The Venice High School Alumni Association awarded $8,500 in grants last month through its Committee on Excellence in Education to individuals and groups of teachers for a variety of projects.

The association’s grant program began several years ago with an annual gift from Eva Clark, a retired Venice High math teacher, and her husband Gil, a retired UCLA physics professor. The program has grown to include donations from other retired teachers, alumni association members and interested community members.

In order to receive a grant, faculty members submitted requests with explanations of their curricular goals and the rationale for the funds sought.

Grants totaling $500 or $1,000 were awarded to programs such as field trips, supplemental reading and robotics.

Of those who received funding, science teacher Mike Connor said he will use his grant to purchase rock samples for a unit on geology, while Haygo Salibian and Sangeeta Singh will purchase materials for their science laboratories. Others indicated they will use the grant funds for hands-on materials in special education math classes and for language acquisition.

Four interdisciplinary teams plan to combine teaching strategies in separate subject areas including English and economics.

With budget deficits and uncertainty regarding state and national funding for schools, Committee on Excellence in Education members say they are working harder than ever to support the high school, its teachers and the students.