Students in eight schools will benefit from over $10,000 in grants awarded by the Bullitt County Foundation for Excellence in Public Education.
The largest award of $1,835 was granted to Mt. Washington Middle School curriculum coach Kim Lesher for Let’s Make and Build.
“We want to get students excited about Science, Technology, Math and Science (STEM) and introduce them to possible careers in STEM fields and are purchasing a 3-D printer with supplies,” she said. “Crystal Canada teaches Project Lead The Way Design and Modeling. Students will design scale models of different objects and be able to print them with the 3D printer.”
A total of $1,500 each was allotted to the following: Keith Stallings of Zoneton Middle School for Man Cave: Outdoor Classrooms; Amy Ferrell of Nichols Elementary School for Nichols Goes Underwater and Cathy Pinkston of Mt. Washington Elementary School for a Project WIN iPad Lab.
“‘Project WIN’” stands for What I Need and is a technology initiative that increases Chromebook access for 2nd grade students,” Pinkston said. “Project WIN goals include: enhanced technology applications for struggling readers, or novice reduction; skills practice for students who need a bump to reach proficiency or mastery; and extension opportunities for gifted students in math and reading. Project WIN supports differentiated instruction and customized education goals for up to 100 students.”
District Safe Schools Coordinator Sarah Smith was awarded $1,457.70 to purchase Too Good for Drugs & Violence for Middle School Drug Prevention.
“The grant has allowed me to purchase drug prevention curriculum for health teachers of middle and high schools (three for middle and three for high),” she explained. “The program is called Too Good for Drugs and Violence and is prevention education through social and emotional learning.”
This 10-week program builds resiliency and resistance to risky behavior. Lessons on the effects of abuse on marijuana, nicotine, opiates, prescription and OTC drugs are taught to enhance the perception of harm.
Bullitt Lick Middle School music teacher Meredith Patton and her students will take a field trip to the Louisville Youth Orchestra thanks to a $1,170 grant.
“The grant money we received will be used to pay for transportation to a performance by the Louisville Youth Orchestra for the entire 8th grade plus the 6th and 7th grade band students,” Patton said. “Many of our students have never been to a live orchestra performance, so this field trip was a great opportunity for them to experience something new. They learned about the different components of the orchestra, how they work together, and how advances in technology have influenced the world of classical music.”
Maryville Elementary School Preschool teacher Jennifer Cornell earned $1,128.71 for authentic fine motor and writing skills.
“My grant is going to help students develop fine motor skills such as strength, eye-hand coordination, and pre-writing tasks,” she said. “Fine motor skill development is crucial for students to be kindergarten ready. Fine motor also helps them be able to attend to task for longer periods of time. This grant is going to be used with preschool and kindergarten children.”
Over the last five years, Cornell has noticed a decline in children having the appropriate fine motor skills to be successful students. The main reason is that students are more sedentary, such as playing on technological devices versus physical activities.
“Large motor skills have to be achieved before small motor skills can flourish. Young children are not having as much exposure to writing and art materials,” she said. “For example, coloring apps do not build finger strength and unless they are using a stylus, they are not learning how to grip a writing instrument. You have to have strong muscles to put enough pressure on the crayon to make visible marks.”
Cornell’s colleague, Kacie Fiske of Maryville, earned $693.90 for 3Doodler Create Pens.
“I am receiving six 3Doodler Create pens for my STEAM Lab,” Fiske said. “The students frequently have engineering projects and this will be one more way they can make a prototype. I am also going to have a unit on sculpture. The 3D pen would be another medium which students could explore with creating a sculpture.”
Fiske explained that one benefit for students training on a new technology that they would not otherwise experience.
“This will keep them engaged and provide critical thinking within their projects,” she noted. “It will fit into my STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math) curriculum perfectly. The 3D pens will help me to combine many of these concepts when teaching this project.”
The Foundation raises funds through events such as a spring Derby Gala and payroll donations to award grants through a competitive application process.