Education Foundation announced teacher grants |

Education Foundation announced teacher grants

Taylor Eisenman, of the Record staff

The Park City Education Foundation (PCEF) visited schools throughout the district last week to announce the recipients of its 2007-2008 teacher grants. The foundation awarded more than $25,000 to teachers and other faculty members, but had almost $70,000 in requests.

A committee of 13 members, made up of seven school liaisons, three community members, chair Lynn Cier, curriculum director Lori Gardner and former board member and long-time grant selection committee member Melanie Moffat, all worked together to decide how to allocate the money.

"We had a huge thick pile of grants to go through that we had to whittle down to $25,000 to give away," Cier said. Cier has been with PCEF for about three years. She has been a board member for two years and was asked to be the chair for the grants committee this year.

Committee member Jody Jamison said she wished they had more money, "Every grant has merit and every teacher that submits a grant has worked really hard," said. "There were many grants that we were unable to fund that were deserving."

Monika Guendner, the marketing, PR and outreach coordinator for PCEF, actively sought additional funding for those grants PCEF couldn’t provide monies for. They are in the process of securing another possible $17,000 to fund these other projects.

"She’s fabulous," Jamison said about Guendner. "She doesn’t leave any stone unturned when it comes to finding funding for these programs."

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One such grant came from district art elementary specialist JoAnn Memmott, Guendner said. Memmott had developed art lesson plans that teachers could incorporate into their subjects. The committee took her program to the district and Gardner gave her a promise that that Memmott’s program would be funded by the district.

There are several factors that go into the committee’s decision-making process, Cier said. "We have a rubric and there are three different kinds of grants. The criteria is pretty specific for some," she said. "If a program is going to have a broader affect that weighs heavily in the decision, or if there’s a hole that we can fill that’s not being filled anywhere else."

As chair, Cier selected the committee members and worked with PCEF administration to get to every school to announce in person that the grant applications were online. "It gives them a face and let’s them know if they have any questions they can come to me," she said. "It’s important to do it in person and not just with flyers."

Once the committee receives the grants it is a "well-thought-out process," Jamison said. " the time it’s done, every grant has been thoroughly investigated and discussed. Alternative funding had been looked into and then we finalized the decision."

Jamison was the committee’s liaison for Jeremy Ranch Elementary School. "We’ve gone in and talked to the teachers and we are kind of their voice," she said.

Krista Ingle, Small Steps = Great Leaps

This year, the committee was able to fund or partially fund grants from each school in the district that applied. Krista Ingle a special education teacher at Trailside Elementary School received full funding for her program "Small Steps = Great Leaps."

The monies will go for sensory communication devices and special reading books for special-needs students. "It is stuff that is not necessarily academic, but things that will help kids be more successful in school," Ingle said. She plans to purchase attention buzzers for teachers and students to help them stay on task, as well as interactive reading books with pictures that match to words, communication devices and slant boards.

"For students, it helps them to either be in the classroom just a little bit longer, sit longer, and be on task longer," she said. "For teachers, it helps in the behavior of the classroom and academically keeps things moving."

The school has never had communication devices before, and it is essential for those students who cannot communicate any other way, she said. Ingle is excited about the books as well. "The books are going to be fabulous for the prereading for some students who are just on the cusp and need a little bit more help," she said.

Lori Anderson, Language B and Multicultural Materials

Ecker Hill International Middle School Librarian Lori Anderson also received partial funding for reading materials for the school’s library. "I went to an IB (International Baccalaureate) conference in October for librarians in IB schools," she said.

That’s where Anderson got the idea for supplementing Ecker’s library with more multi-cultural and second-language books. Ecker Hill will have a site visit from IB representatives as the last step in its certification process. "I wanted to beef up our library for that reason," she said.

Anderson hopes the second-language reading materials will give students who are studying different language the opportunity to read more books outside of the classroom in that language. She plans on ordering the materials as soon as possible. "I want the students who are going here now to be able to enjoy them," she said.

Anderson plans on putting up displays with the reading materials she will purchase and incorporating them into the lessons she teaches.

Michelle Wallace, Robotics Engineering for Fifth Grade

Jeremy Ranch Elementary School Principal Michelle Wallace said she hopes her grant for a robotics engineering project will help give a real-life application of education to the school’s fifth-grade students.

"This is one of the hardest things for kids to see: what’s the end result, where is all this education taking me?" she said. "With this unit they can see that with the math and technology there is an end result."

The funding Wallace received will cover 12 Mindstorms and two NXT Robotics packages, enabling three of the five fifth-grade classrooms to be working at one time. The other two classes will pick up where the previous three left off after about a month to six weeks, Wallace said.

"I just wanted to engage our students in a new and interesting way," Wallace said. The idea for the grant emerged after a trip to Legoland this past summer where you can actually program the robots to do something.

"There’s a quest you have to fulfill. The kids work with a partner and they make decisions on how to complete the task. If it works you celebrate, and if it doesn’t, then you keep trying to figure it out," she said.

Wallace said she was thrilled that the committee granted the money to Jeremy Ranch and that the school is taking off with the program.

Wanda Taylor, Self Defense: Kick Boxing

Another innovative project the committee granted money for was a self-defense kick boxing course submitted by physical education and health teacher at Treasure Mountain International Middle School Wanda Taylor.

Taylor already has a self defense unit whose equipment was originally funded by a teachers grant. She said through this money she will be adding more equipment for her self-defense class, as well as purchasing Wavemaster punching bags for her new kick boxing class.

It was her students that inspired her to write the grant, Taylor said. "What I’ve found is that kids that don’t like traditional PE units really like doing this kind of stuff," she said. "Everyone can be successful and it’s good cardio fitness. Some kids aren’t competitive and we have to find stuff for students that aren’t into team sports in order to keep them healthy."

Instead of handing out tests, Taylor gives her students reflection papers where students write about their experiences in her class. "In a lot of the reflections I have gotten ‘we love doing this because we’ve never done it before,’" she said of the original self-defense classes.

She said that kick boxing is a lifetime activity that these kids can continue to enjoy as they get older. Taylor plans on ordering the Wavemasters over winter break. "This whole thing wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the Education Foundation," she said.

Sherie Gibson, Diagnosing Dyslexia Seminar

Parley’s Park Elementary School Reading Specialist Sherie Gibson will attend a Diagnosing Dyslexia Seminar this summer in California with her grant money. "I would like to share what I learn with the other reading specialist in the district and our Student Success Teams," she said. "My biggest goal is to learn about proper and early diagnosis.

"It is the most common and prevalent of all learning disabilities, and it’s the leading cause of reading failure. I just felt like we needed to be better informed if we wanted to reach our goal as one of the top 10 school districts in the nation."

Jill Proffit, Reading materials for Sheltered Instruction in Science

Jill Proffit, who teaches a sheltered science class at Treasure Mountain, is also working to make learning easier for her English Language Learner students. "The reason I wrote the grant was because I realized the textbooks that we have were not helping," she said.

Students in Proffit’s class are taken out of their regular classes to learn at a pace that’s better for them, but how can they learn at an eighth-grade science level, she questioned, if they can only read at a first- and second-grade level?

Proffit plans to order materials that are more at their reading level for her students with bigger pictures, bigger print and highlighted words. "And they coordinate with the core," she said. "I just thought we could do this better by hitting the core and trying to improve their reading comprehension."

Proffit said she told her students about the books and they were really excited. "Sometime I think they feel like they get lost in the shuffle," she said, and these reading materials will help them realize that the school is trying to make changes to help them.

PCEF also allocated money to these grant recipients

(Information provided by Park City Education Foundation)

Margie Stafford and Cortney Chambers at Parley’s Park Elementary are the recipients of a Nele Needham Art & Special Needs Grant and the Nancy DeFord Educator Initiative Grant to fully fund The Listening Program, a proven auditory-based learning enhancement program. This grant includes training for one teacher, equipment, and the program to help at-risk students improve their auditory processing skills, thereby increasing the ability to listen, learn and communicate.

Kathy Harmston, Kara Brechwald, Holly Gooch, Dana Reilly, Anna Williams, Mary Kay Becker, Lindsey Baxter and Marilyn Baily-Stowe at Treasure Mountain, Trailside Elementary and Park City High School have been granted full funding through the Linda Singer Berrett "Differentiating the Curriculum" Grant for Using Boardmaker Pictures to Enhance Communication for At-Risk Students. This software allows students with limited verbal and non-verbal skills, as well as those learning English as a second language, to communicate through the choice of symbols and pictures. This is an extension of the already popular program in all other PCSD schools.

Librarian Margery Hadden at McPolin Elementary is the recipient of partial funding through the Linda Singer Berrett "Differentiating the Curriculum" Grant for Audio Books to Help All Students Have Access to Literature. The funding will begin an audio-book collection at McPolin to support students struggling to read on grade level, as well as push other students to tackle literature above their current reading level.

Melissa Bott and Mona Lesar at McPolin Elementary are the recipients of a Nancy DeFord Educator Initiative Grant to fully fund the Spanish Interactive Reading Program. This grant will pay for the purchase of fiction and nonfiction books written in Spanish. The teachers will use these books to train parents to help their children at home with reading and comprehending material in their first language, thereby improving achievement in the English language studies.

Rebecca Webber and Aaron Webb at Ecker Hill International Middle School were the recipients of a Nancy DeFord Educator Initiative Grant to partially fund their Wireless Microphone Systems request. Three additional systems will enhance many areas of the performing arts program found at the school. The equipment will support students as they showcase their works in concerts, musical theater, plays, auditions, as well as solo and small ensemble performances, an unusual treasure of opportunities at the middle school level.

More 2007-2008 Grant Applicants

The Park City Education Foundation was not able to fund all of the grants it received

Park City Education Foundation received almost $70,000 in grant requests from teachers, librarians, specialists and one principal. Unfortunately PCEF was only able to fund about $25,000 of those requests.

"The important thing in this process," committee member Jody Jamison said, "is that even though we couldn’t fund all the requests, every teacher deserves recognition for going above and beyond their normal, everyday classroom obligations."

Here are the grant requests PCEF could not fund:

(Information provided by Park City Education Foundation)

Joan Thompson (McPolin Elementary School) LCD projector dedicated to the art program at McPolin

JoAnn Memmott (All four elementary schools) Visual arts K-6 lesson plans for incorporating the state core art curriculum in the classroom

Dottie Czerny and Elizabeth Weiss (Trailside Elementary School) Recording grade-level books to enhance reading skills and enjoyment

Holly Gooch (Treasure Mountain International Middle School) Tuition and travel for five economically-disadvantaged English Language Learner student to attend Teton Science School during winter break

Terry Daenitz, Lorrie Mirams and Michelle Owen (Trailside Elementary School) Media cart, comprehension discs and nanos for fifth grade

Peg Billing (All four elementary schools) Author "Visit & Study" during National Library Week

Anne-Marie Buckland (McPolin Elementary School) Art equipment for McPolin Art Program

Nancy Witt (McPolin Elementary School) LanguageLinks software to aid language-challenged students with learning syntax (the way in which words are put together to form phrases, clauses and sentences)

Janet Lignugaris (McPolin Elementary School) Field trip to demonstrate two paths in life one of success by attending college after high school and one of failure by landing in jail

Melissa Bott (McPolin Elementary School) Talking Symbols Notepad to compensate for students with short and/or long term memory delays

Karen Bleicher (Parley’s Park Elementary School) Wireless infrared sound system for the classroom

Cathryn Provines & Elise Miner (Parley’s Park Elementary School) International Reading Association annual convention registration

Elisabeth Wadman (Ecker Hill International Middle School) Stability balls and adjustable desks to accommodate different sizes of students and challenge them with dynamic seating