Crowley ISD Connections Magazine Summer 2017 - Page 5

Granting Wishes For Teachers Education Foundation financial gifts impact students across the district Written by Megan Middleton In its first year to award grants, the Chisholm Trail Education Foundation introduced Crowley ISD elementary students to computer coding, exposed middle school students to 3D technology and made intermediate classrooms a bit cozier. The foundation surprised teacher with nine grants, totaling more than $30,000 for innovative projects during the 2016-17 convocation. Grants ranged from $1,000 to $5,000. New grants will be awarded at convocation in August for the 2017-18 school year. “This is a grant program designed to help teachers who need funds for innovative classroom projects that might not otherwise be available because the programs were new and innovative and creative,” said Bonnie Barksdale, president of the Chisholm Trail Education Foundation board. The foundation’s grant of more than $4,000 to Oakmont Elementary paid for two class sets of Ozobots and 10 iPad minis — technology that allows students to learn how to code in a fun way. Students from kindergarten through fourth grades, including students with intellectual disabilities in the Functional Academics class, have used the tiny robots. North Crowley High School students visited Oakmont to help teach their elementary counterparts how to use coding to operate the Ozobots. “It’s sparked a lot of interest in coding across the whole school,” said Ginny Campbell, an Oakmont Gifted and Talented Education teacher. “I think it’s great that they’ve had the experience and the opportunity to do that at such a young age.” Thanks to a grant from the Chisholm Trail Education Foundation, students at Oakmont Elementary School are learning coding in a fun way and use their skills to control tiny robots. 2016-17 Grants $2,500 - Crowley Middle School, Students Supporting Students $5,000 - Crowley and North Crowley high schools, Creating Unity Through Artistry $4,900 - Dallas Park Elementary, Step into My World $4,463 - Meadowcreek Elementary, Teach Town $1,000 - North Crowley High School, Panther Olympics $4,344 - Oakmont Elementary, Coding for Kids $4,923 - Sue Crouch Intermediate, Student-Centered Classroom $3,000 - Summer Creek Middle School, 3D Applications in Science $1,000 - Sycamore Elementary, Math Carnival Megan Hutson, a Functional Academics teacher at Oakmont, said the Ozobots have been beneficial to her students as well. “I truly believe that these Ozobots provide more than just an opportunity for students to showcase higher level thinking skills, but it also gives real life functional practice of important skills for their future,” Hutson said. At Sue Crouch, grant funding made it possible for teachers to offer alternative seating options to make classroom learning more comfortable. Students can sit in bean bag chairs, on stability balls, moon chairs or at tall tables with tall chairs. STEM Academy teacher Shelley Alvine and three other teachers at Sue Crouch applied f or the grant for the flexible seating after researching ways to improve behavior and focus. Students love the additional seating options, and teachers have seen it help with focus and discipline issues, Alvine said. “We really wanted to do it, but the amount of money it would have cost us, we wouldn’t have been able to,” she said. Fifth-grader Jeffery Hunsinger said he likes getting to choose to sit where he feels most comfortable. “I usually sit at the bean bags, and I have a bean bag at my house, so it makes me feel at home and it helps me focus,” he said. The foundation is making a difference in the lives of CISD students, Alvine said. “They are truly impacting our students in Crowley ISD and helping us become more innovative,” she said. “Everyone should apply.” CROWLEY ISD CONNECTIONS | Summer 2017 5