Thank you to our Educators for a Successful Learning Improvement Grant Showcase!

Many thanks to the Educators of North Thurston Public Schools and to Clair Ferris for the photographs of our Learning Improvemnt Grant Showcase which took place on January 29!

The event not only included a grant showcase of what learning has been achieved through NTEF grant funds, but also information on the grant process itself. The showcase highlighted the important work NTEF does for our district – including Learning Improvement Grants, Student Assistance Grants as well as support of the McKinney Vento program and scholarships for graduating seniors.

Learning Improvement Grant Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals. You have three opportunities a year to apply for grants, October 1, December 1 and March 1.

Student Navigator Profile – Lorin Griffitts, McKinney-Vento Student Navigator NTHS/SSHS

1). Can you tell us a bit about your role as the McKinney Vento student navigator at North Thurston High School and South Sound High School and how the program aims to help students there?

“My role as a McKinney Vento student navigator is to support students who qualify for McKinney Vento services due to housing instability. I try to relieve barriers that can keep students from coming to school and that inhibit learning. Support can look like a lot of different things and can vary with every individual student based on circumstances. Some students who are facing housing instability are able to maintain school attendance and manage schoolwork, while others could be facing larger barriers like hunger, not having appropriate clothing, shoes or bedding for sleep, lack of transportation, school supplies, or academic support at home. I strive to build trusting relationships with these students to support attendance, graduation, and a post-high school plan. I also connect students and families to local, state and federal resources that may help them out of housing instability one day.”

2). Do you have any personal experiences/examples of ways NTEF has helped with the needs of students in your schools?

“A recent example was a student who faces housing instability, is deficient in school credits, and dreams of serving our country in the military one day. She was accepted into The Washington Youth Academy where she will earn 8 school credits when she returns to North Thurston Public Schools. This will help her graduate next year and will give her experience to increase her opportunities for her future military career. NTEF provided running shoes, her required interview attire, cadet attire and more so that this student could attend her personal interview, physical and this program. This would not have been possible without the support from NTEF.”

“Another example is a 12th grade student who is unaccompanied, facing housing instability, works side jobs for cash and is on track to graduate from North Thurston Public Schools. His parents have been in and out of his life and through all of his living transitions, he lost or never had his birth certificate, social security number, or identification card. NTEF helped him purchase these important documents so that he could apply for health insurance, food assistance, FAFSA, and pay for college applications. When he successfully completes all of his graduation requirements this year, NTEF will sponsor him to receive a cap and gown for graduation and a yearbook, something he would not have the funds to participate in otherwise. With the support from NTEF, this student’s future is looking bright and promising. Thank you NTEF!”

Thank you so much, Lorin for your dedication and commitment to students of North Thurston Public Schools!


North Thurston Education Foundation Pays $9,333.60 in Uncollected School Lunch Debt

On November 1, the North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) paid off school lunch debt for hundreds of North Thurston Public School District (NTPS) families.

A 2018 change in state law requires schools to provide meals to students even if their account is in the red. The law is design to stop what’s called “lunch shaming.”

NTEF donated $9,333.60 to NTPS to clear the balance accrued in uncollected debt for students who qualify for free or reduced meals. The National School Lunch and Breakfast Programs is sponsored by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and offers free and reduced-priced meals to qualifying students, but many students don’t apply in time to avoid a balance or the program doesn’t cover the full cost of the meal and therefore leaves a balance.

With the help and support of donors’ generous support and contributions, the North Thurston Education Foundation was able to pay the balance of this debt in full. “We are so pleased to be able to assist students in NTPS schools in this way, and to continue in our mission to remove barriers and enhance learning for our students,” said Mike Jones, Executive Director of NTEF.

North Thurston Education Foundation Announces 2nd Annual Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

The North Thurston Education Foundation (NTEF) has a robust Learning Improvement Grant (LIG) program that provides funds to teachers and staff in North Thurston Public Schools (NTPS) for classroom use. The LIG Committee selects recipients through a competitive application process. Funds help teachers increase student learning tied to district and state learning goals.


On January 29, 2020, NTEF invites teachers and staff who have received Learning Improvement Grants to showcase how they used the funds in their classroom at the 2nd Annual LIG Showcase. We also invite the community to attend and learn more about innovation in the classroom.


“Through post-grant reports we’ve read about how teachers have used the funds, but now we’ll get a more hands-on perspective of how teachers are using the funds to increase student learning. We believe a showcase approach will improve teacher collaboration and will inspire new ideas for classroom innovation,” said Mike Jones, NTEF Executive Director.


WHAT — North Thurston Education Foundation Learning Improvement Grant Showcase

WHEN — January 29, 2020 from 4 p.m. –to 6 p.m.

WHERE — John Gott Administrative Building, 305 College Street NE Lacey, WA 98516

FOR MORE INFO — Contact Mike Jones, (360) 790-6548 or [email protected]

Welcome Back!

Summer is winding down. Teachers and students are heading back to classrooms, and a new school year is ahead of us. We begin the new season with renewed hope for a bright future for our students.

We are proud to play a role in creating an environment where every child has an opportunity to succeed. This year, contributions from parents, teachers, residents, and the business community will allow the Foundation to continue to invest in Student Assistance Grants, Learning Improvement Grants, and Scholarships.

Thank you to all who make our work possible. We’re looking forward to another fantastic year.

Click Here to Learn How You Can Help

Thank You For a Fun and Successful Fundraising Event!

Thank you for a successful inaugural Sacks of Fury Cornhole Tournament fundraiser. Many thanks to our hosts, sponsors and all those who helped to make the event a success: Country Financial, Gateway Rotary, Tart Cider, DJ Nate Bulley, emcee Martin McElliot, USMAC, Dutch Bros, and Troy and Kirby at Charlie’s Safari.

We appreciate your time and effort to benefit the students of North Thurston Public Schools!

Annual Luncheon October 18 at Lacey Community Center


WHAT: North Thurston Education Foundation Annual Luncheon
WHEN: Friday, October 18, 2019 11:30 a.m.- 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: Lacey Community Center, 6729 Pacific Ave SE Lacey, WA 98503
There is no charge to attend the luncheon, but a $100 donation is encouraged. All donations raised at the luncheon will go toward removing financial barriers and increasing student success. During the 2018-2019 school year, NTEF distributed $380,000, A NEW RECORD!

Sponsorship Opportunities are Available! Contact us for Details! Email Executive Director Mike Jones here.

Click Here to Register

The North Thurston Education Foundation’s Hearts Program Helps Connect Students

My position is a sensitive one; young people don’t like talking about the hardships in their life. Having an incentive program such as the North Thurston Education Foundation’s Hearts Program helps develop connections with students.

Over the 2018-19 school year, I used the gift cards from the Hearts Program to encourage attendance in school and as a reward to encourage follow through on assignments and participation in tutoring.

I worked with a student since last October who was chronically absent. She struggled with depression and was not connected to anyone -student or staff – at school. She was a sweet girl that wanted to work hard; she didn’t have anyone holding her accountable or even reaching out to her. With the help of the school counselor, we met with her to offer support, including walking shoes and a coat. After creating a foundation with her and her mother, and providing tools to help her get to school, we made a deal; I told her that we would meet once a week to discuss how things were going at home and in school. If she could make it to school at least three days next week, I told her I’d give her a $5 Dutch Bros. gift card. Every week we met, and she brightened up knowing someone cared about how she was doing, not just that she was going to school. We met weekly to check-in, and those weeks she couldn’t make it; she knew she didn’t earn the Dutch Bros. card yet we met and talked about school and what she needs to accomplish to achieve her goals. We met for the rest of the year, and I saw a definite change in her mood and drive to do what she needed to do.

Having this program to help build relationships with these students is invaluable. Most of the students I work with don’t have parents helping them remember things or to encourage them to power through; they only have themselves. I hope this program continues so we can reach more students that struggle with the little things.


Linda Torres
Student Support Navigator
North Thurston Public Schools

Looking for a Way to Give Back and Get Involved?

1. North Thurston Education Foundation is looking for Investment Committee members! If you are interested in serving please contact Executive Director, Mike Jones by email [email protected]

The investment committee meets four times per year and they are responsible for overseeing the Foundation’s investments. We estimate that this is a four-hour per year commitment.

2. We are looking for North Thurston Education Foundation School Ambassadors for the following North Thurston Public Schools:
Mountain View Elementary
Pleasant Glade Elementary
South Bay Elementary
Woodland Elementary

Ambassadors act as the go-between for the Foundation and the school.
Learn more by emailing NTEF Executive Director, Mike Jones at [email protected]

Featured in the photo above is School Ambassador for River Ridge High School, Doreen Berg.