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Foundation awards grants

The Suffolk Education Foundation recently announced its financial support of classroom instructional programs that will impact more than 3,000 students during the 2019-20 school year.

Each year, the foundation invites instructors at all schools within the school system to apply for funding up to $2,000 for projects at their schools. The dozen programs that receive funding demonstrate the innovation of teachers and their commitment to engage students in the classroom. The Suffolk Education Foundation has funded more than $325,000 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 stated. “The support of the community makes these grants possible.”

The grants, their amounts, the teacher and their school, and a description of the project are below:

  • SCOPE of student literacy — John F. Kennedy Middle School: English teachers will use the texts in each magazine and the coordinating activities and online resources provided by Scope to teach curriculum and objectives, including invaluable reading skills and challenging concepts in the areas of word analysis, fiction and nonfiction texts. Scope provides nonfiction, fiction, poetry, drama, infographics, debates and paired texts in addition to materials for writing and editing for correct grammar, usage and mechanics. ($2,000 – Emma Neave)
  • Project LIT Book Club Chapter — King’s Fork Middle School: Independent reading is important in student achievement, and students want to read books that they can relate to. By reading the Project LIT novels, students will discuss issues that are happening around the country in the world today and hopefully want to advocate for a change challenging the status quo. Additionally, Project LIT wants chapters to commit to facilitating a service learning project that empowers students to increase book access in the school or the community. This will help students show leadership, organization and problem solving skills, all of which are important to becoming a productive citizen. ($1,950 – Rica Kevorkian)
  • Interactive Learning Program — King’s Fork High School: Notebooks are designed to help students synthesize, organize and retain information through a hands-on approach. Students will be exposed to material in a way that promotes organization skills. Students will also be able to answer questions about current society and related to events that occurred in the past. Students will be able to learn from the mistakes of the past and make informed decisions on how not to make those mistakes in the future. ($930 – Candace Corrente)
  • Multifaceted Reading with Contemporary YA Novels — Col. Fred Cherry Middle School: Literature circles are nothing new. However, more engagement and multifaceted learning can occur if students (especially those at the lower reading levels) feel represented in what they read. This means the texts they read should reflect their own environment, identities and conflicts in order to have success in reading. An interactive reader’s notebook will be paired with the reading, covering different overarching themes and topics each week. ($1,200 – Tamara Critzer)
  • Literacy Cards to promote decoding skills — Pioneer Elementary School: The students will use the cards to promote literacy. The students will be able to use the Go Fish and matching activities to help promote decoding skills to be able to become better readers. Students in each grade level blend initial, medial and final sounds to recognize and read words. By beginning in the first grade and using throughout the grade levels, each student will be able to practice daily using a fun activity on their own. ($780 – Judy Hawkins)
  • Human Anatomy and Physiology — Nansemond River High School: This is a new course being taught this year. Human torsos and anatomical overlay will give the students a visual reference to learn with. This class is being offered to students that want to enter the medical field. The torsos and charts will be used all year as students learn the body systems. ($1,334 – Thomas Delbiondo)
  • Hands On Learning — Oakland Elementary School: Plans for assisting preschool children in the transition from early childhood programs to local elementary school programs are addressed by the school to ensure future success of all students to the best of their ability. This project provides an opportunity for students to experience beginning skills in the areas of pre-writing, language and cognitive, as well as increasing sensory integration skills. ($127 – Tonya Griffin)
  • Biotechnology Research Projects — Lakeland High School: Our understanding of diseases and the molecular basis of cancer, as well as the development of treatments has been changed by the understanding of the secrets that lie in the genetic code. The use of genetic research kits makes it possible to gain a better understanding of how this research is conducted. The importance of genetic research is of precedence in our society — proper diagnosing of diseases can now be achieved with simple genetic testing, new drugs can be prescribed as targeted therapies with little to no side effects; now, patients can be diagnosed earlier with high rates of survival, which is particularly beneficial in treating cancer. ($2,000 – Sarah McDonald)
  • Add Some Rhythm to Our Life — Nansemond Parkway Elementary School: At Nansemond Parkway Elementary School, the majority of the rhythm instruments found within the music room are almost as old as the building. Due to their age, many instruments have cracked or broken due to their many years of service to the elementary population. The additional percussion instruments would also allow for the creation of an extracurricular percussion ensemble and drum circle for students in third, fourth and fifth grades who excel within their rhythmic studies and need an extra enrichment opportunity. ($1,974 – Karen Waddell)
  • Succeeding with Scholastic SCOPE — John Yeates Middle School: These multigenre magazines offer high interest reading engagement and learning of multiple subjects. The use of Scholastic Scope will improve comprehension of both fiction and nonfiction genres. Improved comprehension will lead to better acquisition of vocabulary and therefore higher literacy levels for all learners. ($770 – Jennifer Niemi)
  • Exploring Oceanography — King’s Fork High School: Students will get first-hand experience in collecting and recording data. This trip will involve making water quality tests, measuring the beach elevation to create a profile, measuring wave parameters such as waveheight, wavelength, and wave period, collecting marine organism samples, collecting sediment samples, and examining vegetation species diversity and abundance. ($1,223 – Steven Marshall)
  • Sight Word Squad — Mack Benn Jr. Elementary School: Sixty-five percent of all written language derives from the Fry’s First 1,000 Sight Words. According to baseline data collection, many of our Tier 2 and Tier 3 students are falling behind on basic word recognition. This project will implement a data driven method to monitor student progress on sight word knowledge growth. This will assist Tier 2 and Tier 3 students to increase their individualized baseline levels closer or to grade level. ($650 – Melanie Sherlock)

A committee makes awards for the grants following an application process and review. The committee includes members of the Suffolk Education Foundation’s board of directors and volunteers. 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 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 $500,000. 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 SEF President Patrick Belcher at suffolkef.contact@gmail.com or visit the Foundation’s website at www.suffolkeducationfoundation.org.