WBEF AWARDS $30,642.73.
Some Wylie students might notice cool new technology and other learning tools in their classrooms this fall, as teachers begin to spend grant money awarded this past May by the Wylie Bulldogs Education Foundation.
In May, the WBEF prize patrol traveled around to all the campuses, delivering $30,642.73 in grant money. Six of the grants were awarded to the High School, five to the Junior High, one to the Middle School, three to the Intermediate, five at Wylie East Elementary, six at Wylie West Elementary and two for the ECC. The new junior high was not open at the time.
Two of the grants were for Reading, three for STEM Centers, one for Science, three for Art, three for Workshops, one for Music, three for Technology, two for P.E., one for DI, seven for focus, one for special education and one for classroom organization.
The teachers had to go through an application process. The WBEF raises money each year at its annual “We Are Wylie” Dinner, which funds the grants. This year’s dinner is Oct. 3. For more details, go to WylieBulldogsEducationFoundation.com.
Here is the full list of grants given in May 2019:
Grant #1: Wylie Bulldog Production Audio Improvement – Bill Young, High School, received $901 for audio equipment that will allow the Audio/Visual production class to improve the audio quality of new productions and further the level of professionalism in recording events and projects. With the new equipment, students will develop greater skills in audio recording of live events and interviews that they carry into the video production industry and possibly earn college scholarships in this field. The equipment should last 10-15 years.
Grant #2: Flexible Seating for Active Learners – Mandi McVay, ECC, received $750.79 to purchase Flexible Seating options for a transitional kindergarten classroom. Children are now coming to school with immature motor skills, poor posture, lacking in balance and coordination, sensory overload and almost no core muscles. Researchers have found that these deficits are directly related to educational achievement. These flexible seating options – such as cushions, stools, and fidget bands – will be used to strengthen those areas and will play a key role in triggering the brain for high learning concepts.
Grant #3: Wylie East PPCD – Kayla Brashears Barnes, Wylie East ECC, received $987.92 to purchase manipulatives, magnetic gears, hammering kits, puppet sets, etc. for special education students who learn better with hands-on activities. These tools will help with gross and fine motor development. With these items, the kids will be able to hold pencils, participate in PE, button clothes, and perform many other daily functions that are needed to be smart, happy and healthy.
Grant #4: “Wheel” create some Pottery – Alexis Hughes, High School, received $1,029.63 to purchase an electric potter’s wheel and bats. This wheel would be an update to the ceramics equipment on which they learn basics on in Junior High. A wheel is very hands-on and is a fun skill that students will be excited to come to class to learn. Students will be able to make a variety of items such as bowls, cups and vases. These items could then be sold in the Bulldog Christmas Market to help raise additional funds for the Art department.
Grant #5: WHS Drone Fleet – Andrew Hope, High School, received $1,000 to purchase 5 small quadcopter drones for use in the engineering and robotics classes at Wylie High. Students will use the drones to collaborate and develop projects that promote critical thinking and utilize STEM curriculum. By using the drones on a daily basis, students will gain skills and experience that will help them succeed in various projects and robotics competitions throughout the year. The drones will help diversify the instruction in the classroom leading to enhanced student engagement. The students will also have the opportunity to become FAA certified by taking the course as an upper level elective during their senior year.
Grant #6: 7th and 8th grade physical education equipment – Rose Bristow and Heather Collier, Junior High, received $1,005.10 to purchase equipment for students to use for PE at the Junior High. The current situation has the Middle School and the Junior High sharing equipment so receiving new equipment will allow the exploration of many different types of units in the curriculum. A variety of lifetime sports and games will use equipment such as Pickle-Ball, Tennis, Badminton, Frisbee, Disc Golf, volleyball, softball and others. The hope is that students will love playing and working out and that they will establish that lifestyle as adults.
Grant #7: Let’s Become Robotic Experts – Luke Hurst, Junior High, received $849 to purchase four Hummingbird duo classroom kits for the Coding, Gaming, Robotics and Innovation (CGRI) class at the Junior High. These kits will allow students to make their own robots by using cardboard and other materials. These robotic kits have the ability to keep students ahead of the technology in education. This class is project based so the best way to determine success is to see the end products.
Grant #8: STEM, Learning and Fine Motor Centers – Kathy Burnitt, West Elementary, received $746.76 to purchase math and science centers, STEM kits and items to develop better fine motor skills. Research shows that center-based classrooms are filled with children who have a high degree of enthusiasm for their learning. They are more engaged in their learning than students in a classroom based solely on teacher lectures. STEM classrooms are flexible, mobile, integrated, organized, flipped (teacher presents problems, students solve the problems), and team-focused.
Grant #9: MCEC National Training Seminar – Teela Locker, High School, received $1,000 to attend the National Training Seminar in Washington, DC, for Student2Student sponsors. The goal of S2S is to help highly mobile students, primarily military, adjust to their new school. S2S is supported by an organization called MCEC, or Military Child Education Coalition. The training that will be provided at NTS will benefit the S2S program by helping the organization to grow and service new students at Wylie. The money will be used to help further knowledge for the S2S Sponsors to help guide the S2S students on how to help new students feel plugged in and welcome at Wylie High School.
Grant #10: MCEC National Training Seminar – Kendall Harrison, High School, received $1,000 to also attend the S2S Training Seminar.
Grant #11: Habitudes Intensive Training – Kristian Spencer, Junior High, received $1,766.40 to attend the Habitudes Intensive Training in Atlanta, GA. Spencer teaches B.U.I.L.D: Bulldog character, Uniting peers, Investigating careers, Leading by example, Discovering our potential. This is a semester long class that introduces 16 career clusters as well as a 13-part leadership curriculum by Dr. Tim Elmore through the Growing Leaders Institute. The seminar will teach best practices for teaching Habitudes and will allow for stronger curriculum in guiding students to the real-world, student-centered, application-based skill of Leadership.
Grant #12: Physically Active Lifestyle – Adrienne Ruffin as a team with Shay Cox and Paul Mock, Middle School, received $2,978.05 to purchase needed equipment for the Physical Education program which will allow students to play games and do different exercises that will help them to be physically fit while learning lifelong skills and teamwork. Some of the equipment that will be purchased includes Plyometric Boxes for improving strength and vertical jumps, Banana Hurdles used in the training of lifting knees when running and Jerseys which will allow for less students on each team so that they can have more reps on each activity.
Grant #13: Store Our AWESOME Work – Lisa Camp, High School, received $753.96 to purchase shelving for the art classroom. This shelving will be used for the purpose of storing student 3-D art work as well as for drying their clay pieces. It will also be used for storing classroom paper as well as other larger objects. Shelving will allow the students to work on and keep their in-progress work in the room without fear of setting it on the floor and it being destroyed in the hustle and bustle of the art room.
Grant #14: Standing Desks for 4th Grade Inclusion Classroom – Amy Wallenborn, Intermediate, received $448.94 to purchase two standing desks and two stools. Many of the students in the special education classroom have unique needs that can be met by engaging in movement while learning. This teacher already uses flexible seating in her classroom and these additions will add to the seating options and allow for the student’s various learning styles to be met while creating a better classroom environment.
Grant #15: Fiction Books for the New Wylie East Elementary Library – Stacy Theilan, Wylie East Elementary, received $1,000 to to purchase fiction books for the new Wylie East Elementary. Most of the books are considered easy readers which will help build the student’s self-confidence in reading. This library was donated books from other campuses but those donations did not include many of the most popular books that the students are interesting in reading. This money will help to purchase some of those favorite books.
Grant #16: Global Finals Tournament – Destination Imagination Program – Kim Cheek and the Wylie DI team received $2,000 for travel to the DI Global Finals. Five teams from Wylie ISD earned the right to compete against the WORLD at the Destination Imagination Global Finals competition in Kansas City, MO, the last week of May. These 5 teams earned this right by placing in the Texas state competition. Texas is known to be the hardest state to advance in the US. The cost is $6,400 per team just to enter the competition and does not include room and board. These students will be competing against all other US state champions as well as champions from around the world – including China, Romania, Qatar, the UK, Mexico and many others. It is a once in a lifetime event for these students and their parents. It allows these students to learn about diversity, learn about other cultures and states, and it allows them to compete against the best in the World at creative problem solving. The money from this grant will be used to assist with travel expenses of these students.
Grant #17: PLAY-time – Angela McKnight, Wylie East Elementary, received $1,000 to purchase musical instruments for the new Wylie East Elementary music classroom. These instruments will add to the low supply of instruments caused by sharing among the different campuses. The skill of learning to play an instrument improves hand-eye coordination, teaches responsibility, encourages creative expression and composition and helps develop preeminent listening skills. Money from this grant will purchase more than 120 instruments.
Grant #18: Operation Keep Our Busy Minds Focused –Rachel Perkins, Elementary, received $456.74 to purchase of a variety of different flexible seating options in the classroom. Physical activity is linked to higher academic performance, better health and improved behavior. There is power for students in their ability to choose where they sit. The grant will also purchase a talking piece to encourage more participation during lessons. These additions to the classroom will keep students more focused and engaged in the learning process and will, in turn, help them to do better on independent daily work and curriculum weekly tests.
Grant #19: Flexible Seating Plan – Nancy Reed, Elementary, received $700 to purchase additional flexible seating furniture to enhance the classroom environment. Research demonstrates that the students learn more optimally in environments which allow student choice and are student centered. Flexible seating arrangements provide alternative style furniture for students to sit, kneel, stand, roll, wobble and bounce while they are working. Beyond the furniture itself, flexible classroom arrangements encourage children to develop their sense of self within the classroom community, provide opportunities for collaboration and building creativity.
Grant #20: Kindness Corner – Jennifer Greenough, Intermediate, received $702.50 to purchase picture books containing stories about kindness, acceptance, empathy and diversity. A special bookshelf in the library will be designated as the “Kindness Corner”. This will provide easy access for students and teachers to locate this topic. Promoting kindness should be a goal of everyone and purchasing these books will help to spread that message
Grant #21: Teaching Organization in the Elementary Classroom – Megan Oliver, Elementary, received $613.69 to purchase high-quality organizational tools for students to use in the classroom. Students need practical tools in learning how to become organized and how to use their classroom space most effectively. One tool to help teach these skills is chairback pockets that provide safe storage for library books and give space within the desk for textbooks and a school box. Folders with built-in slip cover pockets that provide accessible information needed for curriculum are another tool. These items, along with lessons on organization, will provide each student an opportunity to learn the value and the positive consequences of the life skill of organization.
Grant #22: New and Improved: It’s What’s Best for Kids! – Shana Hrbacek as a team with Arthur Ramos and Amy Grimland, Junior High, received $3,178.94 to update and replace lab equipment at the Junior High. By replacing old, outdated equipment and purchasing science kits, Wylie students will be better prepared for high school because they will have had copious amount of time in the lab. The goal is to be able to teach a science lesson without the limitations of what equipment is offered. By no longer sharing equipment, which hinders the amount of labs that can be performed in the classroom, students will have more lab time and up-to-date models for a positive experience.
Grant #23: Smaller Groups for BIGGER Learning! — April Brannan, East Elementary, received $929.18 to purchase a variety of games, stations and project-based learning materials to engage and extend students’ learning while she teaches the content in small groups based on their individual needs. Research has shown that teaching in small groups results in bigger learning and higher potential being reached. In Kindergarten, students come with varying degrees of expertise and it is a challenge to provide content in accessible ways that meet kids where they are and give them room to grow to their fullest potential. By giving students the opportunity to practice their literacy, math and science skills in group project-based activities, it allows the teacher to provide differentiated instruction in smaller groups.
Approved #24: Developing Skills for Professional Success Using iPad Pro in the Art Classroom –Hollie Garza, Junior High, received $799 to purchase an iPad Pro for the Junior High Art classroom. Students will be able to upload images of their paintings to a website called Artsonia that will put their art on calendars, mugs, bags, T-shirts and other fun accessories. Parents can then purchase the items and 20% of the profit will go back to the Junior High. The funds raised will go toward purchasing more supplies and technology for the Art classroom. The iPad Pro can, also, be used to learn entrepreneurial skills with Artsonia and real-world digital art techniques that will be invaluable to students as they leave school and enter the workforce.
Approved #25: Hocus Pocus Help Us Focus – Nancy Crow as a team with Stephanie Jennings, Elementary, received $1,961.94. The money from this grant will be used to provide up to 50 students with yoga discs and bouncy bands for their chairs, 12 seat cushions for bucket seating, 12 surf desks for floor seating, 2 trapezoid tables and 2 amazing Qballs. Having these items creates a classroom that encourages focus and participation in an atmosphere that is interactive and relaxed while providing the structure students need to learn.
Grant #26: Building a strong foundation through play, exploration, social and fine motor skills – Jillian Johnson, ECC, received $973.12 to purchase a dramatic play center, items for sensory exploration and tools to build fine-motor skills in Pre-K age children. These items will support and provide more opportunities for building social skills and keep the children engaged and active in their own learning. By providing different activities and opportunities for the children to interact with one another, the teacher is able to model and teach desired behaviors and social interactions while also giving them opportunities to explore multiple hands-on manipulatives through sensory play.
Approved #27: Flexible Seating — Renee McClellan, Wylie East Elementary, received $950.68. The money from this grant will be used to purchase flexible seating in a third-grade reading classroom. Studies indicate that giving students some control over their surroundings adds to their sense of well-being. When given flexibility, a student’s ability to stay focused and on task is improved. A comfortable environment clears the mind of distractions that can impede work and learning that needs to be done. The money will ensure that, in the classroom, students will have access to whatever seating works best for their learning style.
Approved #28: Flexible Seating – Jessica McIntire, Elementary, received $940.62 to purchase flexible seating options for a 2nd grade classroom. Research has shown that sitting for prolonged periods of time is bad for our health. In addition, traditional desks can be uncomfortable for students which can create attention problems and performance issues. The money will give the students sufficient options for seating to ensure students are more engaged in the lesson and will have more success in the classroom.