By LYNETTE HAALAND
Four Points News
The Viper Nation Education Foundation Grant Patrol awarded more than $36,000 in grants on March 15 to 14 hard-working teachers, administrators and their teams at schools in the Four Points area.
“These grants are some of the best ways to reward our teachers for their ingenuity and dedication to educating our kids,” said Courtney Johnson, VNEF executive director. “Every year we trust them to know what tools are needed in the classroom. Every year they deliver, by identifying excellent tools that will maximize instruction.”
VNEF’s Johnson, chairman William “Biff” Farrell, board members Michelle Beck and Lynette Haaland Seitzler, and school volunteer representatives including Barbara Frierson all helped present grant checks to local schools. Principals Susan Sullivan, Canyon Ridge Middle School, Joe Ciccarelli, Four Points Middle School, Kathy Goeke, Grandview Hills Elementary, Niki Prindle, River Place Elementary, and Catherine Robinson, Steiner Ranch Elementary all helped in the check presentations as well as students and teachers.
These impact grants were awarded to fund instructional tools that will enhance teaching in the areas of leadership, entrepreneurialism, STEM, college preparedness and teacher development.
An example of one of the applications that identified an excellent tool was written by Canyon Ridge Middle School Spanish teacher, Harris Flax. He applied on behalf of CRMS to bring “Authentic Resources for Listening Comprehension,” a program for listening to recordings of authentic dialects spoken at normal pace of speech. Listening to dialogue with normal speech patterns has shown to rapidly increase understanding of a new language.
“The value of Mr. Harris’ grant application was so high that we showed the grant to Laura Elias, Four Points Middle School Spanish teacher, and asked her if she would be willing to take on the program,” Johnson said. VNEF did not want to have the Four Points 8th graders arrive at Vandegrift without the same opportunity given to CRMS students. “Ms. Elias enthusiastically agreed. Thanks to Mr. Harris, VNEF is awarding the tools from this grant to the entire population of Viper Nation 8th graders,” she said.
Grandview Hills Elementary was awarded a $5,000 grant to implement the Junior Achievement entrepreneurial and financial literacy program. Nicole Tomaszewski, parent volunteer and part of the Junior Achievement initiative, helped the school get the grant.
“For us it means our kids have the opportunity to apply skills in reading, writing, math, science and social studies in entrepreneur-rich curriculum,” said Kathy Goecke, GHE principal. “We want to have our kids apply these skills in a business and to see what it takes to be successful.”
2017 Viper Nation Education Foundation Impact Grants total: $36,224
- Nathan Johndrow: $2,675 for “Explorations in Engineering” for Canyon Ridge MS 7th & 8th grade Gateway,
- Ginnie DeCambre: $1,335 for “Solving the Mystery Integrating Math and Science into Forensics” for CRMS 8th grade APS,
- Ginie Milner: $5,000 for “Merging Technology and Chemistry” for Vandegrift science, chemistry,
- Nicole Tomaszewski: $5,000 for “Junior Achievement, entrepreneurial and financial literacy program” for Grandview Hills Elementary,
- Harris Flax: $1,470 for “Authentic Resources for Listening Comprehension” for CRMS 8th grade Spanish, offered to Four Points MS too,
- Carrie Chilek: $1,750 for “Are We Playing or are we Engineering?” for GHE,
- Susan Sullivan: $5,000 for “Supporting Our Schools Through Common Assessments” for CRMS, FPMS, VHS teacher development,
- Drew Sanders: $1,500 for “A Football Journey” for VHS weekly leadership, character-building with coaches, teams,
- Jenny Wyman: $5,000 for “Leader In Me” for Steiner Ranch Elementary (phase II),
- Kat Gardiol: $5,000 for “Leader In Me” for River Place Elementary (phase III),
- Allison Bailey: $1,024.66 for “Leader In Me” for Laura Welch Bush Elementary (pilot).