Martha Vukelich-Austin admits that when most people think of a high school classroom, they don't think of trout. "In the core school curriculum, it's probably not right up there with literacy and math."
Yet Trout in the Classroom at East High was among the programs green-lighted last week by the Foundation for Madison's Public Schools. Vukelich-Austin, the group's president, calls it "hands-on science as well as community service."
Students will work with Trout Unlimited and the state Department of Natural Resources to raise trout for eventual release. The $2,100 grant is for equipment.
In all, the foundation awarded $44,701 to 37 Madison schools. The money comes from the Individual School Endowment Initiative, established in 2003 with $5,000-per-school challenge grants from John and Leslie Taylor of Madison. The schools now each have a permanent endowment fund of $10,000 or more that provides annual distributions for projects and extras. The program is said to be the first of its kind in the nation.
Other allocations: $200 to produce "Dig It!," a mini-musical on archeology, at Hawthorne Elementary; $302 to buy students pedometers for a Walk and Talk program at Kennedy Elementary; $1,139 to buy two round gathering tables for outdoor science classes at Sennett Middle School; and $376 for yoga mats for "behaviorally challenged" ninth-graders at Memorial High. For a complete list, see fmps.org/isei-grants.html.