The Westerville Education Foundation (WEF), an independent, volunteer, non-profit organization, founded in 1993 for the purpose of enhancing the education of Westerville students, has announced that eight new grants will be funded. WEF grants are the longest-established component of the group’s GAP (Grants, Adoption, Programs) funding initiatives. Recipients are:
- Kristina “KK” Hunter, on behalf of 14 elementary buildings – $559 for a Mobile MakerSpace, where students come together to build, share knowledge and solve problems. The purpose is to foster divergent thinking, during the course of the school year, among some 600 students who have been identified as gifted. This aligns with a District goal to grow the capacity of all pupils, including those who are most able.
- Jim Ledford, Alcott Elementary School – $1,000 for First Grade CD Production. Students will work collaboratively to produce and market their own classroom music c.d. They will be involved in the process of choosing songs, designing a cover, creating a name, advertising and selling the product at a release party. Songs will be academic in nature, covering first grade standards like language arts, math, social studies, science, technology and character education. They will be recorded at the Blue Moon Studio.
- Chris Poynter and Megan Winand, Hawthorne Elementary School – $392.23 for the Hawthorne Hackers After-School Coding Club. Of 75 students who applied to join this after-school coding club, 16 were selected to learn both coding and complete simple engineering projects. Two goals of the club are to guide students to find success with these tools and to increase their personal, and, subsequently, academic confidence. Student interest has been higher than expected and these funds will be used to purchase microprocessors and power cables so work can continue at home. In addition, three rolls of filament will be purchased so the Hackers can learn how to use a recently donated 3D printer.
- Julie Koontz, Hawthorne, Annehurst and Heritage – $609.70 for Let’s Get Ready to Learn/Regulating Our Body. Special Education students must be at just the right Sensory Integration level to learn. Providing pupils with a variety of sensory tools and alternative seating options will promote academic success and participation within the classroom. The money will be used to purchase a crash pad, three hoki stools, two scooter boards, cube chairs, beanbags and a beanbag chair.
- Marynelle Liston, Blendon Middle School – $340.83 for Equipment of Sensory Regulation. In the autism resource classroom and multiple disabilities classroom, students have sensory dysfunction that affects their ability to learn. The use of sensory regulation items such as WOBBLE chairs, ergonomic chairs, body socks and weighted compression vests helps pupils to move in ways that allow them to experience sensory input so they can focus and learn. Funds will be used to provide more sensory regulation items for students with Asperger’s syndrome, mental health issues and multiple disabilities.
- Jean Trimble, Walnut Springs Middle School, $1,800 for The Dick & Jane Project Inspirational Talk and In-School Song Production Workshop. The Dick and Jane Project is an assemblage of experienced producers, songwriters, and musicians who collaborate with middle school students to create radio-ready songs. A 45-minute inspirational talk by creator Ben Shinabery will present an enthusiastic and compelling argument that songs co-produced by middle school pupils are the next new genre of music. Students will be partnered with professional music producers to create songs that will be released on the radio.
- Kyle Campbell, Westerville North High School – $1,600 for Tanks for Teachers, a project that will involve zoology students setting up and maintaining ten 40-gallon aquariums to be placed in different classrooms throughout the school. Each aquarium will contain native Ohio fish that will eventually be added to stock the Larimore Land Lab pond located behind the school. With support and encouragement from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Pet Supplies Plus, and a local fish supplier, the goal is to offer students with a real-life, long-term science project to enhance the overall ecosystem in the land lab pond.
- Damon Mollenkopf, Westerville North High School – $532.97 for the Westerville North Media Arts Audio Production Lab. In an attempt to equip an audio production lab that will also be somewhat portable, a mixing board and digital recorder have already been purchased. To complete the lab, two professional quality microphones, suspension boom arm stands for those mics, and a protective carrying case for the mixer will be bought to allow for safe, on-site production at events like podcasts, interviews, live recording and live performances.
Recipients will be honored by the Foundation at a special event this spring.