2018 Innovative Grant Awards

Doreen Riss, First Grade Teacher – Rockland Woods Elementary School

Award: $650
Project: Social-Emotional Wellness for Happy Healthy Kids

Students in all grades seem to be struggling with social-emotional issues more than ever. Research has shown that basic social skills are just as important to children’s academic development as core subjects like reading and math. When we teach these skills and empower students with healthy social-emotional coping strategies we reduce problem behaviors and maximize learning time. Students need skills such as knowing how to manage anger, getting along with others, and practicing empathy. These skills need to be modeled and practiced. The research-based Second Step program makes learning those lessons fun with colorful materials, songs and videos, puppets, and engaging Brain Builder games. Social-emotional learning (SEL) is a critical skill that needs to be explicitly taught beginning at a young age.

Sherry Spithaler, Chemistry Teacher – Boonsboro High School

Award: $800
Project: Chemistry Board Game Project

I am asking for grant money to purchase board games to review chemistry concepts. Students do not like reviewing material, but I know they need to review to reinforce concepts they have learned. These games can be used in all levels of chemistry. I am asking for physical board games so my students can review and have fun the old fashion way without technology…they will socially interact with each other in a relaxed atmosphere. I plan to have small groups using the games to review concepts they need, this will allow differentiation for specific student needs.

Chris Baran, Social Studies Teacher – Boonsboro High School

Award: $1,00
Project: Breakout EDU Kits

Breakout EDU is an immersive learning games platform. Breakout EDU kits turn a classroom into an academically-focused escape room and facilitate games where players use teamwork and critical thinking to solve a series of challenging puzzles in order to open the locked box.

Quinn Cashell, Agriculture Teacher – Boonsboro High School

Award: $1,00
Project: Raised Beds for Cut Flower Production

Boonsboro High School students enrolled in Landscape Design will design 4 raised flower beds to grow a variety of flowers that can be used in cut flower arrangements. Students enrolled in Carpentry classes will work to build the 4 raised beds to ensure that they are capable of holding the weight of the soil. Greenhouse Management and Floral Design students will then care for the needs of the plants, ensuring that they grow in a healthy, productive way. All cut flowers will be used to supplement arrangements designed by students in Floral Design.

Tandrea Coates, Art Teacher – Greenbrier Elementary School

Award: $989.75
Project: 3D Printing in Elementary Art

In this 3D printing project, 4th and 5th grade students will combine computer science, technology, library media, and art skills to create a piece of art with computer aided design software. These designs will be printed to create an actual object based on students’ ideas. This will allow students to explore the ideas behind future engineering and art careers.

Sarah McHenry and Michelle Franko, Grade 4 Teachers – Greenbrier Elementary School

Award: $979.86
Project: Connecting Learning with K’Nex

K’nex engineering sets will help us connect our learning of multiple disciplines in a fun a meaningful way! Through hands-on learning and teamwork students will build a replica of a real world green energy source using K’nex. They will then create a brochure to convince the town of Boonsboro to purchase their green energy source.

Jordan Lowery, Classroom Teacher – Smithsburg Middle School

Award: $1,000
Project: World Peace Game

The World Peace Game is a hands-on political training that will allow the educator to simulates real world problems with-in the classroom. Once a week, students will be immersed in a variety of economic, social, and environmental crises and the threat of war. Through the information gained from the teacher training, students will apply knowledge of social studies standards that is covered to aid in their abilities to critically think and transfer that content and skill into the simulation.

Angie Stouffer, Anatomy & Physiology, AP Environmental Science, Biology Teacher, SALT Advisor, AVID Coordinator – Smithsburg High School

Award: $950
Project: Anatomy & Physiology Muscle Models

We have a thriving Anatomy and Physiology program at Smithsburg High. On average, we have 60 students a year take the class and many of these students go on to major in the health profession field in college. Students contact me after graduation on a regular basis, talking about how this class has helped them succeed in college and helped to prepare them for their health profession career. We are in need of muscle models to help students visualize the musculature of the body. Visualization of the body is essential for their understanding.

Amy Krumpe, Lead Teacher/GATE Teacher – Cascade Elementary School

Award: $939.95
Project: Family Code Night

Cascade is located in an isolated area of the county, with many of our students unable to attend technology events at Washington County Library or Discovery Station due to the distance. This grant would allow us to purchase two Lego Mindstorms EV3s and three Botley Coding Sets to host our own ‘Family Coding Nights’ at Cascade. With this new technology, our Cascade coders will be able to use their iPads to unleash a world of talking, walking, and thinking robots and the beauty of this project will be that families can participate together at our own school!

Carly Shockey, Grade 1 Teacher – Emma K. Doub Elementary School

Award: $900
Project: Project Bee-Bots

This project will offer students in grades K-2 the opportunity to explore a natural integration of coding skills with core disciplinary standards and overall literacy. A “Bee-Bot” is an easy to operate code-able robot which travels on a themed mat (school community, story elements, shapes, CVC words, or number lines). Students and/or teachers can also create a personalized lesson to match any content standard with a reusable whiteboard mat. The Bee-Bot engages students to explore the mat by coding a path for the bot using the buttons on it’s back. The possibilities are endless with the reusable Bee-Bot materials.

RaeAnn Coulter, Life Skills Teacher – Pangborn Elementary School

Award: $862.40
Project: Chill Zone Sensory Room

Students in our Title 1 School often bring emotional struggles to school with them; particularly our students with special needs. Providing a place at-risk students can feel safe and secure is essential in building effective learning environments. When students, both in general education and in life skills classrooms, become over stimulated or struggle with controlling emotions, offering a place to deescalate and regain control of their emotions is crucial. Active and calming sensory rooms serve two different purposes. Our school currently has an active sensory room but very few tools for a calming environment and students who greatly need one.

Lily Clay, Art Teacher – Potomac Heights Elementary School

Award: $545.76
Project: Drawing from observation to build foundational skills

Drawing is a fundamental skill in art, a medium that can stand on its own, or a skill that can be utilized to develop ideas in other media. Funds from this mini-grant would be utilized to build students’ foundational knowledge and understanding of how to draw what they observe. Basic drawing models such as geometric forms and drawing manikins provide students simplified examples of forms they see in daily life, allowing them opportunity to examine and practice recording the structures they see so that they can become more adept at depicting variations and details of more complex forms and figures.

Mary Zielinski, Life Skills Teacher and Case Manager – Northern Middle School

Award: $994.02
Project: NMS Family Garden

Life skills students and best buddies plus involved staff will build 2 raised bed vegetable gardens (8′x4′ each) with a paver walking path between them. The vegetable gardens will be located outside of the life skills classroom and will be planted and maintained by these students and their best buddies during and after school hours. Life skills students will use the garden as part of a farm to table/nutrition unit and it will enhance their cooking and prevocational skills.

Jennifer S. Jones, Instrumental Music Teacher – Fountaindale Elementary School

Award: $959.73
Project: Literacy & Instrumental Music

Children become better readers when given access to a variety of level appropriate, engaging texts. This concept holds true in music education as well. Carefully chosen ensemble pieces show how identifying the structure can lead to better understanding. Leveled solo books allow student choice of pieces that increase musical vocabulary while practicing fluency, and increasing focus, confidence, and attention. Manipulatives help with decoding and aid struggling readers. The purchase and use of these materials will strengthen the skills of fluency, decoding, vocabulary, text structure, and focus in music, and encourage a transfer of these vital skills into the reading classroom.

Jennifer Aydelotte, NBCT, Teacher – Fairview Outdoor School

Award: $992
Project: AP Environmental Science Summer Field Camp

Funding is requested to support the AP Environmental Science Summer Field Camp. The camp itinerary is designed to give students in-depth field study experience not afforded to them during a typical school year. These field studies focus on a variety of sampling techniques used in environmental science to collect data. Most activities will take place at Fairview Outdoor School and include a canoe trip on the Potomac River. Requested funding is for student field notebook supplies, T-shirts, and snorkel gear for Potomac River field study. Additional funding will be from WCPS and student registration fees.

Meagan Graff, Music Teacher – Marshall Street Center and the Job Development Program

Award: $468
Project: Building S.T.E.A.M.

The goal of this project is to combine engineering and music. Xyloba is an innovative marble run building kit with musical components. The kit comes with building block style pieces, ramps, and musical blocks which can be assembled in thousands of variations. These kits allow students to engineer marble runs while simultaneously composing music. Students can select any of the chimes and note duration pieces to create their own melodies. We would like to purchase two different Xyloba kits, and will use them with both the Job Development program and Marshall Street School students.

Lucinda Rector, PreK Teacher – Lincolnshire Elementary School

Award: $600
Project: Performance Task Centers

The purpose of the Performance Task Stations, during the formative Pre-Kindergarten years, are to develop the behaviors-and functions- of the Kindergarten Readiness Assessment (KRA): Motor Development, Physical Well Being, Social Foundations, Language and Literacy, Science and Math w/ Spatial Reasoning. The stations will help teachers arrange for opportunities where students are involved in building, creating, inquiring, investigating and reflecting. Ultimately, these stations will prepare students to perform at, or above, the KRA expectations. The task centers will be used throughout various points of the day, with teachers and para pros facilitating the learning and coaching students with purposeful feedback.

John Poniske, Government Teacher – Antietam Academy

Award: $499
Project: Chess Giants

I propose to purchase a MegaChess Giant Premium Chess Set with 25 Inch Tall King and a Giant Chess 9′ by 9′ Mat to compliment and promote our current chess program. I have operated a chess program at Antietam Academy for over 12 years. Over any school year we draw up to 60% of our high school students. Fifty to 60% of our players have never played before; most believed it was beyond their abilities. The transformation of many of these tough kids is amazing to see. I plan to use the Giant Set for final tournaments, for student call-ins and for celebratory functions.

2018 award winner photos!