Teachers receive education foundation grants

Staff Writer
Echo Pilot
Greencastle-Antrim School District teachers receiving Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation grants totaling nearly $10,000 include, from left, front: Rebecca Rice, Glory Sterling, Jennifer Faith, Meghan Coker, Jennifer Steck and Ross Winegardner: Back: Brian Baine, Mandy Furnish, Haven Benedict, Jenn Everetts, Dan Barrett, Christine Palmer, Ryan Kaiser and Rob Poole. Not pictured: Andrew Geesaman.

The Greencastle-Antrim Education Foundation awarded $9,992 at its second annual teachers award celebration and luncheon on Friday, Jan. 17.

"We received numerous outstanding applications that the GAEF board felt captured the heart and spirit of student growth and professional development," said Kerri Barnes, director of Tayamentasachta and chair of GAEF's impact committee. "It gives us great pleasure to be here today to celebrate so many of you."

Grant recipients received "Rock Star" pins and GAEF cookies at the ceremony.

Teachers receiving grants:

 Mandy Furnish

Students with intellectual disabilities are a special part of Greencastle-Antrim High School. These life skills students could greatly benefit from a new work experience opportunity that could be right within the walls of the high school. The proposal is to start a student-run delivery service of local Greencastle Coffee Roasters coffee to G-AHS staff every Friday. This would not be a business; however, donations would be accepted in order to support the continuation of the coffee cart and other educational experiences for the life skills support classroom.

Meghan Coker

Coker applied for a grant for a Breakout EDU six-kit bundle.

In an effort to engage above-grade-level learners, G-ASD has implemented accelerated classroom programs in two second- and two third-grade classrooms. The expectation of the program includes engaging these students in learning grade-level content and beyond while also supporting their development of the four C’s – communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity.

Students will be able to use these kits across the curriculum to increase their skill in problem solving and critical thinking. Students will also learn to work collaboratively in teams to complete tasks, and communication will be critical.

The kits work in the same way as an “escape room." Students will receive clues, work together, communicate and figure out the solutions together.

 Andrew Geesaman

Geesaman applied for funds for tables and stools. These tables would be used in a myriad of ways. Within his regular education classes, they will be used by students to interact with each other and solve problems as a group while the stools will provide a fidget-friendly seat for his students with ADHD or other learning disabilities. The tabletops would allow for more interactions with certain manipulatives that he already has in his classroom by allowing the students to write directly on the tabletop to create groupings and patterns.

 Ross Winegardner

Winegardner applied for funds to cover the cost of transportation to take his Human Rights Literature class to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum.

Winegardner has taken this field trip several.times over the past few years, and can speak to the transformative effect it has on students and chaperones. His students will see artifacts and evidence tied to the curriculum of his course. This is a special opportunity for them to learn outside of the classroom setting and fully understand the realities of the Holocaust.

GAEF also funded the trip last year.

 Jennifer Steck and Ryan Kaiser

Steck and Kaiser applied for Logitech crayons. Their project is designed to enhance the use of iPads by using the Logitech crayons to give students more capabilities on the apps used in the accelerated classrooms. Their overall goal is to provide an alternative way for students to show their understanding and thinking by expressing themselves visually by using this tool. It will give students a more manageable way to draw and write with rather than using their fingers.

 Rob Poole

Poole also applied for Logitech crayons. The crayons, or pencils, will help students understand that reading online text requires the same level of engagement as reading printed text. Poole says this is how students will be encountering information in the future and instilling responsible reading habits in the students now is essential to creating good citizens.

There are now iPads available in all classrooms.

An Apple pencil or crayon allow students to write on the screen with a pencil that feels just like a pencil they use on paper. Students can use the pencil to write on, highlight and manipulate the text that is on the screen.

Jennifer Faith

Faith applied for funding for soft start morning activities. In her fifth-grade class, Faith would like to incorporate the idea of "soft start" one morning a week. Instead of the typical pencil and paper tasks that students usually complete at the beginning of the day, students will select a STEAM focused activity from several choices available. Students may either work collaboratively or alongside one another as they navigate the activity. Some activities are task-based (solve a brain teaser, construct a specific structure) while others are more open-ended and allow for creative exploration.

Jenn Everetts and Daniel Barrett

Everetts and Barrett applied for funding to attend a motivational interview seminar – level II. Last year, the counselors received a grant to attend level 1 training.

In their words, “Having had the opportunity to attend the beginners training last year has provided our office an impactful technique.”

As school counselors, their unique role is to provide for the social, emotional and academic needs of our students.

There is research that indicates that motivational interviewing can create the change necessary to reduce truancy, prevent dropouts, improve study habits and school performance, improve classroom management, handle disciplinary referrals and increase grades.

Christine Palmer, Brian Baine, and Haven Benedict

Palmer, Baine and Benedict applied to attend the Technology Expo and Conference in Pittsburgh Feb. 23 to 26.

The team would like to attend to gain insight into how fellow educators are incorporating educational technology into their classrooms. Additionally, they know that students in Greencastle-Antrim School District are doing amazing things. They feel the students should be among the groups that showcase their accomplishments. One of their major goals of attending PETE&C is to investigate how G-ASD can send a team of students to the 2021 PETE&C event.

 Glory Sterling and Rebecca Rice

Sterling and Rice requested funding to attend the 2019 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention Nov. 21to 24 in Baltimore, as well as the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents of the NCTE Workshop Nov. 25 and 26 in conjunction with the convention. The literacy convention is one of the largest in the world, with more than 700 concurrent sessions and more than 6,000 attendees.

They already attended the conference and gained new teaching strategies and resources for their students. The teachers received over 150 free books and hope that through these new novels, their students will be inspired to read more each day in their classrooms.