Engaged Families and Communities

Schools Awarded Funding for Classroom Projects

December 20, 20012 | By PSC Editor

Meaningful partnerships are needed more than ever, as school funding across the country remains uncertain or is slashed to plug budget deficits. That’s why, the NEA Foundation and DonorsChoose.org teamed up to award several Priority Schools with hundreds of dollars in grant funding to create special learning-based projects. These projects range from math and reading centers to technology and art supplies.

Each school project was awarded with a matching grant of up to $500 worth in classroom materials and supplies.

The following schools and projects were awarded:

Kit Carson Elementary School (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Six projects funded, benefitting nearly 400 students

Reading Rocks – Cultivating a love of learning and reading requires engaging material, which is why funding for this project went toward the purchase of reading games, activities, and software. “With these reading games and activities, students will be enjoying friendly competition and learning at the same time,” said Honeylette Catapat.

Let’s Work Together! – To create more interaction between students during lessons and workshops, a tablet was needed to use with an interactive whiteboard. “Students can be at the board writing sentences or math problems while other students use the tablet to collaborate with them,” said Katherine Ferry.

Hey You! Get out of my Head! – Headphones were requested to help curve the noise level from dozens of hard working students. Flash drives were a part of this request, too! “Having headphones will allow students to focus on their own thoughts and creativity,” said Michelle Diaz, adding that the flash drives will help students become more responsible by letting them store their own work.

iPads, iPods, and Earbuds – Students needed ear-buds to use with iPods and iPads. “When [students] are engaged in math or reading activities, the noise level can be very distracting,” said Annette Allen. Now, “they will be able to better focus on their tasks at hand.”

All I want for Christmas is to Hear Myself Think – Busy thinkers make for noisy classrooms, which is why this class requested headphones and flash drives. “With these headphones my students will be able to maintain focus on their projects,” said Claudia Garcia, explaining that the flash drives will allow students to take work home or their local library.

Creating Lifelong Learners with the use of Learning Stations – Students needed math and reading materials to help meet the rigor and demand of core curriculum standards. Silvia Mendoza-Stout said, “We will be able to use math manipulatives to meet our math goals and we will be able to increase our library with books that can be used for independent practice and as a listening center.”

Oak Hill Elementary School (High Point, N.C.)
Three projects funded, benefitting nearly 500 students

Nonfiction Texts for Early Readers – Instilling the love of reading to early learners required having a variety of books to read, which is why this project focused on building its collection of nonfiction books. “My students will benefit from reading a variety of books,” said Wendy Haas. “We will learn facts about many topics and share with others what we learn.”

Puppet Theater for Learning – A large theatre was needed to help bring to life some of the best loved stories and songs of all time. Gwen Adamson said, “The puppet theatre is a unique and creative way to review all of my classroom guidance lessons, …[and] review all of our character education traits,” while supporting literacy.

Special Storage for Special Children – It’s not just learning how to put toys away; it’s learning how to categorize. This classroom needed a simple, clean, accessible way to display and store classroom toys. “The addition of this unique storage unit with individual cubbies and bins will allow toys to be stored and sorted by like items for easy access” said Anne Goodman, saying this helps students find toys quickly, reducing their frustration.

Totem Middle School (Marysville, Wash.)
One project funded, benefitting 60 students

Crispin: Engaging Historical Fiction – Having an engaging and well-crafted novel will give students the gift of finishing a great book, from cover to cover. “Crispin,” by Avi is that book for this group of students. “Many students lose interest when reading books independently, so I want to support their learning by reading a full-length book together,” said Kolleen Klann.

These high needs schools in Priority Schools communities were also part of this grant:

Hamilton Stem Academy (Columbus, Ohio)
One project funded, benefitting 20 students

Learning Letters Leads to Literacy – Students needed magnetic letters to practice letter identification and build upon word knowledge skills. “I work with words, letters and reading strategies to help unlock the mysteries of literacy, said Johari Mitchell. “Magnetic letters facilitate much of this work serving as models when students forget what a “b” is.”

Buckeye Middle School (Columbus, Ohio)
One project funded, benefitting 20 students

Learning Stations for the Middle School Spanish Classroom – A variety of classroom materials, from flip charts to DVD players, were needed to support an active, highly engaging classroom, where students are allowed to make choices and own their learning. “My choice of resources will be used to supplement the six learning stations that I am using to instruct my students,” said Dawn Rondot.

Beechcroft High School (Columbus, Ohio)
Two projects funded, benefitting more than 1,000 students

Good Seeds Community Garden: Learn, Connect, Grow – Connecting classroom instruction with real-world experiences required additional material, such as books, and lots of them! The purchase of books will replace photocopied handouts. “I want for my students to be able to hold the book in their hands, be able to turn the pages, and to be able to experience every dimension of reading a good book,” said Tori Washington.

Find Your Voice – Anti-bullying Project – Students at this high school needed art supplies for an anti-bullying campaign that will run at local middle and elementary schools. “This project was developed by students last year and is now expanding beyond our walls,” said Antonia Mulvilhill, explaining that this this project, called “Voice,” will teach other students to use their voices positively, to respect other voices, and to let every voice be heard.


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