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Westerville Education Foundation Fall 2013 Grant Recipients Announced

Friday, November 1, 2013

The Westerville Education Foundation has announced that nine grants will be funded during its Fall Grant Cycle as follows:

  • Ann Rochon and Betsy Gambone, Early Learning Center (ELC), $1,000 for “Multisensory Art Studio for Preschool Students.”  The ELC’s current art room has been underutilized due to insufficient materials and instructional availability.  At the beginning of the school year, the studio was arranged into five centers to introduce children to new hands-on experiences in the areas of sensory integration, science, language arts, math, fine motor, gross motor and art education.  Items purchased will allow stations to be changed weekly in order to stimulate the senses, spark creativity, encourage critical thinking, refine cognitive skills, and enrich overall academic achievement and school success.  

  • Vicki Shepherd, Early Learning Center, $359 for the purchase of one “Second Step Early Learning Kit.”  This kit supports teaching social emotional skills and self-regulation in a developmentally appropriate way that is engaging for young children.  Currently, the 2002 version is being used.  It was helpful in fostering self-control and facilitating positive social skills, however it was designed for kindergarten pupils.  In 2011 an updated version was developed to include an Early Learning program specifically geared toward the needs of younger children.  The new kit will be used and evaluated for the district.  

  • Marsha Siefker and Eric Indiciani, Robert Frost Elementary School, $998.24 for “Fit Frosties.”  The Robert Frost Elementary Wellness Committee started a voluntary, before-school club for students who are training to run in a 5k charity race in the spring.  Funding will allow the group to purchase items like pulse/heart rate monitors, aerobic steps, tennis balls, exercise bands and agility ladders, along with healthy, non-edible incentives for meeting participation goals, like club logo string bags, motivational stickers, mini erasers and pencils. Fitness and academic gains will be measured.  

  • Christine Doolittle, Hawthorne Elementary, up to $400 for a “Nature Play and Learning Area.” This area will be built in a low-lying space in between two existing mulch playground areas, in a section currently covered by grass and mud.  The soil will be dug up and mounded on the sides for garden beds to be used by students for planting.  Crushed rock or gravel will create natural drainage during rainy times.  Slices of tree trunks will provide a path where children can walk and hop from circle to circle.  The area will give students an alternative play area at recess for those who are less inclined to use the metal play structures and would prefer to relax near a hedge with a book, or play with natural materials.

  • Katie Wirthlin and Rachel Schultz, McVay Elementary School, $1,000 for “Clay Caching,” an accessible project that will support students in creating their own form of Geo Caching.  Pupils will work together in inclusive settings to create ceramic sculptures that are symbolic of an element of themselves, inspired by a life event, belief or experience.  They will create a sculpture that visually depicts an important time or event in their lives, then will bury it outside on school grounds.  The longitude and latitude will be calculated and recorded, and other students will be charged with finding it, excavating it, and writing about what they think each sculpture depicts.  

  • Amanda McQuown, Wilder Elementary School, $1,000 for a “Wilder Book Busters Club for Grades 1-5.”  This club began in 2012-2013.  Approximately 100 students met once a week during recess in small groups to read together a selected book.  Students who completed the book got to keep it.  Activities related to the books took place, along with an afterschool pizza and movie when books were finished.  The objectives of Book Busters are to encourage students to read more, to inspire a love for good literature, and to support building home libraries for students who do not have books in their homes.  

  • Leah Gaines, Genoa Middle School, up to $710 for improvements for “Jaguar Update TV announcements.”  Money will be used to enhance recording and sound quality for this venture, which was started last year.  A laptop will be purchased along with a newer version of the editing program so students and teachers can have all the editing and processing capability needed to make it work well.

  • David Schultz, Westerville South High School, $150 for “Supporting Understanding of Math Concepts through the use of Graphic Aids.”   With the use of Smartboard technology, teachers are able to show visual displays that help students understand math concepts.  However, when the concepts have basic information that is helpful for the students to recall, flipping back and forth between Smartboard screens can be distractive to the learning process.  This project will allow teachers to have large posters of important concepts that can be displayed in the room for quick access by students who are solving math problems.  The posters will be made by enlarging 8 ½ x 11-inch Word documents to 18 x 24-inch or 24 x 36-inch posters.  

  • Daphne Irby and Kimi Dodds, District, up to $998.14 for “Using the SMART Notebook App with Think Central Resources for Whole Group and Small Group Instruction.” Interactive whiteboards (SMARTBoards) have been an important tool in fostering interactivity in classrooms; however, the boards themselves are expensive and not all teachers have access.  The grant money will be used to purchase 286 SMART Notebook apps for district iPads.  This app will provide the ability to run SMART Exchange lessens that are presently used in classrooms with interactive whiteboards.  Using this app with the Reflector mirroring app essentially turns whiteboards into SMARTBoards without paying the cost of actual boards.  Because iPads are being used, these lessons can also be utilized in small group instruction and for working with individuals.  In addition, the newly adopted math curriculum materials (GoMath) have Common Core Interactive whiteboard lessons for each grade level.  This app would allow whole group and small group instruction on iPads.  

Recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony on November 15 at the Westerville Public Library.

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