Classrooms benefit from SEF grants

Published 9:13 pm Monday, January 5, 2009

Students at Hillpoint Elementary School will now be able to see experiments close up through the school’s science lab on wheels.

Students at Oakland Elementary School will get to use a new fitness system that has students dance for their workout.

And the gifted students at King’s Fork Middle School will be creating and starring in their own in-school TV show.

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These projects – along with several others – will happen thanks to the Suffolk Education Foundation’s award of almost $12,000 in grants to programs aimed at teaching students in innovative ways.

“The grant program is designed to supplement financial resources provided to classrooms from the school division through local, state, and federal revenue sources,” Bethanne Bradshaw, president of SEF wrote in an email to the News-Herald. “The equipment and materials purchased with these instructional grants will be used year after year, and can impact thousands of students.”

This year, the foundation received 42 applications submitted by teachers for grant money. The applications were reviewed by a committee from the SEF board of directors, and the following 10 grants were awarded:

4At Elephant’s Fork Elementary, the Great Graphic Novel Grab will expand the library collection of these high-demand books, and Little Trikes for Little Tykes will provide age-appropriate cycles for Early Start playtime.

4At Florence Bowser Elementary, the Kids in the Kitchen will provide kitchen math projects for Early Start students.

4At Hillpoint Elementary, Life at the Point will establish a science lab on wheels, and Build a Reader will start stocking the guided reading book room.

4At Nansemond Parkway Elementary, Building Simple Machines will provide students with magnetic construction kits for hands-on learning.

4At Oakland Elementary, Dance, Dance, Dance will install a fitness system based on a popular arcade dancing game to promote physical activity.

4At John Yeates Middle School, Native Dress Around the World will build a costume closet to help geography students see the clothing styles of seven world regions.

4At King’s Fork Middle School, Watch Us Knit & Purl will teach alternative education students to apply basic math and memory skills as they knit scarves for military members overseas, and Lights, Camera, Action will kick off an in-school TV show created by the gifted students, highlighting classroom activities in all three grades.

Bradshaw said the grant program encourages teachers to participate in active learning and think of innovative ways to teach material.

The SEF awards these instructional grants once a year, and the foundation’s largest fundraiser is the annual school campaign, in which Suffolk Public Schools’ employees donate to the foundation through a payroll deduction.

The Foundation is a nonprofit organization founded 14 years ago to provide financial support to the students and staff of Suffolk Public Schools. Anyone interested in contributing to the Suffolk Education Foundation can send a tax-deductible

donation to P.O. Box 394, Suffolk VA 23439-0394.