Teachers and other professionals within the district are encouraged to apply for grants to be used for innovative educational programs. Grants will be awarded competitively for projects and ideas that will have the greatest positive impact on students’ educational experience.
The grants awarded for the 2017-2018 school year are as follows:
Millbridge Elementary School
Full STEAM Ahead Through Play
This $3,000 grant was awarded to kindergarten teacher Kathy McHugh to purchase play center activities that will provide for ‘tinkering’ and creating right inside the classroom. “This grant will allow for students to have a natural introduction to STEM thinking and concepts, as well as creative problem solving.” As result of this grant, various age appropriate materials will be purchased for each and every kindergarten classroom at Millbridge Elementary School.
Sensory Input Apparatus
$800 was granted to Jennifer Lobaza, special education teacher at Millbridge Elementary School. The money will be used to purchase materials that be available to students in the K-2 autism classroom in order to help them learn behavioral management techniques and to promote socialization for students with autism and emotional behavioral disorders.
Laurel Healey and Michelle Intelisano were awarded $2,000 to create a “flexible classroom” for their integrated kindergarten class. “In a flexible classroom, the student knows and demonstrates how s/he learns best. From lighting to seating, choices are made so that our students are more comfortable, happier, and therefore more engaged.” Furniture such as Kore Wobble chairs, yoga mats and rocking chairs will be purchased with the grant award.
Delran Intermediate School
School-Wide Positive Behavioral Supports
Susan Klosinski and Allison Brant authored a grant for the DIS Positive Behavioral Supports in Schools (PBSIS) Committee. This $4,000 grant gives the committee an opportunity to develop a program that affects the entire school community in a fun and engaging program that consistently encourages and rewards positive behavior in students in all grades and classes.
DIS Green Team
$2,500 was granted to Sharon Kernan and the Green Team to expand their already successful Green Team program. The team will participate in the “UNLESS Project” at the Philadelphia Zoo and will complete a variety of projects in the school, such as the “Recycled Paper Project” and a vegetable garden in the spring. These projects are designed to teach children about the benefits of caring for our Earth in addition to the science, math, literacy, technology, and art concepts to complete the projects.
Delran Middle School
Building and Launching a Weather Balloon
Amy Yodis, seventh grade science teacher, was awarded $1,700 for her accelerated science class to build the components of a weather balloon. Then, with all of her classes in attendance (possibly the whole school!), students will launch that balloon and collect the data. The data will be streamed on TVs in the cafeteria and will be available for all science teachers to use in their classrooms, as well. ABC News Channel 6 has agreed to assist in the project, and meteorologist Karen Rogers will be a guest speaker.
Auth-entic Reading and Writing
$2,000 will be used by Jennifer Penna, sixth grade language arts teacher, to facilitate conversations between her students and authors of popular young adult fiction including Tim Green, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and others. This program will allow students to use Skype and the internet to connect with the authors. Students will be given the valuable opportunity to ask questions about the books they have been reading, directly to the creators of those stories. This allows for a personal and authentic author connection to encourage student interest in reading and writing using a familiar and fun medium.
Filtered Bottle Filling
The Delran Middle School Green Team, led by Mike McHale and Jen Frisella, was granted $2,300 to purchase a filtered water bottle filling station to be placed in a central location and used by all students and staff. This will emphasize the importance of caring for the environment by encouraging students to use their own refillable bottles, thereby dramatically reducing plastic bottle waste.
Water Bottle Rocket Engineering Design Challenge
Eighth grade science teachers Jen Frisella and Jon Skvir were granted $800 to repeat their successful Water Bottle Rocket Challenge, which was funded by the Delran Education Foundation last year. While meeting many of the curriculum goals of the Next Generation Science Standards, students will learn about topics including engineering, math, and art while participating in a fun and friendly competition that engages students in all of the eighth grade science classes.
Academy on the Go School Visit
$925 will bring the eighth graders another adventure when the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University heads to the Delran Middle School Library with specimens, live animals, and expert naturalists. Presentations will be made to two classes at a time, allowing for an intimate educational experience.
Delran High School
Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing Club
Siobhan McVay, chemistry teacher at Delran High School, will use her $1,500 grant to start a Chemical Engineering and Manufacturing Club designed to attract students who have taken Chemistry and expressed an interest in pursuing certain topics further, but who may not be well suited for AP Chemistry. Students will apply with an application, resume, essay, and interview. Those accepted into the club will design, create, manufacture, and sell student products while networking with professionals in the field to get feedback on their project and “move toward more formal STEM mentoring for DHS students.”
Bionic Bears 2.0: Supporting DHS Robotics at the Next Level
Building on the success of last year’s robotics program, the Foundation is happy to once again award a grant to Mary Jo Hutchinson, Leigh Smith, and Steve Rood-Ojalvo for $3,550. This year’s grant will allow for an expansion of the Robotics Club, giving more students direct experience with the robots and use of more materials that go beyond the basics in the kit used last year. Additionally, some money will be used to purchase materials to build an “official field” used for valuable practice time that will identify and troubleshoot problems before competitions, enhancing the development of problem solving skills.
Comprehensive Input: Achieving Proficiency through Novels
$660 will be given to Valerie Sanchirico and Suzanne Kerr, who will use novels to make Spanish come alive for students. As opposed to focusing only on sentence structure and grammar, “the structural aspect of language is intertwined with a plot that is engaging for novice learners. Students have a purpose to remember words, high frequency structures, and grammar concepts.” The books purchased with the grant money will be used at Delran High School and Delran Middle School.
War on Plastic Water Bottles
Students at DHS will get the opportunity to reduce their plastic bottle waste thanks to a $1,660 grant awarded to Green Team and Sustainability leaders Jennifer DiCesare and Aaron Fiordimondo. With the same motivation as the Green Team at Delran Middle School, the DHS Green Team is going to encourage less waste by providing a refillable water station to be used by all students and staff at the high school.
STEAM Camp – Enhancing Communication for Future Engineers
In its second year, the district’s STEAM camp is enhancing its program with the addition of four ELMO Visual Presenter document cameras. One camera will be used at each grade level. A document camera is “not limited to projecting paper documents – it can project 3D items, as well. For example, as students design something to clean up an oil spill or a component of a knee brace, their prototype could be placed under the camera and projected immediately for feedback and suggestions from peers.”
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the grant committee by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.