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.

2020-21 Classroom Grant Awardees

Morgan Sage Turner, Katherine Feickert, Kim Ponza, Gabrielle Brick, Carrie Berk - San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School

"Leveled Reading Is Essential!" (3rd Grade)
"This grant will provide our grade level with sufficient leveled reading books to send home during distant learning. In the classroom, students are able to grow as readers by reading multiple leveled texts. Students will receive books that are directly correlated to their reading level based on our Fountas and Pinnell assessments. These assessments will provide us with the exact reading needs of our students. With the leveled text we will provide one-on-one and small group reading instruction to help our students thrive."

Kristi Anderson - Boulder Creek Elementary School

"Bringing Students Together During Distance Learning" (3rd Grade)
This grant supports purchase of "a free-standing large whiteboard to show all of the ways it is possible to approach (math) problems." This allows sharing of concepts and ideas with students. This grant replaces books and supplies that were destroyed or needing replacement due to the the CZU fire and COVID19.

Helena Purtscher - San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School

"Physical Books for Kids in a Virtual Time" (Kindergarten)
This grant supports purchase of "leveled physical books that children can use during Virtual Learning. While there are many wonderful online libraries and books, it is not developmentally appropriate for Kindergarteners to spend so much time on a screen. Not only will these books be physical (thus minimizing screen time) but they will also be leveled so that students can read a book that is “just right” for them. When Virtual Learning ends, these books will be used as a (new) leveled Classroom library so that children can select from these books and take them home to read."

Kani White - De LaVeaga Elementary School

"Cubbies/NewMaterials/Books" (TK/K)
This grant supplies "new books, new cubbies, classroom materials, individual desks, etc to ensure safety of my students as well as" the teacher. Provision of individual books for students' reading time and cubbies to put their individual items instead of using communal materials will ensure a healthier educational environment.

Erica Lanctot - San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School

"Nonfiction books for Reader’s Workshop" (4th Grade)
This grant provides a "variety of ... new, multi-leveled, nonfiction texts of high interest texts for students to read during independent reading time and distance learning (and) teaching nonfiction reading and writing."

Suzanne Ebrahimian - Boulder Creek Elementary School

"Building Fact Fluency" (TK-5)
This grant provides the "Math Coach of the Title 1 students that number upwards to 85 students, including many intervention students, with the math kits (that) will help students strengthen their addition and subtraction math skills by 'developing deep, conceptual understanding and procedural fluency at the same time'" while avoiding "the drill and kill activities. This kit was developed by two leaders in the elementary mathematics field: Graham Fletcher and Tracy Zager. Included in the kit are: 29 differentiated gameboards, 13 card decks containing 5-, 10- and double 10-frame cards, 500 playing counters, 32 10-sided dice, and 32 6-sided dice. It also includes access to an extensive online companion website that includes: Anchor Problems, Contextualized Practice Problems, Number Talks, Image Talks, Tool Talks, Recording Sheets, 3-Act Math Task Videos, and Professional Learning Videos."

Karen Ranstrom & Kristi Anderson - Boulder Creek Elementary School

"iPads for Number Talks" (3rd Grade)
This grant funds "purchase of 2 iPads, 2 Apple Pencils, and 2 smart covers... to help us demonstrate thinking in Math through sharing our screen. iPads will allow us to have neater handwriting, which will make it easier for students to read and understand our examples."

Dorothy Ledbetter, Amelia von Gerer, and Peter Deutsch - Alternative Family Education

"Engaging Materials for Independent Study" (K-12)
"Santa Cruz City Schools’ Alternative Family Education (AFE) is an independent home study school provided for families who prefer an individualized approach to education, combined with the support of school district resources. Our Resource Center provides homeschooling families to more than 11,300 library materials that include curriculum materials, instructional materials, state frameworks, games, manipulatives, and parenting resources. (This grant) will allow us to purchase new educational games and science graphic novels designed to make learning fun and engaging."

Margo Ross, Elana Sifry,  and Juliet Lohrey - Tierra Pacifica Charter School 

"Breaking the Silence About Race and Racism by Creating More Inclusive Classroom Libraries" (K-3)

"The K-3rd teachers at Tierra Pacifica Charter School are committed to recognizing, addressing and eradicating all forms of racism. Although race is a socially constructed concept, it has real impacts on people’s everyday lives and experiences. Therefore, when we intend to teach to the “whole child” we
must in fact include that child’s racial identity, acknowledging and accounting for how they are treated by society given their race. Through literature and discussion we will address issues of racial identity, white privilege, activism and advocacy for anti-racism, highlighting under-represented voices, - how racism is embedded in aspects of our culture and  current forms of racism in the U.S. (both systemic and personal).

We will use literature to guide our instruction. We plan to spend one week on each text that we introduce. Our literature model for each book looks something like this: Day 1 : We will build background and vocabulary. Day 2 : Understanding character, setting and illustrations. Day 3 : Read the book then retell the story and identify who is telling the story. Pose the question, “Is there a lesson in the story?” Day 4 : Understand character’s feelings and compare to student’s own experiences. Day 5 : Culminating task to apply what we have learned about race and racism."

Janet Stahl, Daniel Brenner, Jenna Berry, and Haley Foster  - San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School

"Jumping for Joy, Fitness, Academic Achievement  and Emotional Regulation" (1st Grade)
"The objectives for Jump for Joy... are to increase cardiovascular fitness, reduce stress and anxiety, stabilize our student’s mood, increase their sleep and bone density in addition to improving their spatial awareness, balance, coordination and reflexes by learning to jump rope. According to the Jump Rope Institute, jumping rope also integrates the left and right hemispheres of the brain, improving memory and reading skills.  We know exercise improves breathing and oxygen to the body which in turn increases mental alertness.  Learning to jump rope is also an exercise in growth mindset as children learn the basics and then more challenging skills.  It is portable and can be done with others or alone.  And jumping rope is fun!"

Kim Peterson, Karen Ranstrom, and Kristi Anderston - Boulder Creek Elementary School

"Hands On Math Place Value Project" (TK-5th Grade)
This grant allows "Our team to make math more hands on at home (and in the classroom) by putting place value blocks (that students don't need to share) into the hands of our third graders. As we head into more challenging math concepts, like addition and subtraction of 3 digit numbers, multiplication, and area/perimeter, this visual representation allows children to make a more concrete connection with this concept."

Bridget O'Shea and Brandy Escott - San Lorenzo Valley Elementary School

"A Kids Book About… Catalysts for deep and meaningful discussions with students." (TK-5th Grade)
This grant funds purchase of "the entire collection of “A Kids Book About . . .” series. These high-quality, engaging books cover deep and meaningful topics in age-appropriate, direct ways that can either be read as is, from beginning to end, or broken up into smaller parts, as a tools to facilitate deeper conversations with students. We believe that they will be a great addition to our school library collection, so teachers, students, and families will have access to them."

Charlene Oatey - Gault Elementary School

"Read Play Read Repeat." (3rd Grade)
"Educational research has clearly stated that students who are not reading at grade level by the end of 3rd grade have significantly worse outcomes for graduating from high school, attending college and long term earning potential. While I think about this research and strive to get my 3rd graders to grade level in reading, I want my students to read and fall in love with books and critical thinking! My students should be surrounded by books of all genres and subjects to ignite the love of reading in each of them. Students should be sprawled out all around the classroom reading, talking about what just happened in a historical fiction book, trying to solve a mystery, recommending books to classmates and creating their own graphic novel after they finish reading one. Then when the reading is done, they have time to play games that push their critical thinking skills through high interest games."

Janinee Ramirez - Gault Elementary School

"Superpowered" (4th & 5th Grades)
This grant supports running a " small anxiety group and use the book "Superpowered" as a tool to work through some anxiety issues." Meeting with a few students at a "time throughout the year... to improve their coping skills around anxiety. Students will read and answer questions throughout the book. An example would be identifying triggers and learning how to fact check the perceptions which fuel anxiety."

Krista Holt and Justine Howell - Westlake Elementary School

"School/Home Reading Support in Kingergarten"  (Kindergarten)
"In our kindergarten classroom we have many books for early readers and want to develop a system to send them home daily and keep them organized. When students can go to the bin that has their level book and then choose titles that are of interest, they will be more successful overall with consistent reading. This grant will help students be consistent with a daily school-home reading program by providing book pouches to transport the books to and from school, utilizing a library rack system with labeled book bins for organizing our class lending library for early readers in kindergarten. We will also provide parent education around how to support the emerging reader at home."

Susan Toohey - Shoreline Middle School

"Student Gardening Project"  (6th-8th Grades)
This grant funds giving "each student a mini garden to plant, cultivate and nurture while we are on distance learning. Each student will grow seeds of their choosing, plus 1 type of sunflower seed. The main objective is to improve socio-emotional well-being by giving them something to care for and watch grow. The 2nd objective relates to the sunflower seed. We are studying evolution so each student will have a different variety of sunflower. We will compare/contrast similarities and differences between them and research the history of their origin."

Barbara Peretto, Jeff Cox, and Felipe Mendez - Shoreline Middle School

"Virtual Learning in Physical Education"  (6th-8th Grades)
This grant funds purchase of " ump ropes and pedometers equipment that the students can have and use during PE virtual learning.  hese tools will help facilitate the PE teachers with movement for the students during these atypical times."

Marcy Reynolds - Coast Redwood Middle School of San Lorenzo Valley Charter School

"CRMS New GLOBE Site Characterization Study"  (6th-8th Grades)
As "Coast Redwood Middle School is changing site locations from Felton to Ben Lomond and small group instruction opens up... it will provide a great opportunity for the kids to investigate their school’s new home. Through learning and implementing GLOBE environmental research protocols the students will become familiar with scientific research methods used by citizen scientists and other schools all over the world, and they will be able to input their research data into a global database, thereby taking pride in putting their new school on the global map."

Julia Baginski, Jana Peale, and Kristin Cameron - Branciforte Middle School

"Literature Book Groups / Text Sets"  (7th Grade)
This grant funds creation of "create literature groups and text sets that reflect an array of life experiences and authors. (To) expose students to new experiences and stories through literature (with a) focus is on Bipoc authors (and to) reflect our diverse population and encourage students to discuss their lives!"

Nancy Krueger - Shoreline Middle School

"Student Choice in MS ELD Reading Workshop"  (6th-8th Grades)
This grant support "new middle school Reading Workshop curriculum with my English Learner students in order to encourage them to read and develop a deeper comprehension of what they read. My group of students are, as a group, reluctant readers who have not experienced success with reading in the past. (It is difficult) to find age-appropriate themes at a level they can read within their range. With this grant, I hope to incorporate student choice in order to add to our collection of book sets with common themes at different levels. They have been most interested in the books about “real life” and those with social justice themes, so I would like to purchase two additional Reading Workshop Units of Study designed for book clubs with these themes. Although all of my students are all classified as “English Learners,” they are in different places on their journey towards English proficiency. I have to plan for a range of abilities and different grade levels within the same class periods. I would like students to be able to practice the skills we are learning in class with a text that they can access independently, then meet in small groups to have conversations which deepen their understanding of the text. By purchasing sets which relate to our common themes, students can also use these texts as a basis for writing and making comparisons across texts."

Wendy San Juan, Martha Flores, Dee Gonzalez, and Lupe Medrano - Edward A Hall Middle School

"Developing SocialEmotional Learning Skills through the Arts, Technology, and History"  (6th-8th Grades)
"COVID-19 has brought about many challenges for our students. We’ve seen an increase in fears, uncertainty, and student withdrawal from school. This Grant is designed to bring some cultural relevancy to the learning environment. An array of experiences that are outside the box, but promote social emotional learning. This project also allows for family involvement, dialogue and cultural histories to be preserved and passed down from generation to generation. It allows students to also communicate their stories and narratives vocally or through the arts and for faculty and community members to understand who our students are and the wealth of creativity, knowledge and perspectives that they bring to our schools. It is our goal as educators in this building to make sure that our students and families feel connected to our school and they through connection we can build strong partnerships that will allow our students to be successful now and in their futures. We also focused on different senses like taste, visual, and sound to stimulate all the senses."

Johann Ryberg, Andreas Zasppacosta, Evan Dickson - New Brighton Middle School

"Outdoor Learning"  (6th Grade)

This grant "provides safe outdoor learning for our students" by funding "sun shades to protect students from the sun and rain when working outside of theclassroom. With the current concern of COVID, we hope these shades will allow us to take students outsideand have open air space for them to engage in on-campus learning. We believe that our students can benefit from fresh air and space, both during and after COVID, and a key ingredient in that is shelter from the sun and light mist. Quick shades provide for this need and store safely and easily when not in use."

Joe Hedgecock- Branciforte Middle School

"Building School Spirit with BTV"  (6th-8th Grades)
For the last several years, part of my job at Branciforte Middle School has been working to make sure students feel connected to campus. During the time of COVID, this can be challenging as many students are not only physically distant from school, but they also feel emotionally disconnected from the school community. During the era of distance learning, I have been one of the staff members producing BTV, which is our weekly news show in which students broadcast news from the school to everyone in the B40 community." This grants funds "BTV shirts for the BTV student staff who have been working hard on their own time to make sure that this community building show happens each week. The shirts could help to thank these students and to make them feel like they are genuinely part of a team, even though we are all working from our homes."

Andy Shapiro - New Brighton Middle School

"Healthy Living Support for Students"  (7th-8th Grades)

This grants supports this student-created "elective entitled Healthy Living and a Healthy Environment. We cook, garden, practice yoga, do environmental restoration, and explore many issues relevant to students’ lives. This funding would provide an opportunity for many of those healthy cooking and food preparation activities along with gardening opportunities. These are tremendously impactful experiences that help students develop healthy habits and live healthy lives."               

Christine Erskine - Cypress High School

"Experiences to Build Lifetime Scientific Skills"  (9th-12th Grades)

"This grant will enable me to purchase two important items to take students away from their computers during distance learning and give them field opportunities similar to what we would do if we were all together in the classroom. This grant will first supply students with their own individual, working microscope for science investigations. Foldscopes are affordable, paper microscopes that students can build themselves to investigate particulate samples, soil samples, small organisms, and water samples on their own. Foldscopes were designed for students in developing countries to encourage scientific thinking and provide young people with a new way to see their world. The purchase of the ABC Environmental Science textbook allows me to construct meaningful series of lessons with practical applications ensuring that students see science as a reachable profession, rather than just for scholars. As a former environmental consultant, I know that the projects outlined in this book are similar to what I experienced as a professional."

Dusten Dennis - Aptos High School

"CTE Community Shed Build"  (9th-12th Grades)

This grant supports scaling up the "CTE class and build a shed to donate to someone in the community such as a fire victim or low-income family. In past years we have built doghouses and the students have really benefited from the skills and pride derived from that project. This year, due to COVID and devastating fires in our county we want to take it one step farther and contribute towards those in need in our community. We have a great shop and tools but just need some more support to come up with the materials to make a project like this happen. I have secured some donations from Home Depot but we just need a few more funds to complete the project."