The Education Foundation Board of Trustees was pleased to receive nine applications with requests for $8,632 for the Spring 2018 grant cycle. After discussion, the Board of Trustees voted to approve six of these grants for a total of $5,342.
The six grants were subsequently also approved by the BH-BL Board of Education. They are as follows:
1. Lindsay Armbruster, Middle School Health
The funds will be used to pilot a new initiative designed to enhance the 8th grade health classes taught by Ms. Armbruster. A certified yoga teacher from the Holistic Youth Project (HYP) will provide lessons in yoga, mindfulness, and self-care. HYP is a non-profit organization helping Capital Region youth. Its goals align closely with the goals of the 8th grade health curriculum.
2. Chris Deso & Sharon Zarnofsky, Charlton Heights Elementary School
The funds will be used to purchase robotics equipment that will be kept on a cart so that it can be easily moved and used in all classrooms and all grade levels as desired. The cart will include robotics kits that can be used to enrich math and science classes and can support many different types of learners at different grade levels. The equipment will also support the Coding Club that is already offered to grade 4 and 5 students.
3. Sabine Erickson, High School Math
The funds will be used to purchase Immediate Feedback Assessment Technique scratch-off cards for use in math classes. With the cards, students get immediate feedback and a chance to earn extra points for what were previously routine multiple choice questions. In a professional development workshop and later in her own classes, Ms. Erickson witnessed how these cards can improve student engagement and discussion of math problems: “I was encouraged by the rich mathematical discussions taking place. Everyone seemed to be engaged and there was definitely ‘buy in.’ There is something very motivational about scratching off a card – the students seemed genuinely excited.”
4. Audrey King & Karen Kersch, O’Rourke Middle School Special Education
The funds will be used to pilot a Lego® Club for identified students who exhibit deficits in social cognition and pragmatic language and to purchase a set of Lego® bricks for their use. The club would provide a social outlet for students whose disability limits their opportunities to participate meaningfully and successfully in extracuricular activities.
5. Erin Lavertu, High School Special Education
This grant will provide tangible incentives for students with intensive behavior management issues. Motivating these students to attend classes and achieve academic success requires some innovative thinking. Offering tangible items as rewards will hopefully motivate the approximately 12 students a year with these problems and will help them to graduate on time.
6. Dan Swan, High School Science
Based on a Master Teacher training session Mr. Swan attended, he will use grant funds to build a new type of cloud chamber that allows students to see the contrails made by a condensing gas when particles fly through it. Because the chamber will use rubbing alcohol rather than dry ice, it will be much cheaper and easier to use in the classroom. The equipment can be used in earth science, chemistry and physics classes, all of which can involve lessons in radioactive decay.