Mother and Daughter Duo: Keeping Education Grants in the Family

The spark of mutual love and admiration is evident between the mother/daughter duo of Catherine Prange and Betsy Prange as soon as you see them together. Both are recipients of Student Excellence Foundation grants: Mrs. Prange received hers in FY16 while a Special Education Aide at Emerson School; daughter Betsy received hers in FY17 as a 2nd grade teacher at Pleasant Hill School.

Both women acknowledged working together as they sought to write their grants: Catherine Prange’s grant was for five iPad Airs with cases for the Primary Directive and Supportive class, where she was an aide; Betsy Prange’s grant was for 20 Hokki stools for her 2nd-grade class. Both grants specifically targeted FIT goals of CUSD200. They talked about their passion for education and how each had found their sense of calling in their work at Emerson and Pleasant Hill. Before becoming a certified teacher, Betsy worked with her mom at Emerson in her Special Education class.

Catherine and Betsy share background influences that continue today that are evident in the ease of their conversation and in being together. Betsy told how her mom will bake 3 loaves of banana bread in the morning, take two to Emerson, and bring one to Pleasant Hill. But they share more than ideas and backgrounds: behind their relationship as mother/daughter, colleague/co-worker, and friends is the overwhelming influence of having a child with Down Syndrome in their family.  Catherine’s son (and Betsy’s brother) has Down Syndrome. They both believe he is what is shaping them to advocate for students with special needs, as well as share his successes. They are unified on educating people on what Down Syndrome is, what it looks like, and what a person with Down Syndrome can achieve.

Their success not only comes from their mutual passions for education and students with special needs, and their love and respect for each other, but also from a unique ambition that seems to be hereditary. They truly love their work! When asked what her next step goals are Betsy Prange answered that she “always wants a challenge; you have to see where the ideas take you!”

Given all that the Prange family has given to District 200, we are not at all surprised that Betsy Prange was one of the 2019 Distinguished Educator Award recipients. She also initiated a Fund-A-Classroom project for additional funds for her classroom. Congratulations on this honor, Ms. Prange! We are grateful for you, and for your mom!

Do you know a Community School District 200 educator who would like to apply for a Student Excellence Grant? The Foundation offers a Fall and a Spring grant cycle each year. Betsy and Catherine both talked about how friendly the process was for applying for their grants through the Student Excellence Foundation. There were no restrictions on who they could collaborate with, or who could apply. Mrs. Prange was staff and Ms. Prange was a teacher. They both saw that anyone could write a grant who had an idea.

Please feel free to share information regarding grant procedures with any District 200 educator. Classroom teachers, administrators, LLC Directors: any staff member with student contact is eligible to apply!

To read about other grants that have been provided to educators, click here.