Celebrations broke out across Killeen ISD Wednesday as teachers received gifts from generous local donors that they will pass on to their students.
The Killeen ISD Education Foundation continued its annual classroom grant distribution with two separate teams of volunteers and district representatives making surprise stops at 21 schools to deliver 31 grants to teachers.
The grants, which will fund a huge variety of classroom activities over the next year, totaled more than $124,000.
This year’s grant award total is the biggest ever in the foundation’s 21-year history, Foundation Director Joyce Hodson said.
At each stop, grant patrol participants cheered, rang bells and released confetti streamers as surprised educators expressed joyous gratitude.
The distribution took a little longer at Oveta Culp Hobby Elementary School on Fort Hood, where four separate projects received funding.
Principal Alena Thomas led the guests, with balloons and large ceremonial checks and each winner joined the train, ending with a party in the gym.
“It boosts morale,” said Thomas as she watched her librarian, counselors and PE teachers excitedly celebrate their grants.
“All of our kids will be impacted by all of these grants,” she said. “That’s the best. Look at them – they are totally excited.”
At Hobby Elementary School, the library will receive a series of board books aimed at pre-kindergarten and ELL students, but available to all. The counselors will receive added supplies to promote restorative practices. The PE teachers will receive pedometers and a projector to track fitness efforts.
At Haynes Elementary School, pre-kindergarten teacher Jessica Hartman was excited to receive a grant that will add specialized “cube chairs” that help students calm down when needed.
“This will be very beneficial,” she said. “It is exciting. I wasn’t even thinking about it.”
The grant projects across KISD span the grade levels and academic disciplines.
“The grant requests ranged from books for reading and literacy to iPads for technology and sensory classrooms for early childhood special education students,” Hodson pointed out.
In addition to grants for individual classrooms and campuses, the funding includes support for KISD’s annual Elementary Science Olympiad and the Battle of the Books, which includes all the middle schools.
“The heartbeat of our mission is to fund and support our students and staff, and today our veins our pumping with joy,” Hodson said.
This year’s classroom grants include the following:
- Brookhaven Patricia Newsom “Biking Toward Academic Success” $5,000 and Jennifer Seim “Let’s Sing, Play and Learn Today” $4,080; Patterson Amanda Bowman “Integration of Virtual Reality to Impact Fine Art Academic Performance” $5,000.
- Eastern Hills LaShawnda Franklin “Be the Change you With to See After You Find the Right Book” $1,415, Harker Heights Elementary RayannePolm “Celebrating Diversity Through Reading” $4,891, Hay Branch Ebone Ross “Enter into the Reality of Intervention When Reading Anything is Possible” $1,245.
- Haynes Jessica Hartman “Learning with Classroom Cube Chairs” $1,399, Maxdale Katherine Johnson “Wiggle Room Creating Sensory Friendly Special Education Classrooms $4,979, Meadows Pasha Johnson “Instruction on the Move” $2,720 and Katrina Schoenrock “iPads for Innovation” $4622.
- Nolanville Mary Bonnetty “Innovation of STEAM Educational Centers” $5,000, Hobby James Cabana “Get Your Body Moving” $2,289, Kristin Phillips “Board Books for Pre-K” $1,500, Cyndi Rowe “Integrating Technology into PE” $1,299 and Cristina Miranda “In Order to Educate, We Must Self-Regulate” $4,894.
- Palo Alto Haluania Pollard “Arrows and Academics” $3,509, Carney Lynn Verrego “Comfort and Calm” $2,866, Peebles Gerrica Bailey “Full STEAM Ahead with Literacy” $1,497, Reeces Creek Dina D’Amore “Speed Into Learning” $4,843, Cavazos Alma Gomez “A Sense of Self-Regulation” $4,569.
- Saegert Kelly Sills “Getting Rooted in Reading” $3,135 and Tina Spilman “Big Mac Please” $1,367, Skipcha Grace Nance “Creating Genius’ One Generation at a Time” $1,794, Timber Ridge Rebecca Kipp “Pre-pair-ing for Reading and Science” $4,590 and Charlynn Loeffler “Carting in STEM” $4,800.
- Trimmier Sarah Dumon “Using Ukuleles to Improve Test Scores” $5,000 and Siobhian Gallegos “Increasing Motivation and Engaging Readers” $1,441, Venable Village Roshelle Peters “Aimed in Math” $4,988 and Leslie Rowe “Never Bored With Board Books” $4,541.
- Maude Moore Wood ChoeLan Craft “Aim for Success” $4,995 and Denise Keesee “Keep Calm and Sensory On” $2,673.