WASD Education Foundation grants support projects

The Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation recently awarded $9,729 to fund seven projects as part of this year’s Teacher Mini-Grant Program.

It also awarded $2,400 to two Educator-in-Residence projects as part of the program using funds from the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania through Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) donations received from Brodart Co. and CRS Inc., FNB Corp., FTS International Services and Woodlands Bank.

The Teacher Mini-Grant Program is designed to give district teachers the ability to enhance educational opportunities and activities for students through innovative and creative projects on an annual basis. Each year, teachers have the chance to receive up to $1,500 per project and have up to six months to develop and submit their applications.

Ranging in areas from the arts to technology to special education, each of the applications approved exemplifies the ability to enhance the learning experience for students to the tune of the Foundation’s mission.

The following is a listing of each grant awarded:

Supporting Student Achievement Through the Integration of iPads in the Treasures Curriculum ($1,297) – Sheridan Elementary School teachers Lynne Piotrowski and Beth Lyons will give students the opportunity to research material provided within Treasures, the district’s new kindergarten to fifth-grade reading program, by using iPad applications.

SSS: Student Success Skills Program ($1,455) – Round Hills Elementary School Principal Cindy Schuyler and counselor Billie Miller will implement an evidence-based program counselors can use to assist students to achieve both academically and personally. Student Success Skills targets academic and personal outcomes, with research on the program having shown consistent patterns of improved academic achievement.

Saltwater Fish Breeding Program ($1,500) – Williamsport Area High School science teacher Larry Flint will create an exhibit with a tank of breeding clownfish pairs and a separate tank of baby clownfish at various stages of development to study genetic diversity. Knowledge gained will be shared on websites such as ReefConservations.org and MrFlint.com with pictures, videos and text as students create logs of their studies.

“When I Grow Up, I Want to Be ” ($1,500) -WAHS and Hepburn-Lycoming Elementary School art teachers Andrea McDonough-Varner and Lori Crossley will work with about 75 high school students and 75 Hepburn-Lycoming fifth-grade students to create two permanently installed murals at both schools. The project will illustrate the dreams students have for their future, depicting the influences of how teachers, parents, community members and educational experiences have guided their dreams. The two murals will be combined and put on display at each school to show students how goals and dreams can sometimes remain the same and how they can change.

Spectroscopy ($1,468) – WAHS science teachers Tara Carl, Jennifer Flint and Andrew Paulhamus will give students a more hands-on approach when studying the concept of spectroscopy, the study of energy absorbed by atoms and the resulting light emitted when they’re excited.

“Sticking Together” ($1,050) – Elementary Librarian Sarah Bohnert and Jackson Elementary School art teacher Sandra Corson will work with students to create an in-house art gallery at the elementary school’s library. The project will bring the experience of viewing art in a museum or gallery, and the grant will allow for the creation and installation of the initial artwork.

“Sensory Room at Jackson Elementary School” ($1,458) – Autistic support teacher Andrea Turner will use funds to create a sensory room at the elementary school to provide students with an environment that is sensitive to their sensory needs, as well as provide an appropriate atmosphere for students to gain sensory input and release energy.

Additionally, the two Educator-in-Residence projects funded through EITC dollars are:

“The Art of Storytelling” ($1,500) -WAHS drama teacher Marie Fox will invite writer Fiona Siobhan Powell into her classroom to work with her advanced drama students as a core group to guide them on how to tell their own stories and write out their own scripts. Using research and workshops on writing to construct their pieces, the end of the project will culminate with performances to a larger audience.

“Orchestra Study with Jeffrey Turner” ($900) – WAHS orchestra teacher Matthew Radspinner will invite Jeffrey Turner, director of Orchestral Studies at Duquesne University, to work with students in a private setting to increase their musical ability and talent.

For more information, visit www.wasd. org/foundation.