2017-18 Innovation Grant Recipients
Congratulations to our 2017 Innovation Grant Recipients. CEF believes in supporting CUSD’s top-notch educational staff and nurturing a space where innovative ideas can develop and flourish. In this spirit, CEF is excited to fund small grants for creative projects that engage students in high-impact learning opportunities. Teachers and principals in CUSD are eligible to apply. The focus of these grants is enhancing access to creative, project-based learning for CUSD students. Projects may align with CEF’s traditional areas of focus (art, music and technology) or explore other subject areas (humanities, sciences, etc). Teachers may apply individually; groups of teachers may submit a proposal together for a collaborative school-site or grade-level project; or principals may submit a proposal for a school-wide project. Partnerships with community groups on projects that hold promise for enhancing learning in CUSD are welcome. The Request for Proposals will be posted in spring 2018 for projects intended to start in fall 2018.
And the winners are…
Chaparral: Letters Home – A Claremont History Play ($1,200)
In this project, Jean Merrill will extend her collaborative work with CHS students to create a unique play focusing on the Claremont community’s rich history. The play aligns with the 3rd grade unit on Claremont heritage and narrates the growth of the city through the lens of letters sent home by college students. The play will be produced by Chaparral’s 3rd graders and presented to all 3rd graders in the District to deepen their experience with Claremont history.
CHS: Festival of Writing ($1,500)
In this ambitious project, Tamara Nicoll attempts to close the gap between many students’ reticence to write and the powerful impact of written expression. Festival of Writing will engage students in a year-long exploration of the written word as an important means of understanding the human experience. Through the study of literature and interactions with authors and publishers, young writers from Claremont and San Antonio high schools will be inspired to celebrate their own writing and will come together in a day-long festival to share their original works with a wider Claremont community audience through poetry recitations, essay readings, and dramatic renderings of student-authored scripts.
CHS: Literary Rock Garden ($600)
Kim Watkins will lead her students in a creative and rigorous academic project that spans the school year and culminates in a stunning visual rock garden that captures students’ understanding of the human condition as confronted in literature. Students will be challenged to derive meaning from a range of texts as they grapple with complex analyses including literary dialogue, tone, and symbolism. Students’ analyses will be shared technologically through Spark Page. As a culminating project, students will design and paint a rock with a quotation that they believe encapsulates a greater life lesson. The rocks will be displayed in the CHS quad for years to come.
Condit: School Garden Project ($497)
Melody Hicks at Condit will work with teachers across grade levels to inspire students’ growth mindset and passion for learning through project-based gardening. Students will develop academic competencies across the disciplines as they research, plant, and monitor all areas of the garden. Teachers will use outdoor education to reinforce academic standards learned in the classroom and to inculcate a greater awareness of students’ personal and collective obligations to promote environmental sustainability.
Condit: Observe While Learning (OWL) Pellets ($736)
The 5th-grade team at Condit, Jennifer Luebbers, Ellen Crawford, Renee Duniven, and Jenny Genovese, will guide owl pellet dissections to model the nature of food chains and webs and to demonstrate the role of predators in the environment. Students will hone their skills in scientific inquiry through observation, measuring and recording data, and analyzing their findings. Students will work in groups to create compelling multimedia presentations through which they will share their research findings with the Condit community.
Mountain View: Praying Mantis Life Cycle ($225)
Julie Ulrich-Riley will integrate language arts lessons with science as she guides her 3rd graders in the reading and analysis of Charlotte’s Web. Ulrich-Riley will amplify the life cycle lessons of this literary favorite as the 3rd graders work with Mountain View’s transition kindergartners in the study of a praying mantis habitat. They will explore life science through writing, reading comprehension, critical thinking and technology, and will share their journey of learning through the very special mentoring relationship of young and younger students.
Sycamore: Coding with Sphero Robots and STEAM Projects ($1,931)
In this exciting project, spearheaded by Lenora Hester, Sycamore students will be using Sphero robots to learn beginning block coding to complete projects that align with science, technology, engineering, arts, and math standards. Students will work in collaborative intergrade teams to employ increasingly advanced coding skills that bring the Sphero robots “to life.” Through a series of progressive lessons, students will be challenged to demonstrate their understanding and creativity as they program the robots to do everything from maze navigation to “if/then” command sequencing.
Sycamore: Student Service Learning ($918)
Ann O’Connor will work with 4th, 5th, and 6th-grade teachers to further develop Sycamore’s unique service-learning model. Working in collaborative teams, students will take ownership of their own learning community, and participate in service projects that require writing, technology applications, critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork. CEF funds will support new innovations in service learning at Sycamore. Projects will culminate in an iMovie presentation that will be directed and produced by the students themselves as they articulate the personal and collective impacts of service to the community at Sycamore.