The North Little Rock Public Education Foundation surprised educators throughout the district on Tuesday, October 4, to present Innovative Teaching Grants. These grants encourage innovative and creative teaching on all grade levels and provides finances to purchase resources that fall outside of district funding.
Boone Park Elementary: A mini grant of $500 was awarded to Xiomara Bran-Vasquez for her grant entitled Secret Garden. Mrs. Bran-Vasquez is the STEAM lab facilitator. This grant will make it possible to enhance and add to an existing garden where the students from Boone Park will work to plant, explore and learn. Funds from the Innovative Teaching Grant will cover building material, seeds and more.
Crestwood Elementary: A mini grant for $500 was presented to Heather Theodore, Gifted and Talented Facilitator for her project entitled Economics is Elementary. Economics elementary is created to bring economics an entrepreneur ship into the classroom. Students will have the opportunity to learn about supply and demand, scarcity, productive resources, investments, and owning a business this project will include food trucks, business plans, not so famous entrepreneurs, and economics for all ages.
Glenview Elementary: Tracy Penland received a $500 mini grant for her project entitled “Outdoor Classroom: Nature Enhanced Learning.” Ms. Penland is an ESOL Specialist at Glenview (and Meadow Park). This grant will help in paying for an outdoor retractable pergola, patio stones, a rain gauge, a wall thermometer, clipboards and more. Outdoor education has been proven to improve mental health, attendance, social development, test scores and attitudes towards learning. Harnessing energy through getting outdoors will be a great technique for engagement and Glenview is excited to incorporate this into their school!
Indian Hills Elementary: A collaborative grant for $851 was presented to Michael Stell, Music Teacher, and Olivia Zimmerman, Physical Education teacher. Mr. Stell and Mrs. Zimmerman will be combining music and physical education by using stability balls with the drumsticks and then aerobic exercise routine put to music. This will engage kids in both subjects and then in energetics and fun way combining both disciplines will give students a new way to experience music and physical activity.
Indian Hills Elementary: A collaborative grant for $962 was presented to Jennifer Sullivan, Kimberly Stafford and Sandra Parker, all First Grade teachers. They will be utilizing their grant funds for literacy-based centers. Students will have the opportunity to practice skills such as decoding, writing and reading daily they will be able to learn and reinforce specific skills by playing engaging and hands-on activities. They will also learn decision-making, cooperation, sharing, staying on task, and problem-solving skills. Items such as rhyming word dominoes, pebble word building trays, letter cubes, how much more will be paid for through the collaborative grant.
Lakewood Elementary: A $974 grant was awarded to Nancy Simpson and Elena Reyes-Lovins (not pictured), Gifted and Talented Facilitators for their project entitled “Quest for Learning." This project addresses several needs for Quest students to have more STEM and hands-on learning opportunities. In cooperation with Amboy Elementary, funds from this grant will go towards purchasing items to participate in a Lego league explore challenge, stock market simulation and technology opportunities utilizing a 3-D printer.
Lakewood Elementary: Lisa Hoggard, Music teacher, is launching a ukulele group and will regularly use ukuleles in the music classroom -- thanks to her $500 mini entitled “Ukilions.” Exposing all students to string instruments and the experience of learning and performing a song on an instrument is invaluable. A further impact is giving those students who are drawn to music another way to be involved and have something to look forward to at school.
Lakewood Elementary: A $1000 grant was awarded to Jamie Freyaldenhoven, Art Teacher with Kindergarten teachers Kristy Matthews, Katie Stalcup and Tiffany Bullock. Their collaborative grant will help fund costumes, set materials, decor, advertising, transportation and more for Lakewood’s Fine Arts Night. This event is a critical tool for parent engagement with student learning and Lakewood is excited to continue their tradition of excellence in this endeavor.
Lakewood Elementary: Cortney Hastings, Library Media specialist, was awarded a mini grant of $448 for the Lakewood Makerspace in the media center. Students will work collaboratively and use￼ literacy in makerspace challenges through read alouds, articles for students to digest or literature used to research.
Meadow Park Elementary: A collaborative grant of $1000 was awarded to Adhley Eaton and Jennifer Coleman for their grant entitled “Love of Literacy.” Mrs. Eaton and Mrs. Coleman are the Dyslexia Interventionists. This grant will make it possible to purchase higher interest decodables for older readers at MPE. Grant funds will cover ten series of books from High Noon books. This will provide 100 new books for Meadow Park Elementary scholars!
North Little Rock High School: A collaborative grant for $600 was presented to Stan Whisnant, EAST Facilitator and Meredith Moore, Science Teacher, along with EAST student leaders Nicholas Sela, Gavin Moore, Mason Fitzgerald, Jessica Degler and Wes Mobley. The grant written by the EAST Students, in cooperation with their Biology teacher, Mrs. Moore, and their EAST facilitator, Mr. Whisnant, is entitled “Growing that Green.” This project will explore growing plants through hydroponics. Students will be setting up multiple styles of hydroponics including deep water culture aeroponics, ebb and flow and a drip system.￼ They will grow several types of food including bell peppers, heirloom tomatoes, roma tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Funds for the grant will pay for grow lights, water pumps, containers, seeds, fertilizer, missed heads, fountain pumps, ph and ec meters, and much more.
North Little Rock High School: A collaborative grant for $672 was presented to Michael Klucher, Josh Shipman and DeAndre Lewis, Drama teachers and Alvaro Sela, Television Teacher. The grant written by the team from the Drama department in collaboration with the Television department will give students an opportunity to problem solve! The challenge to create a powerful wizard for the musical, The Wizard of Oz, is one that requires intense thought, collaboration, artistic ability and engineering. This project will utilize puppetry, practical smoke effects and animation to make the wizard seem to be alive!
NLRMS - Seventh & Eighth Grade Campus: A collaborative grant for $250 was presented to Lisa Harrison and Rosie Bartholomew, ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers. These instructors will be using the gifted money to help purchase classroom materials that represent and honor native countries, as well as games, maps and read aloud books that elicit English language practice and conversation.
NLRMS - Sixth Grade Campus: A collaborative grant for $930 was presented to Carrie Monroe, Library Media Specialist and David Mitchell, Project Lead the Way instructor. These teachers will be using the grant money to help in their makerspace environment and to provide additional resources and opportunities for students to use technology in fun and exciting ways. This grant will aid in funding programming robots, motor kits, K’Nex model building sets, stik bots, foam sheets, and other craft items. The long range benefits of this grant will provide hundreds of students hands-on opportunities to explore technology.
Ridge Road Elementary: A collaborative grant for $929 was presented to Lisa Mitchell, Meredith Shipman, and Robin Arendt, ESOL (English to Speakers of Other Languages) teachers. These instructors wrote a grant for a project entitled “Let’s Give ‘Em Something to Talk About.” This project will encourage ESOL students in the specific areas of speaking and listening. The teachers will implement the use of desk top dry erase boards, microphones, a classroom video “set” and a buzzer system to encourage students to use their voice in the classroom setting. Many ESL students are hesitant to speak in the classroom but the instructors hope that the students will become even more enthusiastic about using their voices in this multi faceted and engaging project!
Congratulations to all of the winners! Thank you, North Little Rock Public Education Foundation, for supporting our teachers, students, and entire district!