Published May 25, 2016
The Hill Country Education Foundation surprised 13 faculty members and parent volunteers with nearly $35,000 in program funding during the foundation’s 6th Impact Grant Patrol on Friday.
“This grant window has been our most competitive yet. Our teachers are so creative and innovative and excited about engaging our students more deeply,” said Christine Bailie, HCEF board member and Impact Grant committee co-chair.
Karie Lynn McSpadden, incoming interim superintendent of Leander ISD, Pam Waggoner, vice president of the LISD Board of Trustees, and Trustee Trish Bode joined Impact Grant committee members, HCEF board members and campus representatives on the prize patrol to award recipients.
“This funding supports campus-based systemic change that is impossible without the financial support of the HCEF community and campus PTA programming,” Bailie said.
HCEF has been able to support both River Place Elementary and Steiner Ranch Elementary with their implementation of the “Leader in Me” program. HCEF was also able to bring new equipment and tools into the physics, mobile applications development and metal fabrication and ag mechanics classrooms at Vandegrift High School, “which expand opportunities to learn industry-valued skill sets that make our kids more employable,” Bailie said.
Vandegrift was awarded seven total grants. Anne Goshorn, teacher of physics and engineering design and development, received $5,000 on behalf of the physics team to purchase electricity and magnetism equipment to conduct hands-on, inquiry-based experiments about electric circuits.
Joe Lemmons, agriculture science teacher, received $5,000 to purchase equipment that allows students to learn how to calculate the bending and shaping of solid rod, flat bar, pipe and square tubing and brings the lab to another level of industry-standard equipment used in modern-day industrial companies.
Rad Allen, technology applications and computer science teacher, received $2,000 to purchase mobile devices allowing students to test program applications they created using gyros, cameras, GPS, Wi-Fi, integrated sensors and slide panels.
Spanish 3 teacher Erin Segura was awarded $690 to purchase applications that enable students to create multimedia products in the foreign language classroom that allows students to engage and collaborate in various modes of communications.
Lead counselor Amy Rodriquez and her team in the guidance and counseling department were awarded $1,995 to implement a peer-mentoring coaching program to expand their capacity to better serve transitioning freshmen through outreach and support services.
Drew Sanders, athletic coordinator, received $3,200 to provide leadership training for athletes within the football, basketball and volleyball programs.
Erin Kolecki, parent volunteer at Four Points Middle School, received $457 to launch a Mathematics Pentathlon program, which focuses on spatial/geometric, computational and logical/scientific reasoning.
Canyon Ridge Middle School science teacher Patrick Stinson received $1,411 to purchase three Flinn Goggle Sanitizers shared between 17 science classrooms that will enable teachers to conduct more chemistry labs and hands-on learning without compromising safety.
Niki Prindle, principal of River Place Elementary, received $5,000 to implement the second year of the “Leader in Me” program based on the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. LIM is a whole-school transformation process that integrates principles of leadership and effectiveness into school curriculum.
Similarly, at Steiner Ranch Elementary, Nikki Aguirre, instructional coach, received $5,000 to launch the first year of “Leader in Me”. Also at SRE, PTA Environmental Chair and teachers Britteny Clifford, Anne Witt, Laura Elorreaga and Casey Lindbloom were awarded $1,500 to complete phase two of building an outdoor learning classroom.
Laura Welch Bush Elementary teachers Kim Tagge, Marla DeGilio, Maggie Justel and Ann Scott received $1,500 to build a garden.
Librarian Dee Porter and teachers Rheata Bell, Jackie Coleman and Becky Blackwell at Grandview Hills Elementary received $1,000 to expand STEM-related instructional resources for grades K-5.
“Watching these teachers and students respond with excitement and gratitude is more than rewarding; it’s a reminder of the great opportunity we have to support education in the community we care so much about,” said Michelle Beck, executive director of HCEF.
“These awards are only possible because of our very generous parents and sponsors who support the foundation with their time, talent and resources through the annual gala and fall giving campaign. We are also enormously grateful to companies who maintain employee matching programs and grants,” Beck said.
To learn more about the Viper Nation Academic Booster and be part of the Impact Grant committee next year, please contact info@HillCountryEdFoundation.org.
Photographer Allmond McDermott of McDermott Photography recorded the event.