The Killeen ISD Education Foundation continued its annual tradition making the holidays even sweeter with surprise classroom grants to teachers.

Working without its usual oversized checks, balloons and bus escort on Dec. 17, members of the foundation’s grant committee added face coverings to their green-and-red holiday gear to make their special deliveries.

In all, the Education Foundation awarded 29 grants totaling almost $25,000 for a wide range of creative classroom projects.

Foundation Director Joyce Hodson praised the Beck Family Foundation, which donated $25,000 to fund themini-grants to teachers.

“It’s humbling to see the response of the teachers when they discover they’ve won a grant,” said Hodson following the delivery.

“We realized the fall semester would be a trying time for staff adapting to new teaching techniques. We decided to make the application super easy, only three questions, to allow the teachers time to focus on their main objective — the students.”

At Skipcha Elementary School in Harker Heights, special education teacher Rachel Dunton was similarly overcome with emotion when the grant patrol awarded her funding to equip a sensory friendly room for self-regulation including floor mats, instruments and inflatables.

Skipcha Principal Jane Apodaca praised the foundation’s continued commitment to make teachers’ wishes come true.

“What’s important to me,” the principal said, “is that this gives teachers a voice. They can use their creativity to make learning better. I have ideas, but theirs are more unique because they are in the classroom. They are invested and their ideas have the most impact.”

In a perfect example of teachers laboring even harder than usual to meet the unusual demands of 2020, Peebles first-grade teacher Tamika Christie explained through grateful tears her desire to bring a popular piece of technology into the classroom.

With many devices loaned out to virtual students, Christie said she noticed her young students could use more concentrated time with technology. Her grant will provide about nine Leap Pad systems.

“They will be so excited,” said Christie, who said this is the first year she’s ever applied for a grant.

This year’s fall grants include the following:

Brookhaven Elementary

Jennifer Seim - Learning and Growing Together Through Music

Cavazos Elementary

Leigh Frishman Coderz - Junior League and Tasha LaBoy - Reader Zone

Clifton Park Elementary

Kristina Adolph - Lighting Up Learning and Mark Cadwalader Adventures Archery

Haynes Elementary

Dana King -Flexible Seating

Harker Heights High

Christopher Lake - Musical Mixing and Ellie Herrera - Aquatic Ocean Biotope Project

Harker Heights Elementary

RayannePolm Exploring Our Universe

Liberty Hill Middle School

Moana Vea and Lisa Walker - Penned for Success

Live Oak Ridge Middle School

Jeremy Troy - Oculus by FB “Quest 2”

Maude Moore Wood Elementary

Yvonne Hull - We Love PIE and Chelsey Wasson - Let’s Build It

Montague Village Elementary

Jennifer Kennison - Keep on Reading

Nolan Middle School

Zawanda Washington - Storyline 360 Plus

Nolanville Elementary

Kayla Walker - Engage Learners Math

Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary

Michelle Ortiz and Nancy Zim-Clark - Super Star Scientist

Peebles Elementary

Tamika Christie - Leap Frog Academy

Pershing Park Elementary

Ruth Lake - Virtual Connections and Jordan Coe - Music Media Resources

Saegert Elementary

Tina Spilman - Help Me Help You, SharletteSaizand Odis Robinson - Innovative Teaching

Skipcha Elementary

Sarah Gerdes - Bouncing Into Learning, Rachel Dunton - Safe Place Sensory Room and Amy Goodman - Snap Electrical Circuits

Trimmier Elementary

Noemi Davila Tablet for Bilingual and Siobian Gallegos Technology for Learners

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