Grand Island Education Foundation Awards Mini-Grants

By: Morgan Demmel Email
By: Morgan Demmel Email

This is the eighth annual mini-grant cycle for the Grand Island Education Foundation.

During the past seven years, 119 mini-grants totaling $99,912 funded projects across the district.

Grants have benefited more than 23,000 students.

Grand Island Education Foundation Board members surprised teachers and students in the Grand Island Public Schools when they arrived at schools Tuesday and Wednesday to award 16 classroom

One of those mini-grants is benefiting students at Jefferson Elementary School.

For fourth and fifth grade classes at Jefferson Elementary, learning how to use a protractor is coming easily.

"The kids are very engaged in what they're doing," fourth grade teacher Chris Wykoff says.

One reason for that success, she says, is the new projection system in their classroom.

Jefferson Elementary Principal Jeanna Fiala says it provides teachers with a new way to show visual images to their classes.

"You can put a book under there and the whole class can see," Fiala says.

Fiala says the class can also make and watch videos, take photos and read articles using the IPEVO projection technology.

"They can do projects with the IPEVO, they can demonstrate, they can do the teaching, you can do practically anything," Wykoff says.

Education Foundation Assistant Kari Price says the district's teachers have great ideas to share.

But in a time of district budget cuts, many of those ideas aren't possible.

Price says that's where the Foundation's mini-grants step in.

This year, the funds have provided book clubs for elementary schools, field trips for English learning students to see a Civil War enactment, and iPod touches for kindergartners to use.

"This is just another avenue that teachers can reach kids in a new and different way, but still get the content and capture their attention and get them actively participating," Fiala says.

For the 2011-2012 school year, 16 mini-grants totaling $17,825 were awarded. Grants range from $200 to $2,000. Approximately 3,000 students will benefit from a classroom mini-grant this school year.

Round one grant winners, grant amounts, and project titles were:
Dina Wingfield, Grand Island Senior High School, $1,804, “Using STEM Opportunities to Increase Student Interest, Engagement and Enrollment in Higher Level Science and STEM Related Careers.” This
project will allow Physics students to design and construct physical models such as cranes, roller coasters, bridges, and rockets. Up to 190 students will benefit.

Lisa Bales, West Lawn Elementary School, $2,000, "For the Love of Books: Our Mustang Book Club." This grant will give K-5th grade students the opportunity to join a book club. In the club students will learn more about the authors and/or details about the book’s time period, subject or setting through activities, games or crafts. Approximately 315 students in grades K-5 will benefit.

Lisa Geist, Sue Kohls, Liz Boyle, Walnut Middle School, $1,500, "Picture This! Mobile Mentor Text Library." This grant will fund curriculum-connected picture books and a mobile cart. The books
will be used to build background and model reading strategies. Up to 840 students will be affected by this project.

Chris Wykoff, Chelsy Liess, Whitney Roush, Jan Vavricek, Lisa Cunningham, Jefferson Elementary School, $350, “The Prospect of IPEVO in the Classroom.” This grant will fund IPEVO
teaching tools. By improving the visual aspect of presentation and participation, students will be more engaged in their learning. 4th and 5th grade students will be impacted.

Nancy Jones, Grand Island Senior High, $1,800, "TeamMates Mentoring." The TeamMates Mentoring Program serves middle and high school students by providing a positive, caring adult to be a
mentor/advocate. Weekly meeting for the match are held at school and they engage in a variety of activities such as playing board games, reviewing school work, building social skills and active listening. The program will benefit 6th and 9th grade students that qualify.

Janel Keyes, Howard Elementary School, $1,400, "Can You See It Now?" This grant will fund IPEVO teaching tools. These tools will replace overhead machines and will allow for visualization of
concrete 3-D objects. Approximately 430 students in K-5th grade will be impacted.

Rebecca Wilhelmi, Carolyn Johnson, Katie Regier, Jefferson Elementary School, $210, "ELL Students + Technology = SUCCESS!" The IPEVO teaching tool in the classroom makes learning come
alive. By building background knowledge and expanding vocabulary the students have the opportunity to actively experience the content. This grant will help approximately 120 English Language Learner

Round Two grant winners, grant amounts, and project titles were:
Grant Boyer, Grand Island Senior High, $600, "With an iPad, iCan" This grant will fund an iPad to help expand the knowledge of Chemistry and Biology students. All types of technology surround
today’s generation, by incorporating this technology into the classroom it will help reduce gaps in high, middle, and low ability learners. Approximately 200 of the 10th - 12th grades will benefit.

Patty Brown, Wasmer Elementary School, $500, "Let’s Play Updated Jeopardy." This project will give students a fun way to review knowledge. Playing Jeopardy brings smiles, anticipation, and active
participation from students in the classroom. Students from 3rd- 5th grades, approximately 180, will be impacted.

Kelley Ward, Barr Middle School, $1,625, "Digital Media – Global Warming." This project will enable students to conduct research on pollution, recycling, alternative fuels, and factors that cause
climate change. Students will take cameras home and photograph global warming concepts in their homes and neighborhoods. This grant will immediately impact 150 students in the 8th grade.

Janet Dobbins, Becky Waind, Stolley Park Elementary School, $1,250, "iLearn Best When iTouch" This grant project will integrate technology into daily kindergarten involvement. Various iPod
Touch applications, teacher created projects, and student projects will be used for enrichment of classroom lessons, differentiation, remediation and keeping students on task. Thirty-seven kindergarten
students will participate.

Tyler Madison, Walnut Middle School, $776, "Outdoors and Kids Club" The Walnut Outdoors and Kids Club (OAK) offers students the chance to experience the outdoors. Students will have the opportunity to fish, canoe, bird watch, cook, and learn to be good stewards of the environment. Twenty to thirty kids will benefit each year with this grant.

Sarah Wolf, Megan Borrell, Amber Fairbrother, Barb Franke, Grand Island Senior High, $660, "Differentiating the Reading and Writing Process with the ELMO document camera" The EMLO
teaching tool will allow 12 student classrooms a year instant differentiation of the writing process and curriculum in the English Department. Providing visual models of student work along with samples of student writing will allow more students to grasp the concepts. By modeling interaction with the texts, students can also connect their thoughts and personal life experiences to the reading. Three hundred 9th, 10th, and 11th grade students will be part of this project.

Laura Cushing, Angie Schweitzer, Grand Island Senior High, $1,200, "Kindle Classics in the Classroom." This project will provide Kindles to enhance student learning experiences. Kindles will give
students access to an infinite number of resources. Approximately 160 10th graders will benefit.

7th Grade Patriots Team: A. Alvarado, E. Brooks, S. Martin, T. Northup, A. Pitkin, R. Riha, S. Rock, Walnut Middle School, $1,320, "Enhancing Learning and Making Opportunities in Education: Using ELMO’s in the Classroom." Technology plays a key role in today’s classroom. This grant will provides ELMO teaching tools that will benefit about 136 7th graders.

Alisa Grim, Grand Island Senior High, $830, "Nebraska Territory – Understanding our New Land." This project will send 75 English Language Learner students to participate in a civil war
reenactment experience.

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