20 school projects get mini-grants

The Sonoma Valley Education Foundation has distributed 20 fall teacher grants totaling $10,966. The funds, which will cover a wide range of projects from classroom books to new technology and special field trips, were raised by selling donated items at a public Barn Sale.

The Barn Sale, the brainchild of local real estate agent Holly Bennett, operates much like a garage sale, which is staffed by volunteers and is open to the public.

“We are thrilled that the Teacher Grant Program is now fully back in action,” exclaimed Laura Zimmerman, the foundation’s executive director. “Our local educators are enthusiastic about the opportunity, and we hope to fund even more grants next time around.”

The Barn Sale for the Schools is held on the first Saturday of the month, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Field of Greens at 1777 Watmaugh Road. Everyone is invited to donate, and volunteer. All proceeds are directed to the public schools in Sonoma Valley via teacher grants.

The recipients and descriptions of the 20 grants delivered this fall semester:

Susan Heiser, Prestwood $300
Participation in an Exploratorium Science Exhibit in April 2013. Students will design and create exhibits on the topics of colored shadows, sound science, optical illusions, and pulley-level movement.

Craig Madison, El Verano $299
For expanding a classroom library following the 2012 Summer Reading Academy. Students have a list of books they really want to read, and Mr. Madison wants to have them on hand. During self-selected silent reading, students will be able to choose books that really interest them.

Mary Mellinger, Prestwood $1,500
For six Nabi Electronic notebooks for first graders. Students can delve into learning games and special applications for writing and art. This tablet is specially designed for younger students.

Rachel Cisneros, Sonoma Charter School $150
Field Trip to Safari West for kindergarten and first grade students. As a part of a cultural unit on Africa, students will be able to see the wildlife and learn about wildlife conservation.

Liz Bauer, Adele Harrison Middle School $400
Funding middle school student participation in a statewide Leadership Conference.
Students from the Adele Harrison Leadership Class will be able to travel and take part in a statewide conference and then bring new skills and knowledge back to share with the rest for the student body.

Eileen Pharo, Prestwood $300
To purchase literacy book sets for struggling readers. Aimed at helping more students read at grade level by the end of third grade, these books will offer enticing stories at the appropriate reading level struggling readers and English language learners.

Michael Amaral, Altimira $900
Lacrosse equipment for Altimira middle school students. Mr. Amaral likes to introduce his students to new and non-traditional sports to keep them active and healthy. Lacrosse is a sport that is growing in popularity, but many students do not have access to equipment to learn how to play.

Sonia Castaneda Stolich, Adele Harrison $500
Funding for headphones with microphones for dual immersion student projects. Students can better utilize the computer lab at school and improve their technology skills with the aid of specialized headsets. Students will use programs like Garage band and Keynote for projects this school year.

Karen Taggesell, Prestwood School $300
Funds Exercise Ball Seats for students with concentration and ADD challenges. Research shows that exercise balls with special frames provide an immediate benefit for learners who have trouble focusing. The innovative seating physically grounds students and helps them stay engaged in schoolwork.

Kristina Reguero Garrison, Flowery School $500
Early reading books for first graders. Students need more reading options as they begin to grasp the fundamentals of reading. This teacher will replace worn our favorites and add new books to keep the reading interest high in her classroom.

Christi Vieira de Curiel, Flowery School $599
Online access to the ‘Read Live’ program. Read Live increases fluency and comprehension skills for young readers. The program provides individualized intervention for students and tracks their progress as they improve their reading skills. This program will be used by the reading specialist for students in grades 3-5.

Marian Rasmussen & Terry Roberts, Altimira Middle School $500
Supplies for technology based projects. Middle school students are utilizing the computer lab to create Science Fair charts and graphs in excel, web-designed calendars, word art projects, and more. Printer cartridges, DVD blanks, and cardstock paper are needed to support the technology projects.

Cheryl Coldiron, Dunbar School $200
Integrated art supplies for a four/five grade classroom. Mrs. Coldiron integrates art into nearly all of her student’s subjects including math, social studies, science and English. Many students cannot afford to bring markers, colored pencils and other supplies from home. This grant will provide art supplies for projects like the super large art/math grid of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night painting.

Renea Magnani, Dunbar School $300
Taking science to the great outdoors. This grant will fund white boards, and clip boards so they can study outside under the great oak tree at Dunbar School. Personal sized white boards help students show what they know as they learn new information and they help students stay engaged in lessons.

Leslie Adams, Altimira Middle School $430
Circuit training for indoor P.E. for middle school students. This equipment helps students stay active even in winter weather. They take part in a series of exercises as they work around the circuit, and they can track their progress toward higher-level physical fitness. Physical health is important for preteens who can become sedentary without regular physical activity.

Tarney Baldinger, Woodland Star $488.25
Math textbooks for middle school students. Currently students are sharing books and it is slowing down their progress. Math is a crucial subject high school success and college readiness.

Johnny Graham, Woodland Start Charter $100
An electronic scale for middle school science. Students need this specialized scale for measuring chemicals in science class. This will assist students in developing science lab skills.

Andrea Akmenkalns, Woodland Star $200
Reading materials for third graders. School budget cuts have limited the purchasing of new books for students. Reading at grade level in third grade is a critical benchmark. New reading materials will boost reading skills and student enthusiasm.

Roberta Trevino, Prestwood School $500
An iPad to use for Accelerated Reading tests. Students enjoy taking their tests for the Accelerated Reading Program in an online format, which has rich learning content for second graders. Currently students are sharing one 10-year old computer for these tests.

Peter Hansen, Sonoma Valley High School $2,500
Two complete camera packages including high def digital cameras, lighting kits, extra batteries media cards and readers. The Video Production Program at SVHS produces movies, videos and a weekly newscast for the entire school. Photo: Hansen, at right, with student Kerrick Martin.


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