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Area education enhanced by grants

Area education enhanced by grants
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DEWITT — Next year, students in Amy Grantz’s ag classes will have life-size statues of cows, pigs and other animals to enhance their learning.

Students will be able to draw on the statues and then erase those marks over and over again.

“It will be a great thing in the classroom,” Grantz said.

Students might be able to draw cuts of meat on one side of the cow, for example, and internal organs on the other. They can color it to represent different breeds when they’re studying that.

The statues will be made possible by a $5,000 grant from the Central Community Education Foundation. It was one of $45,000 worth of grants awarded to teachers in the Central DeWitt Community Schools last week to support projects ranging from biology experiments to art projects.

“Without you and without you as teachers, we wouldn’t be here,” said Norma Bickel, foundation president, after presenting the awards at a breakfast meeting attended by about 80 people, including teachers, administrators, school board members and community supporters.

Before Bickel presented the awards, the audience watched a video highlighting some of the projects the grants have been used for in past years, including Certified Nursing Assistant training and skilled trades program projects.

Jim Lass spoke to the group about how the robotics club and related classes at all grade levels benefitted from the foundation’s support.

Art teacher Cassie Dunlavey also talked about the importance of the grants. Among the things she has used grant money for in the past are Photoshop computer software, iPads, digital cameras, a touch-screen TV to display student work, and a digital pen and tablet.

“It’s hard to describe the impact these things have had in my classroom. They’ve changed my curriculum and allowed me to be a better teacher,” she said.

The grants were awarded with money in the foundation’s various Teacher Endowment funds, most of which are dedicated to specific subjects.

Among the continued fund-raising projects the foundation is spearheading is the sale of Major Savers cards, which are available from any student grades in kindergarten through eighth grade. The cards are $15 and feature discounts from area businesses. Fifty percent of the proceeds go to the foundation. Last year the cards raised $11,000 for the foundation.

The award winners announced Wednesday include:

n Bridging the Gap in Literacy, $750 from the Barb and Max Dull (literacy) and Bill and Shirley Homrighausen (journalism) endowments to Tatiana McConnell, fourth- through sixth-grade reading teacher.

n Finale Music Composition Software, $853 from the Fred and Doris Gerdes (fine arts) and Wilma Owen (general education) endowments to Brittany Wedeking and Kerri Olson, fifth- through eighth-grade music teachers.

n C-Pen Grant, $2,375 from the Lyndsey Hanas (special education), Bill and Shirley Homrighausen (journalism), Carolynn Ruggeburg (elementary education) and Robert M. Parrot (language arts and journalism) endowments to Janet Green, Allison Hansen, Denise Kueter, Paige Kluesner and Jamie Nielsen, Ekstrand special education teachers.

n iPad Projector/Document Camera Stand, $835 from the Helen Helble (elementary education) endowment to Joni Sikkema, Hanna Harlson, Holly Saunders, Jenna Gerard, Jessica Rooks, Ekstrand second-grade teachers.

– Buying Playaways, $3,000 from Helen Helble endowment to Tammy McClimon, district librarian.

– Osmo Plus iPad, $2,198 from Helen Helble and general fund endowment to Jenna Gerard, second-grade teacher.

– Animal Statues, $5,000 from the Education 25th anniversary and general fund endowments to Amy Grantz, agriculture education teacher and FFA adviser.

– Electronic Balances, $1,749 from Wilma Owen (general education), Henry Pellum (math) and general fund endowments to Clay Waterbury, high school science teacher.

– Ceramic Slab Roller, $4,149 from DeWitt Bank and Trust (Central skilled trades), First Central (school to work), Wayne and Nancy Stuedemann (skilled trades), Warren Waack (skilled trades) and general fund endowments to Cassie Dunlavey and Caralyn Butler, high school art.

– National Archery in Schools and Equipment, $2,500 from the general fund endowment to Karen Bertolino, Morgan Burbach and Ed Vance, middle and high school physical education teachers.

– Project Lead the Way iPad, $3,344 from Carolynn Ruggeberg (elementary education) and general fund endowments to John Ehlers, fourth-grade teacher.

– DNA Gel Electrophoresis Kits, $1,187 from Henry Pellum (math) endowment to Craig Reuter, high school biology teacher.

– Computer Science Enrichment Tools, $4,144 from William Turnis (general education) and general fund endowments to Terri Smith, middle school STEM teacher.

– Electronic Balances/Hotplates, $3,141 from Henry Pellum (math) endowment to Katie Moulton, high school chemistry/physics teacher.

– Graphing Calculators, $2,591 from Henry Pellum (math) endowment to Kathleen Goetsh, high school math teacher.

– Anatomy and Physiology Lab Materials, $1,822 from the general fund endowment to Cody LaKose, high school science teacher.

– Matrix T5X Treadmill, $5,490 from Anne Volkman (general education) and general fund endowments to Karen Bertolino middle school physical education teacher.

The school district will provide funding for two flexible seating grant requests. The first is $3,000 for Linda Craddick, Erin Jenkins and Beth Neuhas, seventh- and eighth-grade ELA/reading teachers. The second is for $5,788 to Jeremy Kuehl, Jamie McDonough, Rachel Truelsen and Melissa Dever, fifth- and sixth-grade teachers.

Nancy Mayfield is a DeWitt Observer staff writer.

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