SEF grants support instruction

Published 9:16 pm Friday, June 12, 2015

At John Yeates Middle School, a seventh-grade civics and economics teacher says an online learning tool funded by a Suffolk Education Foundation grant will help her students learn in a new, more effective way.

When it comes to the subject she teaches, students need to understand the concepts as well as the facts, Christina Klein said.

“The students have to have an understanding of the basic information first, but they have to be able to apply it in different situations,” she said.

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After writing an application, Klein has received $810 to provide students with access to Study Island, an online tool that allows them to work on their lessons outside the classroom, at their own pace and in a fun and rewarding way.

Students also have a large degree of control. “They can choose how they want to do it,” Klein said. “They can do it as a game, or they can do it as a study session.”

Founded in 1993, the nonprofit foundation supports Suffolk Public Schools “by connecting the community’s talents and resources to expand educational opportunities for students and staff,” according to a news release announcing $15,000 in instructional grants that will impact more than 3,500 students in the upcoming school year.

Through the years, the foundation has funded instructional grants worth close to $265,000.

A committee from the foundation’s board of directors selects projects to receive funding by seeking out those with “academic impact on the most students, collaboration with other programs, and potential for sustainability,” according to the release.

Among other projects receiving funding:

  • Nansemond River High School will use digital probes and electronic scales for hands-on research in their science laboratories, benefiting biology, chemistry and earth science students. ($1,800 — Cecilia Ciceraro)
  • Elephant’s Fork Elementary School first-graders will explore the lives and works of Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Leonardo Da Vinci and Pablo Picasso. As well as the visual arts, the interactive lessons will also cover history, geography, mathematics, reading, writing and science. ($1,045 — Caren Bueshi)
  • Creekside Elementary School will provide differentiated instruction for first-graders at different reading levels, with an online reading resource offering personalized learning and a progression system tuned to each child’s reading growth. ($750 — Tracy Terwilliger)
  • A division-wide instructional team will work to better prepare gifted and high-achieving middle school students for the rigors of advanced high school coursework, such as honors, Advanced Placement, dual college credit and pre-International Baccalaureate classes. ($2,000 — Maria Lawson-Davenport)
  • Forest Glen Middle School students will benefit from one-on-one tutorial sessions designed in a fun, game-like atmosphere. This online Study Island will enhance reading and math lessons for sixth-graders. ($2,000 — Kimberly Bynum)
  • Oakland Elementary School students will learn about math concepts such as vertex, ray, congruency, radius and circumference during their physical education classes, via a net game called Tchoukball. ($702 — Anne McCoy)
  • Lakeland High School’s city-wide biomedical sciences specialty program will be expanded. Students will study human body systems in the second of the years. The grant will purchase the necessary science laboratory equipment and supplies. ($2,000 — Sarah McDonald)
  • Division-wide Learning and Enrichment for Academic Progress (LEAP program) will provide remediation and fun for 500 elementary students at Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School. The expanded summer school will involve enrichment activities in cooperation with community organizations, including lessons in foreign language, woodworking and cheerleading, as well as health and wellness screenings, and both in-school and off-site field trips. ($2,500 — Kimberly Nierman)
  • At Pioneer Elementary School, students will be encouraged to read by finishing the school year with a free book and special wristband designed to remind them to read over the summer.  ($360 — Deborah Haring)
  • Forest Glen Middle School geography students will receive individual subscriptions to a weekly current-events reader, making classroom lessons more interesting and hands-on.  ($918 — Natalie Rotzler)