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Foundation announces classroom grants

The Suffolk Education Foundation recently its financial support of classroom instructional programs that will impact more than 2,500 students during the 2018-19 school year.

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

“The Suffolk Education Foundation is excited to support the innovation and creativity of the dedicated teachers in Suffolk Public Schools,” a press release from the foundation stated. “The support of the community makes these grants possible.

The grants are listed below along with their school, amount and applicant.

Strumming Up Some Fun! — Oakland Elementary School — Fourth and fifth grade students will develop problem-solving and leadership skills as they learn how to play a new instrument. Through ukulele instruction, students develop music literacy skills as well as interpersonal skills nurtured through a supportive and purposeful learning environment. ($1,140 — Rena Long)

Making STEM Come to Life — Col. Fred Cherry Middle School — A do-it-yourself, hands-on learning center called Makerspace provides students a work space for creating, investigating, sharing and learning that uses technology, tools and collaboration with other students. The Makerspace stations will include coding, 3D printing, robotics, electric circuits, deconstruction and freestyle inventing. ($1,517 – Shawn Green)

Virtual Field Trip Devices — Lakeland High School — Virtual reality technology will allow earth and environmental science students to see almost first-hand how the planet changes. Using individual devices, they will experience what it means to be in volcano tunnels, climb through the world’s largest cave system and visit the moon to see the beauty of Earth from outer space. ($631 — Teri Sheffield)

Building Up S.T.E.A.M. — Kilby Shores Elementary School — Elementary students do more than check out books from the library. With invention kits and a 3-D printer, students will make hands-on connections across the curricular areas 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. ($1,930 —Allison Greene)

Wreck this Journal — John Yeates Middle School — Students will receive individual copies of the wildly popular book, “Wreck This Journal,” which helps students evaluate their writing in fresh, active and engaging exercises that they truly enjoy. The project promotes literacy, develops a reading culture, supports freedom of expression and demonstrates the power of books to connect and change lives. ($869 — Jennifer Pitre)

Communication and Making Choices — King’s Fork High School — By using new communication devices, students with disabilities can be more independent as they interact with their teachers and peers. With voice-out devices and switches, students with medical issues and poor motor control will gain autonomy and self-esteem as they gain the ability to do tasks most take for granted, such as asking a teacher for help or practicing their job readiness skills at the student-run coffee kiosk. ($952 — Lori Wilson)

Magazine for the Middle — Col. Fred Cherry and John Yeates middle schools — In this project-based learning experience, students will publish a regular magazine for print and online, where they will write articles, advice columns, biographies, poems and more. Run like a business, the project will give students a way to practice their English lessons and provide an authentic audience of their peers, teachers and community members. ($1,663 – Lauren Rubash)

Designing Prosthetics — Lakeland High School — Students in the Biomedical Sciences program will get hands-on experience in the growing field of biomedical engineering. Students will learn how these biotechnology professionals change the lives of those who are in need of a prosthetic organ, limb or joint. Project Lead the Way Biomedical students might collaborate with Project Lead the Way Engineering students at Nansemond River High. ($1,841 — Sarah McDonald)

Game Plan for the Music Classroom — Florence Bowser Elementary School — Elementary students will benefit from a cutting-edge curriculum that includes a repertoire rich in folk, literature, nursery rhymes and traditional singing games. Students learn the music concepts of rhythm, melody, harmony, form and timbre by moving, speaking, singing, notating music, listening and playing. ($1,924 — Jeannie Baird)

Reading Along the Way — Forest Glen Middle School — Students will build their reading confidence using a developmental reading laboratory kit that provides high-interest subject matter and immediate feedback. Through independent reading, a series of four-page booklets will improve basic comprehension, phonics, grammar, and word-study skills. The booklets encourage those who might shy away from “big books.” ($1,031 — Lori Cratsley)

Advancing Advanced Students in Earth Science — John Yeates Middle School — High-achieving students will be able to explore topics beyond the science textbook, using a classroom set of Chromebooks and educational programs offered through Google Classroom. The added technology will provide resources to strengthen scientific investigation, scientific reasoning and the analysis of maps, models and charts. ($2,000 — Mary Francisci)

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.

If you are interested in making a difference in the lives of Suffolk Public School students, you can make a contribution to the Suffolk Education Foundation online at suffolkeducationfoundation.org or by mailing your tax-deductible donation to P.O. Box 394, Suffolk, VA 23439-0394. Donations are accepted in honor or memory of individuals or in direct support of other initiatives like dual enrollment courses, AP test fees and, of course, scholarships.

The Suffolk Education Foundation was founded in 1993 and received its IRS 501(c)(3) status in the same year. Since that time, the board has worked to develop 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, please contact SEF President Jennifer Schmack at jschmack@suffolkva.us or visit the Foundation’s website at www.suffolkeducationfoundation.org.