Teacher Classroom Project Grants

The Teacher Classroom Project Grant is a unique teacher/classroom program that awards funds of $500 to $1,500 to teachers for creative and innovative projects for classroom use that directly impacts the quality of education for students.

2014-15 Classroom Grant Awardees


Tom Dunks, Lauren Pomrantz, Linda Muehlhauser, Janet Stahl – Santa Cruz County Reading Association 

"Santa Cruz Reading Association Student Authors’ Fair"  (K-12)
"The purpose of the Student Authors’ Fair is to encourage students to write their own books and then to recognize these students by sharing their books in this public venue. Many students take the opportunity to come to the “author’s chair” and microphone to read their works to the audience that gathers. "


Elizabeth Rose Boyd – Vine Hill Elementary School

"New Classroom Needs Supplies”  (Kindergarten)
This grant was used to purchase books to enhance and

expand the classroom library with books at the students'

level, improving student experience for years to come.

Student excitement was high! One student showed others

a book, exclaiming, "Look! This book is about lion cubs and I can read it!"


Dana Johnson and Bronwyn Wyrsch – Gault Elementary 

"Using family stories about food to write personal narratives” (4th grade)

"This project gives students an opportunity to interview their families and

investigate the stories and traditions that their parents may have learned

in other countries, but which continue no matter where they live." Students

meet with professional story tellers, then develop their own family narratives

of how those foods have played a role in the lives of their families."


Lauren Pomrantz – Del Mar Elementary 

"Everyone is a Scientist” (1st grade)

This grant provided books and materials for students to read and

experiment in the areas of Physical Science, Life Science, and Earth Science.


Wendy Wesch Thompson and Sara Goldfarb – Branciforte Middle School 
"Invention Revolution Research and Beyond”  (8th grade)

This grant funded acquisition of "quality headphones which are so

useful for studentsneeding to listen to books, movies, student

projects, (and) editing their films and screencasts." - Sara Goldfarb


Kristie Carruthers, Diane Herd, Margaret McAuley, Leah Mendez,

Stephanie Sumarna, Kate Sommer – Bonny Doon Elementary

"Growing the Bonny Doon School Garden Outdoor Classroom”  (K-3)

"This grant has impacted over 100 students by literally providing the tools to do science-based instruction in the garden. Our new greenhouse is a pivotal extension of our indoor and outdoor science lab. The greenhouse has been used in multiple experiments, including our current unit on global warming. We have been able to reduce our dependence on purchasing starts from local nurseries and will hold a plant sale next spring. Additionally, the garden tools allow the students to getheir hands in the dirt and to learn science experientially.


Students were able to draw connections between Next Generation Science standards and the experiments performed in the garden by participating in experiential learning opportunities. These opportunities have improved students' awareness of nutritional content in fruits and vegetables." - Kate Sommer
























Caroline Sammet – Bay View Elementary  

"Classroom set of Rekenreks

with teacher demonstration model”  (1st grade)

This grant provided an "arithmetic rack" called Rekenreks, a math tool from the Netherlands which provides younger learners with a visual model they can use to build and break apart numbers. The Rekenreks encourage students to produce several possible solutions to a problem, developing a rich number sense.


Kathleen Crocetti, Briana Vann, Jeff Osborn – Mission Hill Middle School  
"Bringing History to Life with Hands-on Projects”  (6th – 7th grades)

This grant funds a Mayan Tile project and Archaeological dig that "will expand history teaching strategies, increase student motivation, active participation and retention of important history lessons through the arts."


Luke Sanders and STEM teachers – New Brighton Middle School 
"3D Printer for STEM Student Innovation”  (6th – 8th grades)

My STEM students greatly enjoyed using the 3D printer.

(They) designed board games and then created pieces for the game

using 3D rendering software (TinkerCAD). We then printed out the

pieces and played the games with them. (The students) had a

rewarding experience bringing their models to life. It is very unique

for students to create something virtually on the computer and

(be) able to replicate it in real life. - Luke Sanders


Emilie Cassar, Rob Hoffman, Deidre Sullivan – Aptos Junior High School   
"Underwater Robots!” (7th- 8th grades)

In this grant, students make underwater robots to explore local sloughs.

Through designing, building and wiring robots, students learn about

electricity, motion, forces, and engineering. By exploring the sloughs,

they learn about biology and ecology.


Stacy Newsom Kerr – Santa Cruz High School 
"BBC Presents: Filming the Industrial Revolution"  (10th grade)

For a video project consistently rated by students as their favorite

experience in the class, this grant provides additional video cameras

for creation of a documentary video that requires storyboarding

skills and collaboration. This provides an exciting method for students

to engage the subject of the effects of the Industrial Revolution.





Karen Mora – Linscott Charter School 
"Enhancing Brain Function through

Kinesthetic Strategies”  (5th grade)

"All students reported that the exercises

were engaging and relaxing. (Students')

willingness to work at a task improved,

and they developed a much more positive

attitude about school. The Bal-A-Vis-X

program was certainly an important

compenent (to their) significant

academic gains." - Karen Mora





Gail Alaimo, Laura Beach, Ernie Kuwahara – Soquel High School 

"Increasing Opportunities for Biotechnology in Soquel High Science Classes” (9th – 12th grades)

This grant funded purchase of biotech kits and laboratory equipment to enhance students'

understanding and interest in the subject of molecular genetics. Students had a chance

to extract their cheek cell DNA and preserve it, learning the techniques of gel electrophoresis and

bacterial transformation. They were "excited to clearly understand and participate in creating a DNA fingerprint using gel electrophoresis." - Gail Alaimo

New Brighton Middle School STEM student shows off the 3D printer as it is printing a Viking helmet.