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Announcing the 2021 Teacher Excellence Grant Recipients

EES teacher Mrs. Hayden receives classroom grant from Eudora Schools Foundation 2021

Eudora, KS: The Eudora Schools Foundation (ESF) announced today the award of more than $28,000 to fund 18 teachers’ innovative programs in the Eudora school district. The grants help teachers establish programs to enhance student learning and success. The ESF has awarded over 150 grants and funded over $115,000 in classroom educational initiatives since 2006. This year’s awards mark the highest amount of classroom grants given in the ESF’s 15-year history.

“It has been a great start to our school year,” said Tony Baron, ESF President. “Personally, I am grateful for the overwhelming support that our community has shown for our Eudora Schools.  It is the people who make a difference, and we want to make sure to reward our innovative thinkers and enhance the student learning experience.  It is because of our community’s generosity that we are able to recognize our teachers with the Teacher Excellence Grants.”

The chosen projects will benefit students from preschool through 12th grade. Examples of the grants proposed include STEM projects, books and advancement curricula, culinary arts equipment, and cross-curricular education. Grants were awarded in the following amounts:

Eudora Early Childhood Program $550

Eudora Elementary School $8,000

Eudora Middle School: $4,500

Eudora High School: $15,000

Individual school grants and award recipients are listed below:

Eudora Early Childhood Program

PreK Learning Manipulatives – allows preschoolers to enhance their fine motor skills, eye-hand coordination, and visual understanding. Having different manipulates allows the teacher to enrich a student’s learning with concrete hands-on experience that will develop into more abstract reasoning. Grant Recipient: Andrea King

Eudora Elementary School

3D Doodler Start – enables students to create concrete representations of their ideas which promotes imagination and creativity as they problem solve. Using a 3D Doodler will enhance classroom instruction in all subject areas. Grant Recipient: Ashley Golay

Conscious Discipline – enables staff members to train in a trauma responsive program that helps implement strategies to provide supports to students who are experiencing social-emotional and behavioral struggles, particularly enhanced by the pandemic. These research-proven strategies have proven effective when working with students and families to implement at home. Grant Recipients: Megan Holcomb & Stephanie Jacobs

Cross-Curricular Coding for Kindergarten – provides the opportunity for students to be introduce to coding. The benefits of introducing this crucial skill through the use of Cross-Curricular Coding to our littlest learners will not only prepare them for their futures but will also enhance their math and reading skills while encouraging problem solving and critical thinking skills. When coding, students will practice counting, one-to-one correspondence, directions, teamwork, and patience. Grant Recipients: Paige Hayden & Lynae Soderholm

Hands on Phonological and Phonemic Awareness Centers for Kindergarten – provides additional reading resources for kindergarten teachers to integrate a more hands-on, engaging style of learning. By integrating these reading resources into our daily routines, students would not only gain academic skills to help improve and further their reading but also the social skills of working together, problem solving, and collaboration with peers. Grant Recipients: Lynae Soderholm & Paige Hayden

Interact: Activities for EL Students – provides extended-learning students with several interactive and problem-solving activities including house design and geography bee. Through the house design, students will learn the necessary elements of building single-family homes from building cost to income and mortgage eligibility. The interactive geography bee teaches students to understand maps with scale and direction to political divisions to natural features. Grant Recipient: Barbie Hartwell

Snap Circuits – provides third grade students the opportunity to gain hands-on experience, problem solving skills, and collaboration skills with their classmates by using Snap Circuits to create over 100 different circuits with sound, motion and lights. Third grade science standards include an understanding of circuits and this is a great way to learn circuits, how to work with others, and how to read from a manual. Grant Recipient: Samantha Johnson

You’ve Been Booked – creates a culture of shared reading experience for every elementary student by creating a fun way to share books among grade levels. The goal of the program is to use engaging picture books to build community and give kids a shared experience by enjoying the same books.  Picture books are community builders, empathy builders, great mentor texts, and provide a vocabulary boost! Grant Recipient: Jill Dodge

Eudora Middle School

Body Systems Visual Aid – provides seventh grade students the opportunity to use hands-on human body models to understand the muscular, vascular and granular structure, digestive system, and nerve structure of the human body. The manipulative models allow students to remove parts to understand the 100 key anatomical features labeled on the visual aid. Grant Recipient: Sondra Garner

Freedom in Fantasy PBL– enables sixth grade students to have a more authentic reading experience during our fantasy literature unit. The goal is to engage students in choice literature and book club discussion over the books they are reading. This will help foster a love of reading as well as connecting to the book and to peers through discussions and activities. Grant Recipients: Amy Giffin & Heather Moore

Magic & Mayhem PBL– allows sixth grade students to engage in authentic reading through project-based learning.  Students are encouraged to select a book from a given stack and participate in literature circle/book talks with students from the classroom.  Students will work at their own pace, reading what they chose to read and actively talking and engaging in curriculum-based activities.  Not only would this unit foster a love of reading, but hopefully life-long, independent readers. Grant Recipients: Heather Moore & Amy Giffin

Sphero Coding Robot for 8th Grade– provides students the opportunity to use logic-based thinking through problem-solving with coding robots. This helps to build a student’s foundation for further work in computer sciences and a new perspective in problem-solving that applies to other areas of life. The robots are a great learning tool to meet our adopted learning standards for "The Engineering Design Process and Designing System Models". Working with the robots will require students to define problems, develop and test solutions, and finally optimize solutions. Grant Recipient: Paul Kaldahl

Eudora High School

New Music | No Copyright Strikes! – allows students in Cardinal Productions the ability to use an enhanced music library with correct licensure. Expanding the music library allows students to work with clients on video production with optimal sound choices for successful client-based projects. Grant Recipient: Nate Robinson

Anatomical Models – provides anatomy and physiology students the opportunity to use muscular system models and half-size desktop skeletons to work in smaller groups to investigate individual bones, joints, ligaments, and muscles without having to disassemble and reassemble the current larger classroom skeleton. These anatomical models would provide for a richer, more hands-on lab experience for students. Grant Recipient: Eric Magette

Continuing Special Education Supports – creates the opportunity for life skills students to further expand their post-secondary training by operating a coffee cart, food cart, and a candy bouquet business. These opportunities provide students with experience in customer service, inventory, and teamwork, while also of providing a self-sustaining service to the high school. Grant Recipients: Rose Garrison & Charlie Shen

BlueTooth Probeware – enhances the learning of chemistry and physical science students by providing them with Bluetooth Probeware to use during lab experiments. Just like real scientists, students will have instant and accurate data collection and representation that will save time and increase lab accuracy. The use of Bluetooth gives more accurate readings and eliminates the concern of students melting wires that are traditionally connect to the computers during the labs. Using the current Probeware facilitates a deeper understanding of science concepts, supports student curiosity, and better prepares our students for advanced science study. Grant Recipient: Morning Pruitt

Science…It’s for The Birds! – increases biology students’ understanding of important concepts, such as biodiversity, taxonomy, ecology, behavior, and conservation through birdwatching. Binoculars and field guides will allow students to complete a series of bird watching projects throughout the year. Ultimately these projects connect students to their natural world, promote the acquisition of fundamental skills and knowledge in the field of biology, and perhaps even spark a healthy lifelong habit. Grant Recipient: Eric Magette

Classical Mechanics Lab Equipment for Physics– provides physics students hands-on lab materials to make the conceptual understanding of physics much more accessible and memorable. The calculations that students practice and the reading that they do for conceptual understanding should be connected to tangible experiences whenever possible. This grant also provides for additional equipment that supports lab data collection, and tools that can be used for demonstration purposes in the area of classical mechanics. Grant Recipient: Joe Pickett

Wood Ovens– provides culinary arts students an opportunity to learn different cooking methods with both wood, charcoal, and gas open flame ovens to be used indoor and in the new outdoor kitchen space. These ovens allow for the learning of foods from pizza and roasting, to the clay pot broiling, bread baking, and cast-iron cooking. Grant Recipient: Jack Low

Food Truck Shakes– allows culinary arts students the unique opportunity to expand their current food truck offerings to include ice cream shakes. The grant provides for a shake machine to be installed into the food truck. Students practice many employable skills especially related to a hospitality business operation. The student-operated food truck provides a practical experience while also a service to the school community. Grant Recipient: Jack Low

The Eudora Schools Foundation is a nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) that generates resources, builds relationships, and champions public education in Eudora public schools. Founded in 2006, the Foundation exists to enhance the quality of education through partnerships with the community. Expenditures are primarily directed toward enhancing classroom instruction and impacting the broadest number of Eudora students.


ESF Classroom Grant Prize Patrol