Powhatan Education Foundation awards classroom grants

Shown are members of the Powhatan Education Foundation and some of the educators who were awarded PEF grants to implement in Powhatan’s schools.

POWHATAN – The Powhatan Education Foundation recently awarded almost $30,000 in grants to local educators to enrich student learning.

During the Powhatan County School Board meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, the nonprofit handed out 15 grants to staff and teachers to be implemented at the district’s five schools.

The mission of Powhatan Education Foundation (PEF) is to enhance the learning experience for PCPS students, teachers and staff by promoting innovative educational opportunities, recognizing outstanding achievements, and developing community partnerships.

Each year, the PEF awards Innovative Classroom Grants that present ideas for achieving the county’s curricular goals, enhancing students’ personal development, and/or encouraging links with the community, said Dr. Tracie Omohundro, assistant superintendent for instruction, who announced the awards at the school board meeting.

The nonprofit received more than 41 grant requests this year, she said. Of those requests, 11 were fully funded and four grants were partially funded, for a total funding of $29,290.60.

Carolyn White, PEF president, had announced in August that the nonprofit was doubling the maximum amount of the classroom innovation grants this year to a maximum of $3,000. Three of this year’s recipients received the maximum amount.

Dr. Eric Jones, superintendent, pointed out that the PEF is made up of a group of volunteers who work to support the division’s mission. It was exciting to see how many grants they awarded and the new maximum in place to help “teachers to do really excting and engaging projects for students.”

He pointed out the grants and other things the foundation does are made possible because of the fundraising they do. One of its biggest fundraisers will see the foundation hosting the Richmond Symphony at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 26 at Powhatan High School. Tickets are already on sale for $25 on www.eventbrite.com.

This year’s grant recipients were:

* Using a Growth Mindset and Authentic Learning to Build Language Proficiency: This resource will be used to build a growth mindset in students to promote self-reflection in the language acquisition process for all World Languages. Project leader, Nadia Hassan, $770.

* Adapted Physical Education Equipment: This program will stimulate and motivate the adapted PE students during class instruction and assist with activities in class. Project leaders, Amber Foos and Sarah Meade, $1,140.

* Adventures in 3D Printing Await: This 3D program will supply schools with the resources to start the first 3D printing lab for grades K-5. Project leader, Kelly Ann Terry, $2,271.

* Creative Writing with Music: Creative Writing with Music will have students experience the creative process of song writing with professional musicians in the area. Project leader, Gina Dickerson, $3,000.

* Hydroponic Indoor Garden: Students will create a hydroponic indoor garden and allow students to learn how to grow food and eat healthy. Project leaders, Cheryl Paige Anderson and Lisa Brown, $1,180.33.

* It’s About the Journey: This program will allow English 12 government students to ride a train to Washington, D.C. to visit the Capitol and meet their government officials, visit the Supreme Court and experience a Broadway play. Students will be exposed to live versions of what is being taught. Project leaders, Tracey Ingle and Jennifer Vandell, $1,500.

* Kagan Winter Academy: A program designed to have school staff attend the Kagan Winter Academy to serve in assisting with strengthening classroom instruction. Project leaders, Jacqui Mawyer and Martha Powers, $2,500.

* PHS Arrowhead on Location: This program will assist journalism students in providing updated technology to reach a wider audience of people from their school community. Project leader, Jennifer Kramer, $1,000.

* Outdoor Classroom: The outdoor classroom will be designed to conduct more interactive learning activities for students in an outside open environment. It will serve as an improvement to the current playground in place. Project leaders, Amy Hintz and Robyn Hall, $3,000.

* Powhatan High School Writer’s Festival: This festival involves school visits from acclaimed authors, poets and young writers in the Richmond and Charlottesville area, exposing our students to several professionals in the field. Project leaders, Nashae Jones and Paul Smartschan, $2,141.05.

* SPEAR Robotics: Upping Our Professional Game: This program is designed of several students who are involved in the SPEAR Robotics program who compete each year in building a robotic. This grant will help purchase materials for competition. Project leaders, Lindsey Freeman and Libbey Kitten, $500.

* Using Digital Arts to Explore Our World: The grant will help expose students to enhanced areas of digital learning with several photography projects and media. Project leaders, Lauren Trimmer and Elizabeth Martin, $2,734.26.

* Vermiculture in the Classroom: This project promotes elementary students to learn of life cycles, decomposition, plant growth, and conservation while participating first hand with research in the classroom. Project leaders, Barbara Adcock and Lisa Brown, $1,878.96.

* Virtual Reality Lab: This lab will help students have a better understanding of science, technology, engineering art and mathematics through virtual emersion experiences. Project leaders, Stephanie Wirt, Morri Pace, and Melissa Glanden, $3,000.

* What’s in My Genes?: Students will be able to test and present their findings from DNA samples through kits that will be purchased with this grant and help them understand the world and science of DNA. Project leaders, Kristen Bentzen and Libbey Kitten, $2,675.

Laura McFarland may be reached at Lmcfarland@powhatantoday.com.

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