Education foundation awards grants to local teachers julie gorham / chronicle

LECANTO — County teachers set forth to bring creativity back into the classroom Thursday night, thanks to the Citrus County Education Foundation (CCEF).

The foundation awarded 94 mini-grants to teachers, totaling $69,862.68 at the Foundation for Success Mini-Grant Gala at Curtis Peterson Auditorium at Lecanto High School.

Shaunda Burdette, the executive director of the Education Foundation, said the night was all about bringing innovation back into the classroom, to negate the impact of many budget cuts.

“Tonight alone we are impacting over 10,000 children in the district,” Burdette said. “We want teachers to be creative, we want them to bring creativity and innovation to life, and that’s our role, that’s what we do.”

These annual grants allow teachers to introduce pilot educational programs by funding supplies that often come from their checking accounts, she said.

“We are affecting 171 teachers; we also tried to incorporate collaboration between grade levels and schools so that the dollar goes even further,” Burdette said. Teachers or schools were able to write a requests together to receive $1,000 grants, while individual teachers were awarded

$500 grants. Burdette noted that if pilot programs prove successful, they can be expanded across the district.

Programs like the “Hands on Literacy” initiative at Hernando Elementary School provide educational opportunities to youths who learn best through movement. The grant will provide enough supplies for two kindergarten classes at the school — stretching the dollars even further.

“This year our classroom mini-grants are a little lower than last year because we are building to be able to support district programs in the future,” Burdette said. “That is why we are promoting groups to work together for one big project because we can help more students.’

Burdette said the current kindergarten readiness test once began as a pilot program pitched by a teacher from Crystal River Primary School.

“The teacher did the research, got the program, and presented it — after using it in her classroom — to the district, and now our whole district has that program,” she said. “ “It allows us to get the best of the best out there.”

Local businesses and organizations including Suncoast Credit Union, Duke Energy, the Black Diamond Foundation donated through the CCEF to help fund these grants.

“Being one of the 62 districts that are a part of the Consortium of Florida Education Foundation, we did receive grant funds from them,” Burdette said. “But all of the additional funds were brought in through these amazing partners.”

The 94 programs approved Thursday had to be reviewed, scored, and were awarded to the top-scoring teachers.

2017-2018 Mini-Grants

Academy of Environmental Science:

“STEM and Literacy Awareness through Video Production” by Cindy McKenna

Central Ridge Elementary School:

“Escape through Engagement” by Kimberly Ear and Tiffany Sullenberger

“Gaming Critically: Developing Critical Thinking Skills through Games” by Erik D. Raynor and Brittany Mimms

“Hi-Lo Reading Project” by Jessica Hodges

“I Sense, You Sense, We All Sense for STEM! Help us Explore with all our Senses!” by Therese Boassard

Citrus High School:

“As the Page Turns” by Terri Cooke, Jillian Godwin

“I like to Move it: Motorizing a Robot Hand” by Jerry Swiatek, Laura Nash

“Smart Fitness” by Michelle Connor, Rebecca Eldridge

“Stretching the Guidelines for STEM” by Kaitlyn Anthony, Rebecca Evans

“The Nearpod Project” by Stacy Fulton

“Tiles for the Mind” by Lisa Denny

Citrus Springs Elementary School:

“#180Days of Growth” by Tara Simpson

“Captivating Centers” by Alexandria Vincent, Clair Phillips

“Doodling Robots-Full STEAM Ahead” by Julie Weaks

“Hands-on Learning” by Anthony Nales

“Putting the STEAM Back in School” by Christopher Wilson

“Reading with a Math Mindset” by Theresa Ryan, Julie Dilks

“We ARE Rocket Scientists” by Christina Hackey, Sheri Vilardi, Susan Easom, Noelle Khan, Aubrey Wilcox, Suzanne Akin, Alexis Cochran

Citrus Springs Middle School:

“Jar Terrarium 2017” by Deanna Hadley

“Nutrition for Optimal Performance” by Donna Barrett, Michael Porcelli

“Bridging the Literacy Gap” by Elizabeth Abramowich, Cindylou Fowler

CREST School:

“Algebraic Action” by Joe Keshock, Nick LaBarge

“Break Out” by Gema Coleman

“Building a Better Tomorrow” by Scott Mentel, Nancy Hopp

“Dolphins Diving into Hydroponics” by Jessica Capilli, Thomas Eddy

“Learn Social Skills and Win” by Gail Purdy

“Order Up” by Tammy Fagan

“Talk to the Hand” by Mary Malek, Melanie Howard

“Tap-In to Tech” by Tammy Cleaver, Tina Thomas, Kay Carey

“Teaching Kids to Code with Robots; Project Based Learning” by David Wilcox, Marianne McPherson

Crystal River High School:

“Positive Presenters” by Christopher Blydenburgh

“Actively Learn” by Melissa Simon, Peggy Martin, Sarah Jacobs, Lorri Strickland

Crystal River Middle School:

“Don’t be an outsider; get lost in the extraordinary adventures of reading” by Catherine Owens, Kelly Liechty

“Facts for Fun (Book Trailers)” by Julia Taylor, Amanda Brown

“Learning with Technology” by Marcy Stitzel

Crystal River Primary School:

“Centered on Reading!” by Natasha Betit, Susan Betancourt

“Bringing M.O.S.I to CRPS” by Chris Wyatt, Megan Furniss

“Going ECO” by Candice Luce, Azure Kelly

“Guiding Readers” by Tina Tolle

“Integrating fascinating science content and reading skills with Nat Geo!” by Carolyn Clark, Samantha Marchione

“Putting the ‘A’ in Steam with a Pottery Wheel” by Karrie Jones

“Read to Succeed … Yes, We Can!” by Lisa Bauer

“Reading instruction in a diverse kindergarten classroom” by Kelly Hutton

“Rock Star Reading” by Holly Herndon, Tabetha Harrison

“STEMing Growth and Learning” by Holly Stapleton

“The Student-Centered Approach to Reading and Loving It!” by Rachel Miller

“Wonder Robotics” by Holly Herndon

District Service Center:

“Assistive Technology (AT) Teacher Loan Program: Developing Elementary Literacy Skills through Assistive Technology & Interactive Story Containers” by Kelly Sieg, Roxanne Mason

“Riveting Reading” by Brittney Tingle, Sarah Hebert

Floral City Elementary School:

“Launching Our Students’ Success” by Holli Herndon, Joanne Diederich, Karen Wright, Dylan Czarnecki

“Lilly Pad Listening” by Lisa Isaacs, Mary Beth Smith

“Media Makerspace Mania” by Marla Gangler

Forest Ridge Elementary School:

“A Trip to Education on Frog Street at Forest Ridge Elementary” by Ann Franklin, Sarah Montgomery

“Engaging in Learning through Mind and Body” by Sandra Mosley, Marsha Mullen

“iCan Read with an iPad” by Angela Miller

“Learning as we hop down Frogstreet” by Tiffani Rachel

“Making a Historic Difference in Literacy” by Kristen Coble, Ramona Aldridge

“Reading Across Our America: Developing Literacy through Reading and Exploring our Continent” by Marlise Bushman, Jesi Daugherty, Sarah Hague, Abi Hart, Susan Stofcheck, Nery Reyes

“Rocketing Through Reading” by Jessica Barnes, Cindy Jordan

“Touching Autism-Hands On” by Bertha Brooks, Anna Elizabeth Newlon

Hernando Elementary School:

“Only One You” by Tracy Buettner, Cheri Martone

“Coding with Ozobots” by Danita Consol

“Excelling young readers and writers through hands-on centers in Kindergarten” by Lucianne Cyr, Jennifer Gula

“Guided Reading Jan’s Way” by Dawn Ramm, Susan Brodsky, Mary Ann Quinn

“Hands-on Literacy” by Holly Aguilar, Shannon Rossi

“iPad and Osmo for Creative Minds” by Marilyn Rowe

“iPads for ‘Mini’ Learners” by Judie Banfield

“We Will Write” by Michelle Gonzalez, Stacie Lewis

Homosassa Elementary School:

“Challenging Real World STEM Project” by Darla Crotsley, Sue McInnis

“Kinderneering (Engineers in the Making)” by Paula Carty

“Listening Library Volume 2” by Richard Carty

Inverness Middle School:

“Current Events for 7th Grade Civics Students” by Donald Whitaker, Michelle Davis, Rick Nelson

“Get A Clue with Breakout EDU!” by Kathryn Locke

Inverness Primary School:

“Motivate your Mind and Body One Step at a Time” by Alissa Grace, Loren Schenendorf, Terry Flaherty, Alice Green

“Storybook Stem” by Rachel Fulkerson

Lecanto High School:

“Digital Imagery as a Primary Medium of Artistic Expression-Focusing on the Visual Arts & Technology” by Polly Hilgert

“Is there a better way to collect data? ‘Probe’ ably” by Mary (Beth) Branch, Jack Hall

“Packing for Success” by Thea Mann, Julia McHugh

Lecanto Middle School:

“Getting STEAMY in the Art Room” by Hillary Hewit

“40 Book Challenge” by Stephen Norton, Laura Norton

“Chrometastic” by Rebecca Clymer, Mylene Taylor

Lecanto Primary School:

“Construct and Code with Lego ‘Boost’” by Jessica Hurley, Lana Cotsonas

“MOSI Around” by Kim Cirone, Mary Cioe, Sandy Reighard, Connie Banks, Alexandra Giovagnoni

“Moving On With Stem Instruction” by Heather Paprzyci, Laura Elson, Rachel Banning, Melissa Bowling, Sarah Masse, Melissa Yarger

Marine Science Station:

“STEMming the Tide: Using Technology to Monitor Local Water Quality” by Earnie Olsen, Joshua O’Leary

MYcro School:

“Math on Wheels” by Randall Worley

Pleasant Grove Elementary School:

“Math Manipulatives in the Classroom” by Holly Treece

“Mixing Elements of Art with Literacy and Math” by Marina Koelber

“Reading for Remarkable Reasons” by Jaclyn Sallaz

“STEM Success!” by Danika Loyed

“Study Kits for Home and School Success” by Kim Hume, Cheryl Burrows

Rock Crusher Elementary School:

“Amazing Authors” by Terri Mullins, Susan Littrell, Jaime Mays

“Coding 101” by Elaine Laga, Debbie Hodges

“Creative Composers” by Marcie Peterson, Amy Antill

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