WATERLOO | Ten Waterloo Schools special programs received funding grants Tuesday from the Waterloo Schools Foundation.
The grants were handed out at an Academic Excellence Breakfast, which featured the talents of Waterloo students and a speech by James N. Miller, a graduate of Waterloo West who highlighted how special teachers' lessons stuck with him through his career.
In the five years of the Waterloo Schools Foundation, about $650,000 has been handed out to Waterloo Schools. In the four years of the existence of the teaching grant distribution, about $94,000 has been awarded to Waterloo teachers in grants to improve academic achievement and promote critical thinking in Waterloo Schools.
This year's grant winners are:
- Inspiring 3D Creativity. Teacher Carrie Taylor of Highland and Cunningham elementaries. It will help fifth-grade Expanded Learning Program (ELP) students create more detailed and authentic 3D models for their Invent Iowa projects and may also be expanded for use with Engineering is Elementary projects.
- Jacob's Ladder Reading Comprehension Program. Teacher Amy McGovern, Lou Henry Elementary. The program offers challenging sets of books that allow advanced reading students in grades K-5 to achieve higher level critical reading and thinking skills and learn through interaction with peers.
- Failure-Free Reading Supplemental Curriculum for Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students. Teacher Jennifer Peters, Lou Henry, Elementary, Hoover Middle School and East High School. The curriculum will be used to improve the reading ability and communication skills of deaf and hard of hearing students by offering a non-phonic approach to reading for those students who use sign language.
- Central Genius Time. Teachers Micki Hartwig and Jon Dennis, Central Middle School. Software will be purchased to that students in Genius Time can explore self-directed learning and apply research skills to topics they are passionate about, collaborating through use of technology to create digital and tangible end products, taking learning to a higher level.
- Seeing is Believing. Teachers Andrew Foelske, West High, and Onni Prestidge, East High. The program provides hands-on learning experiences to ninth- through 12th-grade health students. Four state-of-the art models and activity kits will be used to build health literacy in the areas of human anatomy, tobacco and alcohol awareness, and food and nutrution.
- Rubik's Cube Club. Teacher Robin Loes, Orange and Kingsley elementaries. The club will provide enrichment for students with high spatial intelligence. Fourth- and fifth-grade students will collaborate with International Baccalaureate students from East High and West High to exercise their brains and create mosaics using Rubik's Cubes.
- Using Science to Grow. Teachers Mike Landers and Tony Kisch, Carver Middle School. Sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade science students will be provided with quality meters, sensors and other cutting edge technology to use in the Dick Young Greenhouse at the school. They partner with Lost Island Waterpark to care for a growing inventory of plants during the winter months and then return them to Lost Island for the summer.
- Taking a Closer Look at Science. Teachers, Janeth King and Megan Ruebel, Carver Middle School. Funding will provide materials for classroom dissection in sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade biology classes.
- Growing Minds in the Garden. Teacher Sherri Peterson, Elk Run Early Childhood Center. Funding provides the center with child-sized tooks, plants, seeds, soil and gardening books that will give children the opportunity to plant and grow flowers and vegetables as part of the life science curriculum.
- The Sky is the Limit. Teacher Kelsey Knebel, Hoover Middle School. Funds will purchase a telescope, astronomy binoculars and planispheres for the program at the Shirey Observatory at the school. This builds on a previously funded grant that helped reopen the observatory to the public and the schools. This grant has been designated the Charles and Betty Landgraf Dalton Endowment Award.