South Madison Community Foundation awards Student Enhancement Grants


MADISON COUNTY — Most teachers probably would welcome extra resources to help make the classroom learning experience the best it can be.

Officials with the South Madison Community Foundation are doing their part to help and recently awarded seven county educators Student Enhancement Grants to be used this year.

The grants, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000 in value, were made possible by the foundation through its Bright Future Fund.

Officials from the foundation notified the winning educators Thursday, Jan. 12.

Delynn Hatheway, fourth-grade teacher East Elementary School, was one of the teachers awarded a grant. She and fellow teachers Veronica Collins and Ashley Gustin received $2,000 for a MakerSpace movement project.

MakerSpace allows students to make things with their hands, from tiny robots that function through code to paper circuits, she said.

“We want kids to not simply make things, but to enrich our curriculum through the use of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math),” Hatheway said.

The educators said MakerSpace is important because it prepares students to be innovators and problem-solvers.

To apply for a grant, educators submitted a short project narrative and proposed budget. It was a competitive process, with a volunteer grant committee of board members, business representatives and members of the education committee selecting the winners.

Lapel High School was awarded a $1,000 grant thanks to science teacher Donna Caudill.

The science department is excited to receive the grant, she said. It will use the money to purchase a 3-D printer.

Caudill attended a presentation last summer at a conference at Anderson University on using 3-D printers in the classroom. It got her and another science teacher thinking about the models they might be able to make and use in visualizing biological concepts.

They envisioned their students making models of cells, and the cell-dividing processes of mitosis and meiosis, or modeling transcription and translation of DNA.

“Students will not only have the opportunity to watch models being made, but will have the opportunity to design the patterns for these processes,” Caudill said.

Students will be able to create a prototype, test it and build it with the printer, reflecting the emphasis placed on STEM education.

Students will have the opportunity to use the new technology, which is growing in popularity in many occupations.

“We hope the students will have a better understanding of science and will be prepared to solve problems in the future,” Caudill said.

All the award-winning projects are aimed at building a richer learning environment and brighter future for Pendleton and Lapel students, foundation officials said.

Below is a list of the award winners.

1. Lapel Elementary PBIS Committee: Teachers Holly Manning, Amanda Russo, Christa Klettheimer, Kitty Simpson, Ryan Scott, Jill Guion, Donna Baker and Shelley Busch were awarded $2,000 for the committee for a school-wide “Paws Pride” positive behavior toolkit. A school-wide program, the toolkit provides communication and modeling posters, badges and spirit sticks. Affecting all 700 students across multiple years, “Paws Pride” will provide the structure of the school’s behavioral education for years to come.

2. Lapel Elementary and Middle School STE(A)M Team: Teachers Andrea Allison, Zach Fuqua, Robert Jennings and Drew Beahm were award $1,700 for the creation of a STE(A)M Corner serving Lapel students from kindergarten through eighth grade. The STE(A)M Corner will include grade-level-appropriate challenge cards and materials for students to design, build, make, measure, learn and solve, while channeling creativity, collaboration and communication skills.

3. Lapel High School Science Department: Science teacher Donna Caudill was awarded $1,000 to purchase a 3-D printer and replacement filament spools. The printer and corresponding instruction will satisfy new science standards and will help learners understand or visualize ideas, processes and systems.

4. Pendleton Elementary Primary teacher Tonya Boynton: She received $300 for material costs of a large-scale mosaic tile installation featuring the multiplication chart along with squares and square roots of numbers. Fourth-grade students will complete the project, and the entire school will benefit from its colorful instruction in number sense and computation, an area targeted for school-wide improvement.

5. Pendleton Elementary Intermediate: Teachers Arlene Bennett, Kim Collier and Jennifer Gosch won a grant for $2,000 for “Growing, Gathering and Giving,” a real-life application of math, science, and character development through gardening. Learning labs associated with planting, harvesting and distributing vegetables and flowers will take place in a greenhouse accessible to all students.

“The idea is that through hands-on learning in the greenhouse, students will get the necessary skills for planting and growing flowers and vegetables,” Collier said. “The flowers would be transplanted to beautify the school grounds, and the vegetables would be donated to food pantries in the community.”

6. East Elementary teachers Veronica Collins, Delynn Hatheway and Ashley Gustin: They received $2,000 to be invested in MakerSpaces for upper elementary students. Aligned with state standards, the aim is to use the new materials to develop students as innovative thinkers as they learn how things are made and conduct scientific investigations. Students will work to solve problems collaboratively across curriculum and grade level.

7. East Elementary teachers Sheila Laudig and Carissa Buck: They received $1,000 for “Kids Are Authors.” Students will increase their project stamina by group-authoring and illustrating hardcover books. A set of books will be published and added to the collection of local libraries.

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