Foundation surprises schools with cash awards to support classroom innovations

18 Nov Foundation surprises schools with cash awards to support classroom innovations

Foundation surprises schools with cash awards to support classroom innovations

BEAUFORT – Supporters and Board members of the Foundation for Educational Excellence visited 11 Beaufort County schools this week to surprise 28 teachers with grant awards.

The teachers were recipients of the foundation’s fall Innovative Teacher Grants. It was a day of celebration as each teacher and classroom was visited with balloons and an oversized check.

The 16 grants ranged from $150 to $1,493 and totaled more than $13,300. The foundation projects that the awards will provide innovative learning opportunities for more than 4,400 students districtwide. Funded projects include reading, science and math projects, musical arts performances and an interactive sea turtle exhibit.

Teachers Chandra Payne and Jennifer Bell of River Ridge Academy submitted the top-rated grant application for the fall cycle and were awarded the Dr. Valerie Truesdale Innovative Teacher Grant Award, the former superintendent who was instrumental in starting the Foundation for Educational Excellence in 2007. The grant funds for the River Ridge teachers will allow students to demonstrate an understanding of how scientists classify organisms and how the structures, processes, behaviors and adaptations of animals allow them to survive.

Established in 2007, the foundation awarded its first grants in 2009. Grants of up to $750 are awarded to individual teachers and up to $1,500 for team requests twice each year, and thousands of students have benefitted since 2009. The $13,300 awarded today brings the foundation’s giving to over $145,000 since grants were first awarded in 2009.

The fall grant cycle was partially funded by The Bargain Box of Hilton Head Island and the Friends of Callawassie, as well as contributions from the Rotary Club of Okatie, individuals and the Foundation’s major fundraiser, “Jewels and Jeans.” The spring fund-raiser offers an opportunity for attendees to “Fund a Grant” by pledging money toward partial funding of the foundation’s grants.
“The foundation is appreciative of its supporters who allow these grants to be awarded to well-deserving, innovative teachers,” said Jackie Rosswurm, the foundation’s chair. “The impact these grants will have on the students’ learning is immeasurable, and we feel honored to play a part in implementing these creative ideas.”

Another example from the fall grant cycle is third-grade teacher Jennifer Friend-Kerr at Hilton Head Island Elementary for Creative Arts. Her “Virtual Field Trips” project will give students a multidimensional approach to learning about science and social studies through technology, inquiry and project learning. Using student iPads and the product Nearpod, students will research and attend virtual field trips. They will manipulate the touch screen of their iPads to explore panoramic views of geographic locations using the modules on the Nearpod website.

A third example is a grant awarded to Kevin Murphy at Hilton Head Island Elementary. His “EZ Scan Walking Club” is a fitness application that works with iPads to track students’ progress towards a fitness goal. The system tallies the students’ mileage, and students receive incentives for different levels of miles. The program will also work in relation to core subjects in the classroom, with emphasis on distance, measurements as well as short-term and long-term goal setting.

Another grant was awarded to teachers Willard Smith and Bradley Williams, at Whale Branch Elementary School. The “Drums Alive” research-based program applies fitness, drumming, music and educational concepts designed to improve the health of children by disseminating evidence-based physical education and music education programs to teachers. With help from the grant, students will combine rhythm and movement to learn different routines allowing for the students to learn rhythm concepts in a fun new way.

List of fall grant awards for fall 2016
· What Can It Be? – River Ridge Academy; Chandra Payne and Jennifer Bell; $1,290
· Float My Boat – Pritchardville Elementary; Jill Brickley; $578.47
· EZ Scan Walking Club – Hilton Head Island IB Elementary; Kevin Murphy; $150
· James and the Giant Peach Jr: The Musical – Hilton Head Island IB Elementary; Helen Ashton and Anna Flanagan; $1,286.57
· Reading to Understand Me! – Robert Smalls International Academy; Jacqueline E. Lawton; $742.42
· Amazing Abacus Learning – Hilton Head Island IB Elementary; Kelsey Schuessler; $350
· Act Like You Read It! – Coosa Elementary; Renee Roberts, Ellen Dounn, Willa Simpson and Kristin Hibbitt; $1,437.70
· Disney’s The Lion King Jr. – Mossy Oaks Elementary; Christopher Crabb, Nicholas Glick and William James ; $1,493.50
· Sea Turtle Interactive Exhibit – Hilton Head Elementary School for the Creative Arts; Molly Lloyd; $320
· Textos Infomativos – Hilton Head Middle School; Irma Rameizl, Aura Zuleta, Angela Oviedo and Jennifer Munguia; $1,406.24
· Virtual Fieldtrips – Hilton Head Elementary School for Creative Arts; Jennifer Friend-Kerr; $295.40
· Lessons Learned Through Biographies – Hilton Head Island IB Elementary; Lena H. Beason; $767.14
· Drums Alive – Whale Branch Elementary; Willard Smith and Bradley Williams; $1,490
· Reading is Forever! – Hilton Head Island IB Elementary; Jenni Carol D’Angelo; $609.40
· Page to Stage – Lady’s Island Elementary; Carol Dawson and Elizabeth Tenecyk; $750
· OSMO in the Library! – Coosa Elementary; Lynda Jernigan; $400.68