Eight Cleburne ISD teachers have had their classroom wishes come true as recipients of Innovative Grant Awards presented by the Cleburne Education Foundation.
The total amount of the Innovative Grants awarded for 2018 came in at $29,451.66, with the donation approved by Cleburne ISD Trustees at their March meeting.
From an electronic stock market ticker, to take high school economics lessons to a whole new level, to math-related children’s books, with such titles as “The Grapes of Math,” and “The Greedy Triangle,” to make the subject more interesting to elementary learners, CEF grant committee members believe the “innovations” in applications received this year were among the best on record. A total of 20 applications were submitted by CISD teachers for funding consideration.
“I think we had the best grant review meeting ever,” Committee Chairman Albert Archer said. “Two of the applications we are funding came very close to the $5,000 mark, which is the most we award in a single grant. What we are funding this year is all over the place--and it’s all going to have a great impact on student learning. It’s always disappointing at the end of our meeting because we can’t fund every grant application. This is why we work so hard to raise funds. We want to award as many grants as we can. Our board and members are very passionate about education and what we are trying to do.”
While it wasn’t the first CEF “prize patrol” for Paige Harris, it was her first as the new executive director of the organization.
“Getting to work with the grant committee and being involved in the application process was one of my first tasks,” Harris said. “While this wasn’t my first prize patrol, it was more exciting now that I am in this position. I just couldn’t wait to see the teachers to surprise them with the good news.”
Among the 2018 grant honorees is Amelia Easter, Santa Fe Elementary English as a Second Language teacher. Easter’s grant for $4,750 will provide on-campus training for ten general education teachers, working with the lead ESL teacher and reading specialist to help close the gap between English language learners and native English speakers.
Speech Pathologist Emily Rowland’s $2,050 grant application to provide music-based auditory stimulation that helps “train the brain” to improve auditory skills, is also among the awards approved. Honorees, and their awards, also include:
Ramona Owen, Coleman third grade, $2,428 for classroom literature to teach math skills and improve math vocabulary;
Leslie Porter, Coleman kindergarten, $5,000 to fund a library of “leveled” readers, with books of varied levels of difficulty for beginning readers as their individual skills develop and grow;
Patricia Roberts, C.C. Cooke fourth grade dual language, $4,700 for word, reading and language development “tool kits” to implement small group guided reading discussion for bilingual classes;
Kathy Misek, Smith Middle School 8th grade social studies, $1,080 for period costumes for active learning and student engagement in U.S history;
Cierra Johnson, Wheat Middle School 8th grade history teacher and yearbook adviser, $4,484 to provide a Mini Mac Lab for students to learn the techniques in photography and desktop publishing.
Cleburne High School economics and government teacher Eric Peets applied for $4,999 in innovative grant funds to purchase an LED stock market ticker, to give his economics students a better understanding of the stock market and its impact on the U.S. and the world. The course curriculum includes engaging students as mock buyers and sellers. Also a government teacher, Peets’ classroom ticker will feature a news feed, to keep students informed and aware of current news and events.
CEF Grant Committee member Will Head, a 2000 Cleburne High School graduate, was among the prize patrol delegation. He said his involvement in the Cleburne Education Foundation has kept him involved with his high school alma mater.
“Everybody has an opinion when it comes to the grants we review,” he said. “I really like being a part of that process. This has also helped me stay in touch with Cleburne High School, what is going on in schools now, and how much things have changed.”
Justin Hewlett, the current president of CEF, also made the rounds with his fellow bearers of good news. The stop at Cooke Elementary was to a classroom where he spent third grade as a Cooke Wildcat.
“It’s always exciting to be a part of this,” Hewlett said. “It’s great to see the kids excited for what their teachers have done and what they are going to get. That really makes it worth it. This year, there was more emphasis on books and learning materials, rather than technology. With the District picking that up, and doing all we see with classroom technology and devices for students, teachers are now looking to add other forms of materials and learning tools for their classrooms.”
“We’re hoping to build on Nashville Lights and additional things we can do in fundraising and other opportunities to help students and the district,” Hewlett said. “It’s going to be exciting.”
Smith Middle School eighth grade social studies teacher Kathy Misek reacts the to the news that she is a Cleburne Education Foundation Innovative Grant Awards recipient. The CEF “prize patrol” made surprise classroom visits to eight CISD teachers, awarding grants totaling $29,451.