The Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation recently awarded $8,096 to fund six projects as part of its Teacher Mini-Grant Program.
The 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.
The program saw a growth in the amount offered per project this year: $1,500 - up from $1,000 given in previous years.
Operating on a $1,000 Teacher Mini-Grant budget during the 2010-11 school year, high school counselors Stuart Roe and Phyllis Sieber designed a success program for 12 freshmen selected from each of their case loads. Over the course of nine sessions, the group focused on team-building activities, leadership, goals, communication skills, academic success and trust exercises. Here, the group poses as they put those skills to the test at Bloomsburg University, where they were faced with the capstone mission to complete the Quest program’s high ropes course as a team.
In addition, teachers were allowed up to six months to develop and submit their applications.
Ranging in areas from art to technology to special education, each of the applications awarded exemplifies a strength in innovation to enhance the learning experience for students to the tune of the foundation's mission.
The following is a listing of each grant awarded:
Education is Knowledge and Knowledge is Power ($1,500) - Art teachers Carrie Bosch and Lori Crossley, along with assistance from Lycoming College's adjunct art professor Jeremiah Johnson, will lead about 250 students in creating a permanently installed mural at WAHS. Using personal stories and knowledge, students will illustrate their ideas to represent "the more you know, the more you can change the world." The project will be student-documented, using pictures, videos and written testimonials. The project will culminate with a public art show.
Scrumptious Snack Cart ($1,449) - Led by teacher Bonnie Williams at the high school, life skills, autistic and multiple disability students will have the opportunity to learn and use job-related skills by counting, comparing and making change using a collection of coins and $1 bills and put to use learned measurement skills. The project is designed to help enhance expressive communication and receptive communication, as well as hone management principles. Twice a week, students will take their "Scrumptious Snack Cart" to each floor of the high school during an activity period to sell a variety of nutritional snack food to students and staff.
The Greening of Art Education ($1,500) - At Hepburn Lycoming Elementary School, art teacher Andrea McDonough Varner will use sustainable, eco-friendly and recyclable materials to create a "green" piece of community art with her fifth-grade students. While the goal is to ultimately complete the project by the end of the year, McDonough Varner's goal is to "create a 'greener' art experience for the children" to help transform the school environment.
Preview + Read = Succeed ($1,500) - Curtin Middle School teachers Marcy McCann and Stephanie Wolfanger have designed a project to boost Pennsylvania System of School Assessment scores by implementing the use of iPod technology. The iPods will serve as a supplemental intervention practice for at-risk students to preview upcoming grade-level content on a daily basis to catch them up to speed and help increase student achievement to provide for a lift in their standardized test scores.
My American Hero ($918.38) - About 96 11th-grade honors students in Elizabeth Segraves' classes will individually identify a person whom he or she believes to be an American hero - someone who has shaped American society and culture. After conducting rounds of research, students, throughout the year, will add to their hero portfolio by creating a timeline, learning center and two other projects of their choice from a provided list or their own idea. After presenting their project to their classmates, students will have the opportunity to take their projects to the elementary schools to host a "Heroes Fair," where elementary students can visit, learn and discuss the heroes presented to them.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Club: LED Lighting Upgrade ($1,229) - Using student tech evaluations, cost-benefit analysis and the science behind it, the project will be used to introduce members of the new club to the benefits and efficiencies of LED lighting by researching, procuring and installing the lighting technology at the high school. Teacher and adviser Clark Sarge will coordinate the project.
For more information on the WASD Education Foundation, visit www.wasd.org/foundation.