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.

2017-18 Classroom Grant Awardees
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​​​​​​​​​Susie Phanton - Live Oak Elementary School

"Social/Emotional Well-Being" (TK/Kindergarten)

This grant support "social-emotional growth and well-being... by teaching young children to identify their feelings and needs, as well as learning how to communicate and get along with others" by providing "an opportunity to read stories, play games, and work puzzles about feelings and socialization skills." They work cooperatively and individually in safe and appropriate ways.

Jennifer Bird, Jennifer Tschirky, Monica Hettenhausen, Jennifer Cross, Terra Barsanti, John Fisher - Pacific Elementary School

"Learning About and Caring for Our Green School Yard" (TK-4th)
Also supported by the Bricmont Library Fund.

This grant provides combo and independent study classes "an opportunity for students to obtain knowledge about their local habitat through creative experiential learning" in an "11 fruit tree orchard and native landscaped area" where "an additional area of native planting will be" developed.

Julie Vallens, Jennifer Poodry, Marisa Jansen, Roni de la Pena - Starlight, Amesti, Bradley, and Calabasas Elementary Schools

"Collaborative Outdoor Science & Environmental Experience for Students" (3rd)
A group of "Science Learning Leaders teachers of 3rd grade... have collaborated with the local Environmental Education Provider, Elkhorn Sough Reserve, on a squence of science lessons that includes program lessons/activities/field trips within the sequence of lessons." This grant supports "collaboration... to create more meaningful learning connections between in-classroom and out-of-classroom experiences" by funding "field trip transportation and materials for students to engage in the wetlands of Elkhorn Slough and environmental focused science lessons that connect to the Next generation Science Standards."

Jessica Middour, Laurent Pomerantz - Del Mar Elementary / Santa Cruz Reading Association

"Student Author's Fair at the Capitola Mall" (1st & 3rd)

This grant supports texts for the Santa Cruz County Reading Association's Annual Student Author's Fair.

Katy Scowcroft, Vickie Gilbert, Barbara Lawrence, Susan Dahlgren -

Gault Elementary School "Community Rocks!" (K-5th)
Also supported by the Bricmont Library Fund.

This grant provides materials for an art project to be the visual representation

of the school-wide, cross-curricular emphasis on the life skills: Gratitude,

Compassion, Participation, Integrity, Grit, Optimism. The materials to create the

rock walk are provided with Teacher Classroom Grant funds, and the Bricmont

Library Fund supports the literature materials on these important life-skills.

"Students were so excited to create a piece of art they could recognize and find

in a central locations. Parents were invited to participate during Family Art Night

and were more connected to the school's themes and community as a result.:

Jennifer Manier, Shelly Renee Keasey, Nichole Salles-Cunha,

Jennifer Walker - Mar Vista Elementary School

"Engaging Readers with High Interest Leveled Text" (1st-2nd)

This grant funds purchase of "books that hook our more reluctant readers,

providing rich characters and plots that drive them to want to read more,

and with greater confidence."

"The Schools Plus Grant helped us support a

love of reading in our students. The students are reading more, taking more

quizzes, and moving up in their reading levels."

Mary Ann Hilton, Cate Stalock - Del Mar Elementary School

"Baile Folklorico from the Mexican State of Jalisco" (2nd)

This grant funded purchase of 5 dance skirts to facilitate students' learning of

"a series of choreographed sequence of movements for two dances. They will

"learn about the history of Baile Folkorico and the background of the dance

costumes from this region", providing "an opportunity to connect to another

country's cultural background and artistic beauty."

"We have increasing (number) of students from Mexico and South America

at our school and featuring beautiful parts of the culture, like the music,

dance and costumes, makes our students proud. We are also in our second

year of participating in the Language Ambassadors of Santa Cruz County and

this year I am combining elements of Mexico; like it's history, culture, art, and

geography, into our weekly meetings. This month, students will demonstrate

the La Raspa and teach the steps to this dance to others."

                                                                                         Jennifer Schmida, Joanne Gehard- Green Acres Elementary School

                                                                                         "Improved Literacy for 2nd Graders Through Science Text" (2nd)

                                                                                         This grant provides funds for purchase of "two class sets of                                                                                           supplementary literacy materials to accompany the "Solids and Liquids"

                                                                                         hands-on FOSS science kit. The books ... help us to bridge our English language                                                                                                        arts instruction with science, thereby allowing us more time to engage the kids                                                                                                      in hands-on science investigations" through "fiction and non-fiction books                                                                                                      supporting students' literacy skills, and verbal articulation." 










Tammy McCroskey - Ann Soldo Elementary

"Literacy Technology" (TK)

This grant funds purchase of an iPad to access the school-provided Estrellita, the Spanish Literacy Curriculum and use Footsteps2Brilliance application to

read and write stories, learn songs, and play learning games to strengthen their literacy skills."















Daniel Jacobsmeyer - Mar Vista Elementary School

"Microscopes in the Classroom" (6th)

This grant funds purchase of five microscopes in response to the "greater emphasis on cellular study at the 6th grade level, microscopes are essential to engaging and supporting student learning in this area."

Amparo Yodar-Jimenez, Lucia Herrera, Patricia Sotarello- Alianza Charter

School, Amnesti Elementary, Cesar Chavez Middle School

"Tus Palabras, Mis Dibujos / Your Words, My Drawings" (7th-8th, 1st-3rd)

This grant involves three different schools and several different grade-levels working collaboratively to "co-produce and illustrate a poetry/theater book incorporating technology, which will be distributed widely in the community. Poems and scenes ...written by 7th&8th graders will be illustrated both a by a student of their own age from a different school, and a first, second, or third grader from Amesti Elementary."

"The grant made possible the publication of our students' first bilingual book produced by themselves as writers and artists. The actual physical book, published with their own art and collaboration, and shared by so many, game them a tremendous sense of pride by their peers, famlies, school officials, and now by the Mexican Consulate that will be giving them a recognition for their beautiful creative work.

"The grant project brought together community families and community members in a meaningful way. Lucia Herrera... reported having her younger students (deeply) moved by the sad story of "Te vere muy pronto" by the Alianza student, Flor C. The grant exceeded our expectations in terms of the exposure and impact the production and publication of the book had in our kids, their families, and the community at large."

     Mis palabras/Your Drawings

​Reba Patterson, Andi Westrup - Live Oak Elementary School

"Live Oak First Graders Meet the Masters" (1st)

This grant funds three "Master Artist" units through the "Meet the Masters" to "highlight the importance of diversity" through study of the "French artist, Rosa Bonheur, African American artist Jacob Lawrence, and Spanish artist Joan Miro."

















Teachers and students worked with parent volunteers to learn about master artists of diverse backgrounds. "Besides exposure to the art content and hands-on aspects of the project, we noticed something unexpected with a number of students. many students were afraid to begin a project, especially the abstract ones, for fear of it turning out "wrong." we began to include in our instructions that the students' art should NOT look like the teacher's -- that artists "see" things differently and have their own interpretations. One boy, who had refused to even begin, (became) incredibly engaged in his piece."

Liz Vallance, Sarah Riccabona - Westlake Elementary School

"Mystery Science and Engineering" (3rd)

This grant provides funds "three units of Mystery Science curriculum that correlate with the Next Generation Science Standards. Each lesson poses a question that promotes thinking and discovery."

"This year students learned to ask questions, be curious, and explore scientific theories in a hands-on fashion. A few studnets who normally struggle with academics... absolutely shone during these lessons. The visual, auditory, and kinesthetic nature of each lesson ensures that each student is successful, and understands. They loved building paper bridges and actually became quite competitive as (to) whose bridge could hold the most pennies. They built such strong and thoughtful bridges that we needed more than 1000 pennies." Students designed "windproof houses" and had the opportunity to change their design and learn by trial and error.

​​​​​​​Wendy Wesch Thompson - Branciforte Middle School

"Self-Regulation Mats for Mindfulness in Middle School" (6th-8th)

This grant funds materials for students to "have a calm, quiet place to rest their minds,"

providing "the ability to ground and center" themselves and understand difficult

situation in conjunction with the piloted mindfulness program.

Calli Rickey - Branciforte Middle School

"Yoga Mats & Yoga Blocks" (6th-8th)

This grant provides Yoga Mats and Blocks so the entire class can have cushioning against the hard floor and creates an individual space for each student. "By teaching yoga and meditation techniques, we can teach all student how to self service their physical and mental stress."

Kyle Noone - Branciforte Middle School

Physical Education (6th-8th)

This grant funds physical education equipment.

Chanel Robles - Pajaro Valley High School

"Immortal Cells" (9th-12th)

This grant supports purchase of a "class set of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.... DVD, teacher's guide, and reading questions" to provide "historical context to one of science's greatest advancements which was cell culture."

Gail Alaimo, Laura Beach, Jessica Scolaro - Soquel High School

"Students as Citizen Scientists" (9th-12th)

This grant funds Chromebooks for use "in our science classes" for "several Howard Hughes Medical Institute websites that actively engage students in citizen science data collection. These educational resources offer a number of thoughtful and meaningful interactions and presentations by scientists who are out in the field."

Russel Love, Jodi Richardson, Robert Hoffman, Ismael Cruz, Artemisa Cortez, Wedny Sigmund, Jennifer Jones, Emily Halbig -

New Community Day School

"New School Outdoor Science and Character Development Program" (9th-12th)

"Based on the success of the Schools Plus funded pilot program during the Spring of 2017", this grant expands the program to seven

days of activities and includes the entire student body, supporting some "of Watsonville's most at-risk students to learn and practice

environmental science and prosocial skills by doing." Some of

the project objectives are to: "Foster social skills and problem

solving skills through collaborative group and team-building

activities. Nurture personal growth and self-esteem. Increase

student connection and appreciation of the natural world.

Contribute to the community through student service projects.

Build understanding of environmental science concepts such as

water quality, natural resources, and human impact on Earth systems.























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