19/20 Foundation Grants

Foundation funds $4,500 in teacher grant projects
Posted on 01/29/2020
American Sign Language club officers.

The Poplar Bluff School Foundation recently approved six classroom grants totaling around $4,500 in value as part of the nonprofit’s annual Innovative Educational Project program. 

Teachers were invited to the December school board meeting to highlight their successful projects, approved unanimously by the Foundation the previous month. The projects, ranked on merit by a subcommittee, were as follows: 

Julie Gambill, eighth grade English teacher at Junior High, was awarded $1,069 for 130 subscriptions to WeVideo, an online video making platform designed to allow for student narration, green screen editing, sound effects and music scoring. 

"The primary goal of using the video-making application is promotion of critical thinking, collaboration skills, communication skills, creativity and problem-solving among eighth grade students through student-centered assignments,” Gambill wrote in her proposal. 

Mary Tolliver, third grade teacher at Eugene Field, received $508.95 for a set of Kore Wobble Chairs, PaddED Seating Mats and CushionED Active Seats for non-disruptive, flexible seating options in her classroom. 

“Research shows that students that struggle with focus see an improvement in their ability to focus with extra movement,” Tolliver wrote. 

Jennie Randolph, Senior High American Sign Language Club teacher sponsor, was approved for $123 to go toward the cost of a substitute teacher and fuel to take members on a field trip to Ozark Technical College in Springfield to learn about a college-level class that is offered in sign language. 

“The goal for this trip is to allow students to see American Sign Language outside of room 508 at PBHS,” Randolph stated. 

Shalyn Copas, special education teacher at the Middle School, was granted $625 for her students to access Readtopia, grade-level curriculum designed for individuals with autism, cognitive or development disabilities, complex communication needs and other conditions. 

“This will allow students more creativity and use of technology, as they will only need to learn one program that is designed for learners with significant needs,” Copas explained. 

Hilary Taylor, robotics teacher at Junior High, was approved for a classroom edition of Arduino, a platform used for building electronics such as zoetropes, touch lamps, digital hourglasses and light theremins. 

“Arduinos are a product that is very user-friendly for students and can teach them many skills such as problem-solving, basic circuitry, circuit design, coding, programming, design thinking and innovation,” Taylor described.

Courtney Rutledge, life skills instructor at Junior High, was given $1,077.90 for a multitude of classroom kits including a toolbox, an electronic circuitry set, a bike tube, a mini greenhouse, an ironing board, first aid supplies and an incubator to teach her students about basic home repair and maintenance. 

“I am trying to provide an opportunity for my students to gain a deeper understanding of how their parents live on a day-to-day basis,” Rutledge said. 

Grant proposals, typically due around Halloween, must fall outside regular classroom budgets and include a narrative describing how the projects are tied to the Missouri Learning Standards. To learn more about the Foundation, visit www.mules.me/foundation

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Cutline: Pictured are officers of the student-led ASL Club at Poplar Bluff High School, who meet after school on Mondays.

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