Foundation awards grants

Published 8:55 pm Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Suffolk Education Foundation recently announced financial support totaling more than $15,000 of classroom instructional programs that will impact more than 2,500 students during the 2017-18 school year.

The Suffolk Education Foundation has funded close to $300,000 in instructional grants over the years.

  • Battle of the Books: Oakland Elementary School — Fifth-graders will compete in a Suffolk and Portsmouth elementary school “Battle of the Books” sponsored by the cities’ library systems. Ten books are selected as the knowledge base of the quiz bowl. The grant will help purchase sets of these titles, and also coordinate a parent-partners promotion to encourage reading together at home. ($930 – Michele Waggoner)
  • Building Walls Make a Home: Nansemond River High School — Students in the city-wide Pathways to Engineering high school specialty program are preparing for college study and future careers in the field. Funds will be used in Civil Engineering and Architecture classes for a residential wall framing mock-up project. Students will create a physical model of the cross-section of a house, taking a blueprint to a full-scale model. ($530 – Dawn Rountree)
  • Coding with LEGO Robotics: John Yeates Middle School — CHROME Club members will advance their hands-on lessons and expand their practical STEM knowledge. The grant will purchase LEGO robotics kits to enable the club to demonstrate their teamwork in the 2018 FIRST Lego League Virginia competition. ($1,075 – Leslie Bulger)
  • DNA Discovery — Expansion of Biomedical Sciences Program: Lakeland High School — Students in this city-wide, high school specialty program will design solutions to real-world, complex health problems. Funds will be used to purchase supplies for construction and cloning of a recombinant DNA. The program prepares students for higher education study and careers in the fields of health care and medicine. ($2,000 – Sarah McDonald)
  • Full S.T.E.A.M Ahead: Kilby Shores Elementary School — Elementary students will soon do more than check out books from the library. With the help of project-based kits, students will make hands-on connections across the curricular areas, particularly English and math. These materials will allow students to work on engineering, computer coding, simple machines, problem solving, and critical thinking. S.T.E.A.M. stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. ($1,887 – Allison Greene)
  • Handwriting Without Tears: Northern Shores Elementary School — Preschool and kindergarten students need daily practice as they begin to apply their letter and word recognition skills to handwriting. The grant will provide a resource kit to routinely integrate handwriting to help these students expand their reading skills and emerge as writers. ($228 – Danielle Hare)
  • I Wanna Rock!!: King’s Fork High School — Earth science students will channel their inner rock star as they learn to apply their textbook geology knowledge through hands-on analysis, using grant-funded rock and mineral identification kits. ($708 – Ann Bailey and earth science teachers)
  • Middle School Literacy Launch: Forest Glen Middle School — Students selected for the Literacy Foundations program will demonstrate reading growth, academic responsibility and motivation through daily silent reading paired with computer-based digital storytelling. The grant will add fun-to-read books to the classroom bookshelves. ($1,659 – Caren Bueshi)
  • Outreach from the Virginia Aquarium: Nansemond River High School — Oceanography lessons can be “dry” when a textbook is the main resource. The grant will provide students with a hands-on laboratory to experience living invertebrates and dissection. Brought to the school by the Virginia Aquarium, the event will also allow career option discussion with the professionals. ($525 – Angela McElroy)
  • Ready, Set, Graduate: Nansemond River High School — As students in alternative education programs work towards earning their GED, the grant will provide Chromebooks, headphones and calculators to make their lessons more personalized. This grant-funded technology will provide students with simulations of real-world environments, which is expected to motivate greater effort and success. ($2,000 – Cara Byrd)
  • Smart Kids Use Smart Toys: Driver Elementary School — Students in early childhood special education classes will practice their communication skills, improve their understanding of colors, numbers and letters and practice sharing with other preschoolers. The grant will add WiFi-interactive smart toys in three classrooms. ($300 – Stephanie Morris)
  • Spectacular Science Support: Nansemond Parkway Elementary School — Students will benefit from the addition of more than 100 library print books and e-books, focusing on SOL-related science topics. The grant will help transform the school’s media center into a research and resource destination for teachers and students alike. ($1,907 – Tosha Penkrot)
  • What’s Happening Now?: John Yeates Middle School — Classroom lessons for sixth-graders will become more interesting and more engaging with individual subscriptions to eight issues of a current-events reader called Scholastic Scope. ($1,499 – Tina Reeves & 6h-Grade Teachers)

Awards are made following an application process and review by a committee from the Suffolk Education Foundation’s board of directors. Selection criteria include academic impact on the most students, collaboration with other programs and potential for sustainability.

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Anyone interested in contributing to the instruction grants funds of the Suffolk Education Foundation can send a tax-deductible donation to P.O. Box 394, Suffolk VA 23439-0394. Please note to which fund your contribution should be credited. General donations are also accepted to help the foundation in its other programs, including college scholarships, employee recognitions, and tuition assistance for high school students taking dual-credit college courses.

The Suffolk Education Foundation was founded in 1993. Since that time, the board has worked hard by developing a variety of fundraisers to raise additional donations and to ensure that students and staff of Suffolk Public Schools receive scholarships and classroom grants on an annual basis. The mission of the Suffolk Education Foundation is to support Suffolk Public Schools by connecting the community’s talents and resources to expand educational opportunities for students and staff. Over the past 20 years, foundation investment assets have grown to more than $450,000. By supporting Suffolk Public Schools, the foundation is ensuring that the Suffolk community will have talented leaders and citizens long into the future.

For more information, contact President Jennifer Schmack at or visit the foundation’s website at