Carmel Education Foundation classroom grants will help foster learning

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From left, Prairie Trace Elementary School teachers Lauren Doran, Elizabeth Hehner, Lauren Burke, Holly VanTreese and Denise Dragash will be able to teach collaboratively thanks to a grant for webcams given by the Carmel Education Foundation. (Submitted photo)

From left, Prairie Trace Elementary School teachers Lauren Doran, Elizabeth Hehner, Lauren Burke, Holly VanTreese and Denise Dragash will be able to teach collaboratively thanks to a grant for webcams given by the Carmel Education Foundation. (Submitted photo)

By Amanda Foust

Prairie Trace Elementary Teachers were recently awarded 1 of 13 classroom grants from the Carmel Education Foundation given to enhance the collaborative teaching efforts in Carmel’s classrooms.

The $837 grant will be used to supply two different types of webcams for a total of 9 cameras. One type to be used for class instruction, and the other type to be used by students working on classroom computer stations at Prairie Trace.

“We’re all technology focused and inspired to find ways to bring that to our students who also love technology. Technology is often a great way to get students engaged and using 21st century skills,” said the recipient teachers, Holly VanTreese, Lauren Doran, Lauren Burk, Liz Hehner and Denise Dragash, in a statement.

The cameras will allow all classrooms to be connected simultaneously for shared learning, but the work station web cams will also allow students to connect on a one-to-one level.

The webcams can also be used to record lessons for absent students or to connect students in different classrooms who need the same remedial lessons.

“We are very excited,” said Barbara Danquist, co-executive director of the Carmel Education Foundation.

The grants signal a return to more generous award giving from the foundation. For the past five years it has only given out grants once a year, but thanks to more success in its fundraising efforts, the Carmel Education Foundation will now give out grants twice a year, and this year’s spring grants are the first result.

In the fall, $12,000 in teacher grants was awarded, and in 2014 the foundation expects to give about $32,000 in grants, Danquist said.

Spring classroom grants

  • District Wide Grant – Books for 411 students in Carmel’s three Title 1 schools will be purchased as well as securing more Title 1 funds.
  • Mohawk Trails Elementary — High-quality pedometers will be purchased for 600 K-5 students for a yearlong Pilot Program called Turtle Trek.
  • Orchard Park Elementary — Extremely worn gym equipment will be replaced.
  • Woodbrook Elementary — A “Social Thinking” curriculum will be used for 14 weeks to strengthen students’ social skills and emotional regulation supports.
  • Creekside Middle — A NASA-designed paper rocket project will be used for 450 eighth-grade science students.
  • West Clay Elementary — New books and posters of art works by Impressionist-era artists will be purchased, and it will cover a field trip to IMA.
  • Orchard Park Elementary — 25 Therapy Balls to be used by second-graders to improve focus and fine motor skills.
  • Clay Middle School — Eighth-grade Language Arts teachers can utilize three new iPads.
  • Smokey Row Elementary — Four sets of Keva wooden plants and rolling bins will be used to embrace collaborative learning and critical thinking.
  • Carmel High School — Building materials will be purchased to build a battery life tester and batteries to be used by Statistics classes and Engineering and Technology students for the next 10 years.
  • Carmel Middle School — A sensory room for 100 autistic students will be revamped to allow them to manage their sensory needs.
  • Smokey Row Elementary — The school technology coordinator will purchase an iPad to test new apps, allow students to experiment with learning products, as well as offer management tools to establish a classroom environment to prepare for the digital job market.
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