Foundation announces classroom grants

Published 10:37 pm Monday, June 21, 2021

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The Suffolk Education Foundation recently announced its financial support of the following classroom instructional programs that will impact more than 6,000 students during the 2021-22 school year — a total of $18,000.

Each year, the foundation invites instructors at all schools within Suffolk Public Schools to apply for funding up to a $2,000 grant for projects at their schools. The 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 $350,000 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. SEF also recognizes that the community’s financial support makes these grants possible.

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Grants were made to the following projects, which are listed along with a project description, impact, teacher name and dollar amount.

  • Booker T. Washington Elementary School — Expand School Library / Diversity & Inclusion — This project will update the Booker T Washington Elementary School library with recent years of award-winning books, along with diverse titles. Students need current and relevant books to foster a love of reading. Impact: 500 students. Jamey Brown ($1,780)
  • Creekside Elementary School — Coding is Cool — Students have had a full school year of little to no hands-on learning activities, yet many children learn best kinesthetically. As part of the library instruction, the teacher will tap into those kids’ learning base by supplementing their experiences with “coding” activities. Impact: 700 students. Jennifer Rascoe ($711)
  • Hillpoint Elementary School — Subject Book Expansion for Library — This project enhances the school’s library collection with a selection of non-fiction, grade-level appropriate books intended to increase interest and achievement on research and performance-based assessments. Impact: 500 students. Jocelyn McCloud ($2,000)
  • Northern Shores Elementary School — Hands-On STEM — Students will benefit from a new Makerspace lab to be used during library instructional time to extend STEM instruction to students at Northern Shores Elementary School. Impact: 700 students. April Watkins ($1,983)
  • Pioneer Elementary School — Let’s Find Out! — Kindergarten students will enjoy a weekly subscription to Scholastic “Let’s Find Out” magazine, where they will get access to grade-level appropriate nonfiction text on a variety of topics that include many science and social studies Standards of Learning. Impact: 100 students. Kerry Patterson ($694)
  • Col. Fred Cherry Middle School — Inclusive and Culturally Responsive Literature — In order to ensure each student can adequately engage in and relate to texts, classroom libraries will add books featuring main characters who are of color, neurodivergent, LGBTQIA+, and/or who have disabilities. Impact: 250 students. Tamara Critzer ($811)
  • John F. Kennedy Middle School — Scoping Out Science Too — English and science departments are collaborating on subscriptions to Scholastic’s Scope Magazine and Scholastic’s Science World to increase literacy and comprehension using relevant, high interest texts from across the curriculum. Impact: 500 students. Emma Neave ($1,929) & Tiffany Lockett ($2,000)
  • John Yeates Middle School — Expanding the World of Language — The grant will establish a library of age-appropriate, leveled readers in the World Language classroom for students to build language skills by reading in the targeted foreign language. Impact: 100 students. Latreesha Herring ($500)
  • King’s Fork Middle School — Not Graphic Like That … — Using graphic novels in the classroom is a new way of engaging eighth-grade English students while teaching the traditional literary elements, and simultaneously growing students’ interest in reading. Impact: 70 students. Emily Saunders ($740)
  • King’s Fork Middle School — Hooking Up to Creativity — Makey Makeys allow students to bypass a traditional keyboard by using pictures, conductive objects and everyday materials engaging them in their learning experience and creativity across all content areas. This hands-on lab will be used during students’ library time. Impact: 1,000 students. Elizabeth Littlefield ($801)
  • College & Career Academy at Pruden — F is for Food, G is for Garden — This grant award will fund a collaborative school-based enterprise and a project-based learning opportunity for both the Culinary Arts and Early Childhood Education programs. Together with the Children’s Center: CCAP Campus site, students will create a garden of produce necessary for nutrition, food production and science-themed activities for all partners. Impact: 100 students. Rhonda Culepper ($781)
  • Col. Fred Cherry Middle School — Improving Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) —This grant will provide partial funding for a software solution to automate schoolwide PBIS rewards management. PBIS helps students develop and learn social, emotional and behavioral competence, supporting their academic engagement through staff teaching, modeling and encouragement. Impact: 800 students ($635)
  • Northern Shores Elementary School — Positive Behavior Interventions & Supports (PBIS) — This grant will support the school-wide PBIS behavior initiative to provide rewards for students throughout the 2021-2022 school year. Impact: 700 students. Brittany Flintoff ($635)
  • King’s Fork High School — Français Pratique — French language students will embark on a field trip to the Chrysler Museum in Norfolk and a French bakery, where they will participate in interactive learning experiences to broaden their understanding of French culture, and use their French to understand and communicate with other francophones. Impact: 20 students. Christina Havlin (funded by an anonymous donor)
  • Lakeland High School — Biomedical Sciences Independent Research — This activity will give the students hands-on experience in the growing fields of neuroscience, immunology and genetic engineering. Students apply their knowledge and skill that they have learned, then add the additional benefit of choosing their own topic and conducting their own independent research to showcase their skills. Impact: 100 students. Sarah McDonald ($2,000)

A committee makes awards 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 Schools students, you can make a contribution to the Suffolk Education Foundation online at or by mailing your tax-deductible donation to P.O. Box 394, Suffolk, VA 23439-0394. Donations are accepted in honor or in 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 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 25 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, please contact SEF President Patrick Belcher at or visit the Foundation’s website at