Solanco Education Foundation awards $6,000 in teacher grants

| December 3, 2014

The Solanco Education Foundation has awarded 12 Academic Venture Grants totaling $6,000 to Solanco teachers that will enable them to provide new educational programs and tools for Solanco students.

The foundation announced the availability of the grants in May and received outstanding applications from teachers and educators. Applications were carefully reviewed by the foundation’s Academic Venture Grant Committee and the following 12 proposals were chosen to receive grant funding:

Leslie McRobbie, Solanco High School English teacher
Project:  Hear, Hear! Supporting Differentiated Reading Instruction with Listening
Grant will purchase three classroom Kindle Fires, three sets of headphones, and the audio books for four of the books read in McRobbie’s Modern Novels course. The books are The Road by Cormac McCarthy, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safron-Foer, Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom, and Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.  According to McRobbie, “multiple media has proven to be a highly-effective and motivating form of differentiating, particularly for learners who struggle with focus, engagement, or pacing. Audio books allow students to better understand tone and content delivery. Moreover, it will help engage the learner and will lead to student success.”

Caley Roark, Solanco High School gifted support teacher
Project: Classroom tools for use in “Odyssey of the Mind”
Odyssey of the Mind is an international educational program that provides creative problem-solving opportunities for students from kindergarten through college. Team members apply their creativity to solve problems from building mechanical devices to presenting their own interpretations of literary classics. The grant will purchase a rechargeable cordless drill, pre-constructed tool kit, rotary tool kit (dremel tool), clamp assortment, folding work table, and a tool box or bag for building mechanical devices. Solanco’s Odyssey of the Mind teams have earned three trips to the Pennsylvania state finals, and an 11th place World Finals finish in 2014.

Irene Lefever, Todd Brown, Solanco High School teachers
Project: FORE! Mini Golf Course Design
The grant will purchase materials needed for students to construct a miniature golf course to be used by the residents at the Quarryville Presbyterian Retirement Community. Students in Irene Lefever’s physics part II will study the concepts of energy changes, momentum and forces when designing the course. Students will have the “opportunity to study a physics problem that has a real world application and that the students can see from the design stage through to the product actually being used.” Students in Todd Brown’s design engineering classes will build the mini golf course.

Cindy Willman-Kinsey, Swift Middle School 7th grade science teacher
Project: Transitions from Matter to Energy for a Sustainable Future
Old tires donated by the community will be used as a foundation for multiple raised gardens constructed within the environmental site on school grounds. Smaller gardens will be established near the school. Donated food grade barrels will be used as rain barrels to support the gardens. A lean-to structure will be constructed to collect rain water. According to Willman-Kinsey, “Through the use of compost bin and classroom lessons, 7th graders know that bacteria and other decomposers recycle organic matter into nutrient-rich soil. This project will enable them to witness how those nutrients are transferred into energy in the form of plant food. This will expose students to a service-learning component which emphasizes critical thinking skills while helping to solve real issues such as hunger within our local community.”

Alison McPherson, Swift Middle School teacher, and Jennifer Pearson, Swift guidance counselor
Project: We Challenge Swift
Rachel’s Challenge is a national non-profit organization dedicated to creating  safe, connected school environments where learning and teaching are maximized. “Rachel’s Challenge provides a continual improvement process for schools designed to awaken the learner in every child.” The grant will purchase Rachel’s Challenge materials, including classroom manuals, classroom activity books, Beyond Bullying Seminar Manual, and Character in Action workbooks. Materials will be used to improve school culture, allowing students to learn in a safe environment.

Sandy Lee, Smith Middle School 6th grade LEAD teacher
Project: Just Dance
The grant will purchase a Wii, games, and remotes which will be used at Smith to provide additional opportunities to become and stay physically fit by dancing. According to Lee, the Wii will be used during her Just Dance club, and during times when recess is held indoors. “There are limitations to the activities done during indoor recess and Just Dance would give students another option to be active but not in a competitive way. Just Dance helps students to be successful and build confidence.”

Emily Miller, Quarryville Elementary kindergarten teacher
Project: Differentiated Center
The grant will purchase materials including Syllable Count Instant Learning Center, Beginning Sounds Match-Ups, Ending Sounds Match-Ups, Build-A-Word Magnet Board, Vowel Teaching Tubs, and others. According to Miller, “These activities will allow me to better differentiate for all of my students’ strengths and weaknesses. I will use these activities to reinforce skills that are being taught in our classroom and for my struggling learners. I will use some of these activities in extending and refining activities for my more advanced students.”

Janet Braightmeyer, Quarryville Elementary music teacher
Project: Recorders
The grant will purchase one plastic soprano recorder for each third grade student that they will use in a step-by-step program through fifth grade during which they learn nine songs; each song introduces something new and progressively more challenging.  According to Braightmeyer, “As part of note reading and learning rhythms, recorders will be a motivational tool to enhance students’ learning as well as allow students to apply what they have learned. This program will give all students additional opportunities to move forward independently, as well as providing a challenge for all.”

Allison Lane, Providence Elementary 4th grade teacher
Project: Reading Olympics
The grant will purchase books for use in the Reading Olympics. Teams of 4th and 5th grade students will be given a list of 30 books to read by May. Lane said, “In May, the teams will come together along with an audience of family, friends and staff for the competition the students have been working toward all year. The students will participate in three rounds of comprehension questions.” The teams with the highest scores will receive a gold, silver or bronze medal. “This program will inspire students to read books they may not have discovered on their own. It will instill teamwork and responsibility.”

Karen Kopp, Kara Phipps, Courtney Wagner, special education teachers at Clermont Elementary
Project: Equipping our Sensory Room
The goal is to “place appropriate, meaningful sensory equipment in the designated sensory room, case manager classrooms and general education classrooms to benefit our students with sensory diet needs and improve their overall success as learners.” Students with sensory diet needs require specially-designed instruction per their Individual Education Programs (IEPs) and therefore sensory materials are imperative to their success. The materials, including noise reduction earmuffs, concentration rockers, emotion putty, massagers, wiggle cushions and wobble chair, will enable students to have the sensory input they need, making them more likely to perform more adequately and function better within the classroom.

Karen Huber, Bart-Colerain Elementary School music teacher
Project: FootNOTES Music Rug
With the FootNOTES Music Rug, students will learn about the notes on the treble clef staff. Students will learn by standing on the place where the notes go. The rug will also be used during games to reinforce what students have learned.

Judy Argue, Bart-Colerain Elementary School 2nd grade teacher
Project: At Their Fingertips
The grant will purchase chair pockets for student chairs. The bags are put over the back of the chair, and have pockets to hold books, pencils and other important items. According to Argue, “Students would have their books right at their fingertips whenever there is an opportunity to read or an assignment to read.”

The Solanco Education Foundation creates new and enhanced educational opportunities within the district by awarding grants to teachers and scholarships to students. To date, the Foundation has awarded more than 100 Academic Venture Grants to teachers totaling more than $53,000.

Solanco Education Foundation
President:          William Coble
Vice President: Susan Broomell
Treasurer:         William Musser
Secretary:          Kathy Eberly
Terry Becker
Fan Bender
Cindy Coble
Joanne Diedrich
Julie Duvall
Cathy Kaschak
Jane Martin
Steve Mitchell
Brenda Roark
Sandy Tucker  –  non-voting member
Keith Kaufman:  Executive Director, non-voting member




Category: Elementary News, Featured Stories, High School News, Middle School News, Uncategorized

About the Author ()

Keith Kaufman is the Director of Community Relations for Solanco School District. 786-5617.

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