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District awards teacher grants for innovation

Donald McIntyre presents a check to Bailey Ewing.

Princeton ISD awarded funding to eight innovative projects that teachers will implement in their classrooms next fall.

Teachers were surprised with the grant announcements during the final school luncheon and presented with an oversized check to celebrate the occasion.

This celebration culminated a multi-step process, which included teachers submitting proposals for their ideas followed by a committee going over each proposal to determine the winners.

Nearly $40,000 in funding was approved.

“We want to encourage teacher innovation in the classroom,” Superintendent Donald McIntyre said. “If everyone is doing the same thing across the campus and across the district, it can become boring to students over time. This helps keep education fresh.”

Princeton ISD has been funding special projects to be used in classrooms for several years, and this marks the fourth year teachers were asked to submit formal proposals for this money.

Through the application process, teachers submitted proposals to explain how their project would benefit the students’ learning, as well as make an impact on the community.

The district funded eight classroom initiatives.

“By awarding these projects at the end of the school year, it is strategic in that we have the summer to get everything in place so they can start the new school year with their innovation operational,” Mr. McIntyre said.

There were several excited teachers as administrators handed out their oversized checks.

“The projects this year will give the kids some unique opportunities,” Assistant Superintendent James Lovelady said. “This is a great way to end this school year and prepare for the new school year.”

Where the funds will be used:

-Lacy life skills teacher Stormy Hoyle requested 10 iPads, which will be loaded with the Prologue communication program.

“This proposal helps the lower functioning life skills students we teach,” Ms. Hoyle said. “Knowing each of these children needs every opportunity to learn and grow, obtaining devices that will walk them through communication and learning academics is paramount.”

According to Ms. Hoyle, teachers use iPads as a tool to become more innovative educators, and this in turn, leads to improved classroom learning.

“Communication out in the community is the hardest and most important skill we teach in special education,” she said. “Prologue will allow each student to obtain those skills.”

Stormy Hoyle accepts her check for iPads.

-Diocelina Guillen, 6th-grade math teacher at Clark, requested a SMART Board for her classroom and standing desks for her students.

“The technology that a SMART Board will provide to my classroom will help greatly, and my vision as a 6th-grade teacher is to teach my students in all ways possible,” Ms. Guillen said. “Having a standing desk will help my students be alert and ready to learn on a daily basis. It also decreases behavior issues for students with ADHD.”

Diocelina Guillen accepts her check for standing desks.

-Pauline Aguilar’s proposal will help construct a greenhouse at Clark Middle School for the ABLE/BAU program.

“There is research that promotes gardening as therapy for children with autism and behavior problems,” said Ms. Aguilar, who leads Clark’s ABLE/BAU program for 6th-, 7th- and 8th-graders. “Gardening activities are a benefit for students with behavior and social skill deficits.”

According to Ms. Aguilar, outdoor learning boosts children’s cognitive development by focusing their attention and improving concentration.

“The use of gardens as a place of healing and wellness dates back to ancient Egypt,” she said. “Using their hands to work the dirt can give students a sense of peace. This can lead to personal transformation and growth.”

Pauline Aguilar will create a greenhouse at Clark.

-Lowe 4th-grader teacher Bailey Ewing will get an interactive board.

“An interactive board allows you to display something that would normally be on the screen of your computer,” Ms. Ewing said. “With an interactive board, I would be able to get my class more involved in the lesson, which would make subjects that are very pencil heavy into something that seems more exciting to the students.”

-Godwin teachers Lisa Doerr, Joell Morris and Dawn Myers will receive magnetic white board lap desks for use in kindergarten, 1st- and 2nd-grade classrooms.

“A major focus for instruction at this age is developing and sustaining fundamental language skills,” Ms. Morris said. “Using magnetic white board lap desks, students will be able to work with teachers to learn, practice and extend learning in language arts using concrete manipulatives.”

Godwin teachers to implement magnetic white board lessons.

-Because Jason Milligan submitted a proposal, all physical education students at Lowe and beyond will have tumbling mats to use in the gym.

“The mats will aid in the creativity of a multitude of activities, not limited to just those associated with gymnastics and tumbling,” Coach Milligan said. “The benefits of these activities are flexibility, muscular strength and muscular endurance. These will promote living a healthy lifestyle, setting children up for a promising future. While these mats are secured for Lowe, they will be available for use by other campuses.”

Jason Milligan will use tumbling mats at Lowe.

-Lisa Delmonte wrote a proposal for an art media center for use by Clark art students.

“I would like to set up an art media center in my classroom to benefit my students with the ability of downloading and uploading their artwork into a digital portfolio,” Ms. Delmonte said. “The art portfolio is extremely important to art education, but we know our classrooms are not truly big enough to house all the essentials. Each child needs the ability to keep records of their art experiences. They can look back at their past works and see their improvements.”

-Special education teacher Ryanne Dillard secured funding for Lacy to receive 10 Chromebooks for use in the structured learning classroom for kindergarten through 5th grade.

“The students in my classroom are autistic and greatly relate to technology, not only on a personal level, but a creative level, as well as an academic level,” Ms. Dillard said. “Most of my students struggle with written expression and having the opportunity to type or create something on a technical device eases frustrations, anxiety and behavior for my students. Having more technology in the classroom would not only increase academic performance, it would also decrease exhibited maladaptive verbal and physical behavior.”

Ryanne Dillard will use Chromebooks in the structured learning class.