Professional Development (McKenzie)
Two veteran, and highly acclaimed, McKenzie teachers (Jane Dolkart and Jennifer Weill) received a Foundation grant to attend a prestigious professional development program at the Center for Teaching & Learning, a demonstration site and lab school, where the faculty helps other teachers understand what is possible for their classrooms and schools. The program has a special focus on literacy across the curriculum. Our District teachers will bring back what they have learned from the internship, and mentor other teachers and graduate students.
WittFitt Balls (Central)
The Foundation will pilot 1st grade teacher Lori Hirsch’s “move your body and your brain initiative” by funding WittFitt balls for her class. The inflatable ball chairs will help to create an active instructional environment in the classroom. The reported benefits of ball chairs include improved posture and balance, enhanced concentration and attention, stronger core (postural) and back muscles, and enhanced learning through movement.
Climbing Wall (Romona)
To further support our students’ physical, mental, social and emotional growth, a grant has been awarded to Romona PE teacher Bill Schaaf for a Traverse Climbing Wall. This horizontal wall lets young students climb side-to-side at a safe height of only 2.5’ off the ground, providing both physical and mental challenges while giving a positive alternative to a sedentary lifestyle.
AirLiner Wireless Slate (WJHS)
The Foundation has long supported math initiatives within the District, and is continuing that support through a grant to Andrea Kowalchik to pilot an Airliner Wireless Slate. This technology allows teachers to connect to the SmartBoard wirelessly, so they can move about the classroom and continue the lesson on the SmartBoard, while checking on student work and comprehension; students can also work on the board from their desks.
Environmental Awareness/Read Across America (Central)
A Gripp Grant funding copies of Dr. Seuss’ “The Lorax” for every classroom, and 5 copies of the DVD will help students throughout Central School integrate “green” initiatives into their annual “Read Across America” celebration. Students will make plans for a “green” activity, then write about these ideas and share them with the Lorax itself.
Hands-on Mosaic Murals (HMS)
The entire middle school will be involved in designing and creating a set of mosaic murals for the school cafeteria, using ancient mosaic techniques and modern glass tiles. Students will be replicating famous works of art, while studying about the artists and artwork. This grant is made possible through the Lydia Martin Memorial Fund, honoring a McKenzie student who loved art.
The Warming House (Community)
Recognizing the social and emotional stresses adolescents face as they transition to high school, the Foundation is helping support expansion of the Warming House’s programs to include 8th graders. The Warming House provides mentorship, builds self-esteem, develops identity and character, and emphasizes social responsibility for the community’s vulnerable teens. The Foundation grant will be used for guest speakers to address self-esteem, bullying, and other teen issues.