The Committee on Excellence in Education, an adjunct of the Venice High School Alumni Association, has awarded grants to Venice High teachers for the 2008-09 school year.

Grants of $500 went to individual teachers and $1,000 to teams of two or more.

The grants were awarded to teachers Robert Liu, Phyllis Hayashibara, Jennifer Kim, John Bruno, Megan Azzi, Barry Vella, Darcey Wark, Joy Kraft, Haygo Salibian, Keith Abouaf and Ruth Greene.

The funds will finance a variety of classroom activities, from presentations of Shakespeare to the purchase of materials for applying mathematical concepts, to lab equipment for chemistry experiments, according to the committee.

Some of the funds will finance a study of the murals and architecture of Los Angeles, while others will support the production of the school yearbook. Another grant will support the fundraising effort to send six students from the high school’s Mandarin Chinese class to Shanghai next summer.

According to the committee, retired Venice High teachers were encouraged to join the efforts of Eva and Gil Clark to expand a grant program they had funded, which resulted in the Committee on Excellence in Education. The committee’s goal is to provide financial support for Venice High teachers, promote educational enrichment, encourage interdisciplinary inquiry and assist in professional growth.

Committee members say they hope to continue the tradition of Venice High teachers who have been leaders in seminars and workshops at local universities for many years.

Venice High School sends students to universities throughout the country and continues to be one of the top scoring schools in academic decathlon competition, qualifying for the state competition last year, committee members said.