Teachers surprised by LPS Foundation classroom grant awards

Members of the LPS Education Foundation recently took to the streets on a good will tour, traveling to 14 schools to deliver 19 classroom grants to unsuspecting, but very appreciative, teachers.

The surprise presentations of over-sized checks brought huge smiles to the faces of the teachers who wrote compelling grant requests to fund a classroom project, initiative, equipment, supplies or materials that will benefit their students.

The LPS Education Foundation received 29 grant requests, totaling nearly $83,000 and was able to award 19 grants, totaling $42,000. Now in its fourth year, the grant program is supported by the LPS Education Foundation’s designated funds, community contributions and employee payroll deductions to the Foundation.

Grant requests support the district’s mission, vision and curriculum.

“The day that we distribute the grant awards to staff is the highlight of the process,” said Lorna Durand, who is a retired LPS administrator and chair of the grant review committee. “We are always impressed by the commitment, passion and vision that each applicant presents in their proposal. While the review process is intense, it is well worth it, as we are witness to the staff and student excitement and appreciation as well as to the innovation and success the grants have provided the past four school years.”

Awardees include:

  • Colleen Nowak, Kennedy Elementary: Books for the school’s Battle of the Books program for third and fourth graders.
  • Caryl Dazer, Cass and Cleveland elementary schools: DrumFit cardio drumming physical fitness program.
  • Dr. Jennifer Clay, Roosevelt Elementary: i-Ready math assessment for at-risk math students.
  • Alicia Bashawaty, Kennedy Elementary: Makerspace improvements
  • Patricia Cooke, Coolidge Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Kathy Frame and Natalie Cicchelli, Webster Elementary: Newsela Chromebook project
  • Janice Skibinski, Hoover Elementary: Classroom technology — Chromebooks
  • Jackie McPherson, Garfield Elementary: Literacy materials for Great Start Readiness Program
  • Elizabeth Gostomski, Kennedy Elementary: Flexible classroom seating
  • Elizabeth Hering, Churchill High School: Composer workshops and commissioned work to tie in with grand opening of new CHS theater in November 2018.
  • Megan Bruestle, Riley Upper Elementary: Classroom technology – Chromebooks
  • Julie Juenemann, Cooper Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program
  • Karen Grima, Western Wayne Skill Center: Technology for nonverbal and limited verbal students with austism.
  • Lori Marsh, Kennedy Elementary: Adaptive technology for students with visual impairments.
  • John Farkas and Nikki Wojciechowski, Holmes Middle School: Collaborative learning with Chromebooks
  • Kathy Weaver, Johnson Upper Elementary: Project Wisdom character education program.
  • Jacqueline Price, Franklin High School: Books for classroom libraries in English Department classes
  • David Roesser, Franklin High School: Equipment and supplies for drafting program.
  • Sherry Juncaj and Shawn Parsons, Riley Upper Elementary: Character education initiative, ‘Wonder.’

Durand said the grant applications are screened for how much a proposal benefits students. At the end of each school year, the grant recipients share the results of the grants with members of the LPS Education Foundation.

“We have been impressed with the results each year and the positive impact not only on those students but on those schools and the district,” said Durand.

The grant program is just one of several programs of the LPS Education Foundation, which raises funds all year, through community business partnerships and support, the annual fall luncheon event, the LPS Bounce Back to School event as well as LPS employee contributions.

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