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Teachers’ classroom wishes are granted

By Miriam G. Mazliach

June 17, 2011

Wide smiles and whoops of joy greeted Fremont Education Foundation (FEF) visitors, who entered the classrooms of unsuspecting teachers on the morning of June 2. Carrying balloons and posters, they were there to “grant the wishes” of those teachers whose proposals had been selected to be funded.

Earlier in the year many district teachers had submitted grant proposals to FEF, for a variety of classroom programs and necessities. On this day, nine lucky educators and their classes would be on the receiving end, through FEF’s Innovative Education Grants.

Monies derived from FEF’s “Excellence in Education Gala,” held in February, supports the Innovative Education Grants program, benefiting Fremont’s public schools. In light of the current budget crisis, these donated funds are needed more than ever to support educational classroom activities, programs, and to assist students’ learning.

Since 1991, FEF, as an independent non-profit foundation, has worked closely with the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) to support the community’s schools, teachers and students through its generous grant programs.

Today’s surprise was the culmination of the efforts of Fremont Education Foundation’s dedicated volunteers. Along to deliver the good news were: FEF Vice President, Desrie Campbell; Fremont Schools Superintendent James Morris; School Board Trustee, Lara York; Assistant Superintendent of Instruction, Deborah Sims and Director of Elementary Education, Debbie Amundson.

Warm Springs Elementary teacher Mary Jo Taylor who was granted $2,997.01 to purchase books for differentiated reading instruction, exclaimed, “Wow, 500 books for the classroom to share what we’re reading. We can have more than one copy of each book. This is wonderful! Thank you; you made my day.”

The highest grant award was bestowed on David Skillings who teaches English and Journalism at Washington High School. He plans to use the $3,000 to purchase a Mac computer and a video camera to help the students learn video productions and to report on school activities.

According to FEF, the grants are focused on areas such as: increasing student academic achievement, creativity, leadership, the arts, physical fitness, diversity and conflict resolution. Desrie Campbell, FEF Vice-President adds, “This year we raised $32,264 [through the Excellence in Education Gala]. This represents about $2,500 over last year which tells me that despite the economic realities of today, members of our community are still willing to support Fremont Schools and the Fremont Education Foundation. I feel honored to be part of helping teachers use innovative approaches in student learning. The Innovative Education Grants is our way of saying thank you for all you do.”

Here is the complete list of grant allocations:

Grant Title: Video Technology for Students with Motor Disabilities
Recipient & Amount: Harold Hathaway, Clara Gialanella, Horner Elementary/Special Services - $350

Grant Title: Bringing the Listening Center into the 21st Century
Recipient & Amount: Maria De Luz, Leitch Elementary School - $780

Grant Title: Giving Children a Voice
Recipient & Amount: Armida Reed, Azevada Elementary School - $847.95

Grant Title: Guided Language Acquisition Design Strategies Utilizing Visual Technology for Language Delay Intervention
Recipient & Amount: Andrea Wakayama Tachiki, Warwick Elementary School - $2,521.79

Grant Title: Technology to Support Multi-Modal Instruction
Recipient & Amount: Debbie Afana, Brookvale Elementary School/Special Services - $2,561.33

Grant Title: Mobi-Supporting Effective Instruction
Recipient & Amount: Denise Mapelli, Brookvale Elementary School - $2,831.40

Grant Title: App-titude for Learning with iPad2: Achieving Academic Standards with iPad2 Apps
Recipient & Amount: Christina Taylor, Oliveira Elementary School - $2,995.08

Grant Title: Differentiated Reading Instruction through Guided Reading
Recipient & Amount: Mary Jo Taylor, Warm Springs Elementary - $2,997.01

Grant Title: State of the Art Video Production
Recipient & Amount: David Skillings, Washington High School - $3,000

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