Tri-Cities Voice Newspaper - What's Happening - Fremont, Union City, Newark California

June 6, 2006 > Innovation pays off for educators

Innovation pays off for educators

Tuesday, May 30, was a school day filled with bouquets and smiles. Representatives of the Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) and Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) traveled by caravan to visit Fremont schools delivering balloon bouquets and award certificates. This "prize patrol," comprised of Nina Moore, Lara York, and Debra Watanuki of FEF with Parvin Ahmadi, Director of Elementary Education for FUSD, made surprise visits to classrooms amid cheers and accolades from students and fellow educators. Recipients were informed that they were selected as beneficiaries of 2006-07 FEF grants. A wide variety of intriguing subjects and grade levels will benefit from innovative programs made possible with these grants. A brief description of the grants awarded follows:

Periodic Table Alive
Gary Benz, 10th-12th grade, American High School - $2,800

This grant is aimed at increasing student understanding of the periodic table, atomic structure and bonding by providing students the opportunity to review measurement and chemical reaction standards, construct a solar cell, and produce an alternative, renewable fuel (hydrogen from water).

Improving Educational Opportunities for All Students
Paula Buckner, K-3rd grades, Brookvale Elementary School - $2,700

The goal of this grant is to improve academic achievement for students in two mild/moderate special day classes.  Based on ten years of research, a classroom sound-field amplification system will be installed to reduce inattentive and off-task behaviors during instructional time, increasing student achievement.

Leap in to Learning
Brannin Dorsey and Geri Dotson, Kindergarten, Parkmont Elementary School - $2,588

For students entering kindergarten with extremely varied educational preparation and readiness levels,   the goal is to engage students and maximize individual student growth and mastery of the State kindergarten content standards.  Leap Frog Literacy Center and Leap Frog assessment software linked to the Open Court curriculum will be used.

High-Tech Visuals
Clint Johns, Irvington High School - $1,685

Interactive visual diagrams will be used to increase understanding of advanced mathematical concepts in Algebra, Trigonometry, Data Analysis, and Calculus. What-if scenarios will enable clear demonstrations of concepts and increased student understanding.

Alternative Energy for All
Harriet Matsuoka, 6th grade, Harvey Green Elementary School - $1,300

Sixth grade students study energy as part of the State content standards.  This grant is aimed at increasing student understanding of the presented concepts through hands-on activities.  Using kits, students will create models of solar cookers and solar houses, then build solar-powered vehicles and roller coasters, and ultimately design their own alternative energy invention.

Strengthening Language Arts Skills Through Theater
Susanne Reed, 3rd grade, Warwick Elementary School - $1,624

The goal is to integrate theatrical writing and performance with approved language arts, social studies and science curriculum to increase proficiency of 3rd grade students in reading comprehension and fluency, public speaking, listening and writing skills.  A classroom library of stories, published plays, and novels can be transformed into performance pieces.

Social Skills Development Program Materials for Students with Autism
Cheri Sanchez, 1st-6th grade, Mission Valley Elementary School - $466

This grant is designed to increase social skills and successful interactions for students with autism through the development and use of social stories to teach social norms.  Photography equipment and software will create social stories; two books will help develop social stories and create social skills activities.

Making Sense of Science and Mathematics with Manipulatives
Antoniette Scholbohm, 6th grade,  Ardenwood Elementary School - $1760

Hands-on math and science activities are intended to increase student understanding of 6th grade science and math concepts.  The grant funds math and science games, brain teasers, manipulatives, and science lab videos.
Building Bridges Through Poetry
Kelly Tarkowski and Carri Cassidy, 3rd grade, Parkmont Elementary School - $2,700

Enabling students to meet or exceed third grade writing standards by increasing their ability to use descriptive language and imagery is achieved through a series of poetry lessons. A service-learning component of this project will involve interviews with local senior citizens so that students can create and present poems related to local history.  The grant will fund six one-hour poetry lessons, conducted by a poet-teacher from California Poets in the Schools, for six 3rd grade classrooms (36 sessions).

Differentiated Independent Reading and Literature Letters
Mary Jo Taylor, 3rd grade, Warm Springs Elementary School - $1,300

Independent reading time, written reflection, and oral sharing is geared to each student's reading level and individual progress. This grant is aimed at increasing students' reading skills and comprehension by funding a classroom library of leveled chapter books.

Trout in the Classroom
Sherea Westra, 2nd grade, Niles Elementary School - $738

The State Content standards for 2nd grade include the understanding of life cycles of living things. Students in this 2nd grade class will experience first-hand the life cycle of a living creature and the delicate balance needed for animals to survive in aquatic ecosystems.  Working with the East Bay Regional Park District and eggs provided by their hatchery, the grant will fund an aquarium, aquarium equipment and materials, a field trip, and materials for related classroom art and writing activities.

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