont Chamber of Commerce for the success of its Best BET (Business & Education Together) mini-grants. Chamber CEO Maureen Aldridge was on hand to accept the recognition of the program, which this year yielded $20,000 toward creative plans by teachers to enrich their students.

Here’s how the program works. Come September, any CUSD teacher with a good idea has the opportunity to apply for a $250 mini-grant from the Chamber. Up to four teachers can work together on a grant, pooling their resources to design a program that might receive $1,000 in funding.

The grant proposals are submitted to the district and then given to the Chamber, where a committee discusses which concepts are worthy of funding. This year, the committee—which is comprised of a member of Kiwanis, Sunrise Rotary and the University Club, as well as a Chamber member—opted to award money to all 36 applicants.

Examples of this year’s Best BETs include $250 to buy books for a leveled listening and reading program designed by Chaparral kindergarten teacher Myra Applebee;  $500 toward a program called “Cooking Across the Curriculum,” created by Danbury preschool teacher Jana Carney in partnership with another instructor; and $1,000 to buy equipment in order to provide more hands-on practice for biology, chemistry and physics instruction at El Roble Intermediate School.

Ms. Aldridge goes into classrooms to present a check to each teacher who has been awarded a grant.

“One of the best parts of my job is going out to schools and giving them money,” Ms. Aldridge shared. “Seeing the reaction from students when they know their teachers have been awarded, and when they know it’s going to come back and benefit them, is very gratifying.”

The Claremont Chamber of Commerce is currently promoting the annual Education Classic Golf Tournament, set for April 7, and organized in partnership with the Claremont Educational Foundation. Half the proceeds of the event will benefit CEF and the other half will go to fund the Best BET program. Anyone interested in participating in the tournament is encouraged to download an application from the Chamber website at

The school board also authorized a proposal by Scripps College student Jessica Warren. As part of her undergraduate studies, Ms. Warren will undertake a research project to study San Antonio High School’s Food Justice program and how it relates to student success. 

 The last order of business, part of the consent agenda, gives the community a view into some of the many classes the city is offering this spring. Special services contract agreements were approved for instructors teaching parenting, history, German and Chinese brush painting; the appreciation of film, Shakespeare, opera and the continent of Africa; and the creation of stained glass, ceramics and watercolor painting. The next school board meeting is set for Thursday, March 6 at 6:30 p.m. at the Kirkendall Center.

—Sarah Torribio


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