Teachers get grants for innovative teaching
June 25, 2008 · Updated 12:51 PM
"Bayview High School teacher Don Zisette receives news from South Whidbey Schools Foundation president Dave Haworth about his grant award of $450 for a carpentry course. Students and teachers may have thought the Publisher's Clearing House Prize Patrol had arrived when men in tuxedos and white tennis shoes -- and carrying balloons -- descended on South Whidbey School campuses earlier this month.But the buzz of excitement created when South Whidbey Schools Foundation president Dave Haworth and vice president Ed Van Patten appeared at the schools became a matter for applause as the foundation representatives presented checks to teachers for innovative projects in their classrooms.Twelve grants totaling more than $4,000 were approved for funding by the School Foundation in the annual disbursement. The Theme Learning Technology project at the Intermediate school, led by teacher Joyce Hewitson, will purchase books which guide students through Internet theme studies. A grant awarded to Susan Morris at the Primary School will be used to buy garden materials, tables and an apple tree for her project Garden and Outdoor Learning for Kindergarten. Secondary projects funded include phase one implementation of the community radio station at Bayview High School and an arts-based approach to digital imaging which will expand photo studies to digital/color at South Whidbey High School. A number of the grants cover projects at several schools, such as Spanish for Elementary Schools, through which high school students will teach the language to primary and intermediate grade students; foundation funds will pay for the purchase of language books and teaching materials. The Music is Art/Art Docent Program at the South Whidbey Primary and Intermediate schools is a program to supplement the existing art docent program; the grant will be used to buy music of the era in which the artists who are studied lived.The atmosphere of the grant presentations was like a carnival, Haworth said. Teachers receiving grants had not been notified of their approval, so when we arrived carrying balloons and checks, it was great to see the excitement about education and the community partnership we have in our schools.The foundation's criteria for funding grant applications give priority to projects which are repeatable, innovative and serve the greatest number of students, Haworth said. We are proud to support a variety of educational projects which otherwise would not exist.Because all grant applications were carefully evaluated, Haworth added, with strengths and weaknesses noted, unfunded grants were returned with suggestions for improvement, which should help refine the grantwriting skills of district staff.Schools superintendent Martin Laster called the South Whidbey Schools Foundation a terrific collaborative effort supporting research and innovation in the schools. I am personally and professionally thankful for this support, Laster aid. The nonprofit foundation was formed in 1995 by a group of South Whidbey residents who felt that an additional source of funding was necessary to encourage staff and students to extend the reach for excellence beyond the usual classroom experience, said foundation member Nancy Ruff. The foundation receives tax-exempt donations from individuals and firms for use in programs to enrich the offerings of the South Whidbey School District. Over $15,200 has been awarded since the fall of 1996 for innovative teaching programs, Ruff said.Businesses, corporations and individuals are invited to contribute to the Foundation Endowment Fund. All donations are tax-deductible. Further information is available by contacting the foundation at P.O. Box 27, Clinton WA 98236 or by visiting the SWSF website at http://www.whidbey.com/club/schools.South Whidbey Schools Foundation 2000 grantsSouth Whidbey Intermediate School*Reading Extraordinaire (472 students): Adding more books to existing Accelerated Reading Program - Patti Sargent, $350 *Garden-Based Science Program (472 students): Garden tools and fencing to supplement science program partnership with AmeriCorps - Rene Neff and Jackie Gelston, $500 *Making a Difference with Die Cuts (472 students): Support various class projects - Kathy Callahan, $375 *All the Right Type (472 students): Update existing typing software - John LaVassar, $297.50 *Dance Supplies (472 students): Purchase drum, scarves, video, books - Kimmer Morris, $483.70 *Theme Unit Technology (472 students): Purchase books which guide students through Internet theme studies - Joyce Hewitson, $150Primary/Intermediate*Music is Art/Art Docent Program (853 students): Supplement existing art docent program by purchasing music of the era of artist studied - Ann McDonald, $150*Spanish for the Elementary Schools (600 students): Purchase of language books and teaching materials for high school students to teach grade school students - Jenny Gochanour, $125Primary School*Garden and Outdoor Learning for Kindergarten (120 students): Purchase garden materials, tables, and an apple tree - Susan Morris, $200.Bayview and South Whidbey High Schools*Community Radio Station (787 students): Funding toward phase one of implementation; achieve Internet - Scott Mauk, Steve Clark, $500.Bayview High School*Carpentry Course (71 students): Purchase tools - Don Zisette, $450.South Whidbey High School*Arts Based Approach to Digital Imaging (150 students): Purchase color printer/scanner/copier to expand photo studies to digital/color - Don Wodjenski, $500.Arts related total: $2,458.75Non-Arts related total: $1,622.50Total funds granted: $4,081.25 "