W-JCC Foundation awards $30K in teaching grants

When the WJCC Schools Foundation presents teachers with their grants, it's a celebration.

Tuesday morning, Williamsburg-James City County School Board members walked the halls with those from the WJCC Schools Foundation's board, carrying bouquets of flowers, oversized cardboard checks and cellphones ready for a photo-op.

The foundation's president, Clarence Wilson, said presenting the winners with their checks all on the same day, traveling from school to school by way of a big yellow school bus, is just part of the fun.

He said the foundation raises money to fuel innovative projects; the idea is to provide for those that couldn't find funding through the regular school division budget process. On Tuesday, the foundation handed out checks for 22 grants adding up to $30,138.

Molly Peet was certainly surprised when the door to her art room in Lafayette High school opened and more than a dozen people flooded in.

Peet's $1,509 will go toward materials for her students to create a collaborative sculpture to be shown in theWilliamsburg Art District contest, which she said is something she's wanted to get involved with.

Her presentation was a little different than the rest of the checks handed out Tuesday. Peet's grant was designated as the Steven Constantino Innovative Teaching Grant 2017, named in honor the former division Superintendent who stepped down in August to take a job with the state's department of education.

"We thought about it and said, 'What would be really important to him and what would be important to us?'" Wilson said. "We came up with the thought, let's give him a grant so the board contributed a grant for him and you are the first recipient of that grant."

Because Constantino couldn't come himself, he wrote a letter to Peet which his wife, Peggie Constantino read aloud before handing over the check.

"I am so please that you are a recipient, but that you are the very first winner of an award in my name," Peggie Constantino read. "Even more exciting to me is that the first winner of the grant is an arts teacher."

She added that the arts are "so close to his heart."

The foundation's buses stopped at 10 schools Tuesday, visiting 33 staff members in the division. Wilson said the 2016 grants affected 8,000 students and he expects that number to be similar this year.

The foundation awarded the first round of grants last January, funding projects submitted by 21 teachers and totaling $27,000.

"It gives our teachers extra resources," interim Superintendent Olwen Herron said Tuesday. "It fosters innovation."

Williams can be reached by phone at 757-345-2341.

WJCC Foundation grant projects

Activities to Encourage the use of 21st Century Math Skills

Marilee Ward at Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School for $1,176

Marcy Cook tiles will allow students to work at their individual skill levels and promote the mathematical process standards of critical thinking, problem solving, communicating and collaboration.

Hocus, Pocus, We CAN Focus

Amy Meister, Amelie Smucker at Rawls Byrd Elementary School for $1,279.82

Multi-sensory " fidget boxes" can improve the ability to regain calm, focus and learn. They include sensory input and regulation for all five senses. Tools will include stress balls, wobble seats, Velcro scented pencils, pressure tools and chewy necklaces.

Modular Robotics with Cubelets

Kristy Haight at Rawls Byrd Elementary School for $1,904.45

Cubelets and Legos will challenge student to create robots to perform specific tasks. Students will make predictions, record findings/observations in journals to connect literacy skills with computer science.

Differentiated Lesson Kits for Newcomer ELLs

Shayna Walker at Rawls Byrd Elementary School for $1,424.85

Newcomer English language learners need to learn "survival" English as well as "academic English." Fourty kits will pave the way for grade-level achievement recognizing some learners are educated in their first language and others are not but all need differentiated materials based on language proficiency.

Dream, Design, Develop: The 3D Solution to Student Engagement

Erin Elmore, Gia Chambers and Julie Singley at Rawls Byrd Elementary School for $1,496.60

Elementary school students have increasing difficulty maintaining focus. They are able to navigate around an iPad by age 3 but have the ability to press the power button when a video is no longer interesting or when they are losing a game. A 3D printer will help spark new interest and compel participation.

Read and Ride Classroom

Bob Keller at James River Elementary School for $1,920

The classroom will have 6 exercise bikes that students can ride during their structured and independent reading time. The classroom will be adjacent to the library; teachers can schedule small groups to utilize the bikes.

LEGO StoryStarters

Jonathan Nonnemacher at James River Elementary School for $1,128.70

24 Lego StoryStarter kits for the library will provide a hands-on, creative way to illustrate students' stories as well as stories they hear in the media center.

Strengthening Handwriting Through Fine Motor Take Home Kits

Erin Poulter at Matoaka Elementary School for $347

Fine Motor kits, consisting of engaging manipulatives, including snap beads, Play Doh, craft punches and connecting links along with plastic totes and task cards will afford students the chance to build critical handwriting skills early in the first grade.

Challenge Tiles for Math Practice and Differentiation

Karen Little at Matoaka Elementary School for $696.12

Marcy Cook math problem solving challenge tile card focus on number sense and problem solving. Materials can be used individually or with a partner. Their multi-level format offers remediation, practice and enrichment.

K-5 Technology/Library Makerspace

Elizabeth Crispino, Maureen McFarland at Matoaka Elementary School for $1953.50

The computer teacher and librarian will develop learning units in a "makerspace" environment to provide students an opportunity to learn and apply skills in robotics, coding, circuitry, and cardboard engineering to solve problems and create new products.

Tapping into Innovative Learning

Michele M. Potter at Norge Elementary School for $349

Students with autism will use a Touch Board that is connected to a computer and allows a wall or white board to become an interactive learning station providing additional avenues of instruction engaging tactile, auditory and visual stimulus.

Manipulatives for Mini-Mathematicians

R. Evelyn Jessie at Stonehouse Elementary School for $1,651.36

Hands-on learning through the use of manipulatives clarifies math concepts. Students take ownership of their own box of manipulatives throughout the year and pass it on to upcoming fourth graders the following year.

Feed Their Minds

Kristin Froehlich at Stonehouse Elementary School for $1,188

Weekly books will be added to Power Packs of food items for families needing food assistance over the weekends when children do not receive meals at school.

What Came First, the Chicken or the Egg?

Kimberley Hundley at Stonehouse Elementary for $724.45

Kindergarten students will wear lab coats and become real scientists as they observe, record and communicate the life cycle of a chicken. They will incubate eggs in the classroom, watch them hatch and care for the chickens until they find new homes.

Community Based Instruction to Dreamcatchers

Sarah Tremblay, Sheree Reel and Robin Baker at Stonehouse Elementary School for $2,000

Special Education students in a self-contained classroom will participate in a therapeutic riding program for 10 weeks to increase gross and fine motor control and strength, communication skills and ability to follow directions. This grant is dependent on $5000 in funding from another source.

Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times

Anita Ellis and Rachel Moore Hornsby Middle School for $1,925

Students step into the past as investigative reporters to analyze the issues, perspectives and impact of the Civil War, collaboratively producing a newspaper to demonstrate their learning.

Design, Create, Collaborate- STEM Exploration with VEX IQ Robotics

Melissa Chai, Jaclyn Beck at Toano Middle School for $2,000

Students will be exposed to multiple technologies, challenging them to develop and implement solutions in simulated real-world problems by constructing and implementing robots. They will demonstrate work readiness skills by collaborating with a team, communicating ideas, displaying a positive work ethic, resolving conflicts appropriately and utilizing time management skills.

Creating in 3D

Kristin Cosby at Jamestown High School for $1,978

Two 3D printers will help students construct three dimensional models that will aid in critical thinking skills, problem solving, creativity and innovation in all areas.

Exploration

Alisa Smith and Kimberly Holloway at Jamestown High School/Matoaka Elementary School for $223.43

High School Spanish students work with third grade students to expose them to the Spanish language and culture.

Reading and Writing with Robots

Ashley Hurst, Amanda Morris (Snelling) at Lafayette High School for $1,994.80

By using Spheros (app-enabled robots) in the classroom, students will use basic coding skills to innovate, think critically, and problem solve while programming their robots to reflect the characters and conflicts present in "Lord of the Flies."

The Virtuality Project

Monica Schauffler and Amy Wallisch at Lafayette High School for $1,268.60

Virtual Reality is a state-of-the-art immersive technology that allows users to visit and explore environments that are otherwise inaccessible. Students will be able to check out VR viewers, allowing them the opportunity for personalized inquiry.

Seeds for the Future: A collaborative Public Sculpture

(Steven C. Constantino Innovative Teaching Grant 2017)

Molly Peet at Lafayette High School for $1509

Students will gain first-hand experience designing and creating a collaborative ceramic sculpture using slab building techniques to build individual contributions to the larger sculpture.

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