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2014-15 Innovation Grant Winners

2014-2015 Innovation Grants:

Fresh Water Pollution Analysis and Water Softening Inquiry – Using a water softening inquiry lab kit, Chemistry students will test the water quality of local surface water testing pH, presence of nitrates, phosphates, and chlorine to introduce them to the practical applications of chemistry. Later in the semester, students will conduct an inquiry laboratory teaching the concepts of hard water, ions, titration, and ion exchange. Concepts learned in these activities are emphasized by the Next Generation Science Standards.   LHS - Katti Bachar, Karen Kym, Maggie Nicholson, Jennifer Rosenblum; Awarded $1,735.05

Digital Painting in Photoshop Creative Cloud – Purchase graphics tablets and pressure sensitive pens and Adobe Photoshop to be used by visual art students in a computer lab. The project involves exposure to and development, exploration and integration of digital graphics tablets and pressure sensitive pens in a traditional Painting Studio curriculum. This will allow students a new and innovative way to create original works of art using the latest technology in an expressive and traditional way. VHHS - Allison Molloy; Awarded $2,000.00

Hands-On Learning with Thermal Imaging and Infrared Light – The Seek Thermal Camera brings the study of infrared light and thermal imaging to the classroom. Physics and Chemistry students will use these cameras in conjunction with existing classroom sets of iPads to investigate infrared emissions, temperature and thermal energy transfer.  LHS - Mike Bush; Awarded $1,990.00

Project Speech to Text for Special Services Department – Purchase microphone headsets to be used in conjunction with a Google program called “Read and Write” for students with reading and writing learning disabilities. These microphone headsets will enable students to use the new speech to text feature that has been recently added to the program. This new feature will allow students to speak their papers into the computer. This will provide students with a significant equalizer to improve their writing abilities to compare to non-disabled peers. LHS - Susan Price; Awarded $500.00

Ecological Evaluation Lab – Chemistry students will investigate the aquatic ecosystem outside the school in student-driven experiments ranging from sampling biodiversity to assessing the biogeochemical cycles present in Butler Lake. This new lab equipment will provide students the means to collect and analyze real data in support of ecology, cell-energetics, and microorganism growth rates. LHS - Maggie Casteleyn; Awarded $1,997.59

Formative Assessments Using iPad Minis – Six iPad minis will provide Chemistry students with quick informal feedback on common chemical concepts using apps aligned to the Chemistry curriculum. The iPad minis will also be used as a tool in newly developed inquiry based labs. LHS - Katti Bachar; Awarded $1,935.81 

Programming with Finch Robots – The Finch Robot is an exciting way for Computer Science students to learn hands-on programming with immediate feedback and engaging activities. The Finch Robot has light sensors, temperature sensors, obstacle sensors, accelerometers, buzzers, and the ability to write using a pen-mount. All of this is fully customizable to allow students many creative programs. The Finch Robot can be programmed using a variety of programming languages, including Java. LHS - Teresa Elmore; Awarded $1,997.19 and VHHS - Adam Lueken; Awarded $1,997.19

This is a Healthy Public Service Announcement – Using microphone headsets, Health students will create a 1-2 minute public service announcement video that will be viewed by their peers. The emphasis of the assignment is health promotion, prevention, and/or safety. Small groups will brainstorm and choose a health topic with teacher approval. Topics could include: exercise, nutrition, mental health awareness, disease awareness or prevention and safety. This assignment allows students to advocate to their peers an informative health message that is of interest to them. The idea is peer education; kids listen to kids. The students will research information, learn how to write a public service announcement, and finally create a public service announcement video. LHS - AnneMarie Hays; Awarded $500.00

English Learning Space – As we move into using digital learning strategies, how can our classrooms become learning spaces for students? This project will offer students a chance to design their own classroom with the purpose of strengthening the creative learning space. With teacher guidance, students will decide what this space will look like and how the space can facilitate learning. We want students to consider how their requests will strengthen their learning experiences. We will show them models of other learning spaces and discuss the pros and cons of their ideas. In the end, we want to start by changing one English classroom into one English learning space. VHHS - Tara Nieves, Cory Smith; Awarded $2,000.00

Special Resource First Author Writing Software – Purchase a three-year classroom license for the Don Johnston First Author Writing software program. This license would also extend to all students at the school who have an IEP. First Author is a writing software platform which assists students with complex instructional needs to write independently on both assigned and self-directed topics by guiding students through a three-step writing process: choosing a topic, selecting a picture prompt, and writing with the support of built-in accommodations. First Author will assist special needs students, who were never expected to write, into becoming first-time authors. LHS - Lynda Ward; Awarded $1,950.00

Greening Up Chemistry: Analyzing Practices in Industry – Green Chemistry is a new way of thinking about how to practice chemistry. Chemists need to be more aware of the hazards, environmental impact and making chemistry more sustainable. This project will look at various practices in industry and alternative methods that would make products less hazardous and more sustainable for our planet. LHS - Sherri Conn Rukes; Awarded $2,000.00

Furniture That Facilitates Cooperative Learning – This proposal seeks funding to replace the traditional furniture in a classroom with desks and chairs that are modern, creative and innovative. This proposal will incorporate student input in the design of a classroom with furniture that provides opportunities to collaborate and work cooperatively in a range of group sizes and configurations. LHS - Paul Reiff; Awarded $2,000.00

Pictured at the grant ceremony:
(seated) Susan Price, LHS Special Education Teacher; Allison Molloy, VHHS Art Teacher; Maggie Nicholson, LHS Science Teacher; Paul Reiff, LHS English Department Supervisor; AnneMarie Hays, LHS Physical Welfare/Health Teacher.
(standing) Kris Blaser, D128 Foundation Chair; Anne Landgraf, D128 Foundation Trustee; Lisa Skeens, D128 Foundation Vice-Chair of Projects; Lynda Ward, LHS Special Education Teacher; Katti Bachar, LHS Science Teacher; Karen Kym, LHS Science Teacher; Maggie Casteleyn, LHS Science Teacher; Teresa Elmore, LHS Mathematics Teacher; Mike Bush, LHS Science Teacher; Prentiss Lea, D128 Superintendent.
Grant recipients not pictured: Tara Nieves, VHHS English Department Supervisor; Cory Smith, VHHS English Teacher; Adam Lueken, VHHS Mathematics Teacher; Jennifer Rosenblum, LHS Science Teacher; Sherri Conn Rukes, LHS Science Teacher.