By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Monterey Ridge Elementary School needs more text and online votes in order to win a $50,000 grant to create mobile technology labs.
The deadline to vote is Dec. 19. One text plus one online vote per email address is allowed daily in the Clorox Power and Bright Future Grant contest.
As of Monday, the 4S Ranch school was in fifth place out of 1,595 entries in the explore category. Overall, there are 2,500 entrants, with 508 in the play category and 397 in the create category.
Per the contest rules, seven grants will be awarded — four based on votes and three based on judges’ selection. The entrant with the most votes will receive a $50,000 grant. The three category winners determined by vote will each receive a $25,000 grant. The judges’ favorites will also receive $25,000 grants.
“We found out about the contest because it was highlighted on a TV show our PTA president saw,” said Sara Tseng, Monterey Ridge Educational Foundation president. “It’s the first time we’ve done anything like this.”
Tseng said parents have been repeatedly asked to vote daily and posters have been distributed throughout the community asking for support. Even Oak Valley Middle School and Del Norte High School students have been asked to vote, since anyone over the age of 13 is allowed to cast ballots.
“We want them to adopt us because we’re a feeder school,” she said, adding “We’re hoping the high school students will be in tune with it and everyday text.”
To vote via cell phone, send text 2560pbf to 95248. Message and data rates may apply. To vote online go to
“We’re so close we can taste it, but it is hard to move up in the rankings,” Tseng said.
If Monterey Ridge wins, Tseng said the grant would go toward an item on the foundation’s wish list — creating a mobile technology lab to enhance learning for the school’s 1,100 students.
Per the grant proposal, mobile technology carts will be shared between classrooms, which are assigned to one of six villages on the campus. If each village has one or two carts, all students will have access to computer technology for three to six hours per week.
Tseng said this is needed because the school’s computer labs are aging and with the mobile labs there will be increased access for students.
She said a pilot program with T-Mobile gives teachers access to tablets in a similar fashion.
No cost for the mobile lab has been determined, Tseng said. The cart charging stations could cost $500 to $2,500, depending on model selected. A decision has yet to be made on tablets, which could lost $200 to $300 each, versus laptop computers, which range from $500 to a couple thousand each.
“We don’t have the money to spend on this yet,” Tseng said, explaining up to now the foundation’s primary focus has been on supporting the school’s music, art and physical education programs, which she called “vital.”
The only other Poway Unified School in the contest is Los Penasquitos Elementary, which would have the grant go toward the $100,000 in annual operating expenses of its Academy, established in 2000. It is a choice program for third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students district wide and provides four additional hours of classroom time each week and eight extra days in the summer to help the children excel in literacy, science, math and community building.
As of Monday, Los Penasquitos was in 517th place out of 1,595 entrants in the explore category. To vote for it, send text 2030pbf to 95248 or go to the contest website.