Teacher Grant Program


Thanks to the continued support of our generous donors, the Belton Educational Foundation has awarded over $330,000 since the beginning of the Teacher Grant Program in 2008. Each year, the Foundation encourages all teachers in the Belton School District to submit innovative ideas through this competitive grant request process. School District administrators review submissions and, if approved, are sent on to the Foundation for review and selection by a committee.

2018 Grant Winners

Hillcrest STEAM Academy teachers, Sonja Abdelgawad and Lisa Albright, were awarded $4995.95 to create an outdoor classroom to be utilized by all students to enhance experiential learning in all curricular areas and student mental health.

Amy Huff, Kentucky Trail Elementary second grade teacher, received $1,361.00 to fund a K-4 Math Conference and Resources to be used to increase student engagement and understanding of math concepts through the use of enrichment centers and fun Family Nights.

Kaylin Blankenship, third grade teacher at Kentucky Trail Elementary received $1,170.00 to fund Blackboard Boogie Boards, a modern tool that replaces the traditional paper and pencil/whiteboards to enhance collaborative thinking and student engagement.

Bethany Villaverde, Kentucky Trail Librarian, received $906.18 for Coding Robots and Board Games for school-wide use to increase math fluency.

Madison Steffen, third grade teacher at Scott Elementary, was awarded $3295.00 to purchase the Reflex Math online math program that focuses on motivating and engaging students to improve math fluency. The program will be utilize school-wide at all grade levels.

Gladden teachers Megan Watts and Deanna Crowe were awarded $3996.00 to implement a building-wide Collaborative Critical Thinking Library.

Belton Middle School and Freshman Center teacher, John Jackson, received $1800.00 for the programming game, CodeCombat to be used in the Engineering & Computer Science class to move students from introductory programming to more advanced coding skills.

Mill Creek Upper Elementary teacher, Shannon Newbold, was awarded $4950.00 to purchase Blackboard Boogie Boards for school-wide use. These devices are eco-friendly, and a more modern way to take notes and complete other tasks in a tablet-like format.

Gladden Elementary music teacher, Justin Kohmetscher, received $480.00 to implement a Smart Music program into the 4th grade recorder unit. The real time playback and visual software is a more modern and innovative way to improve musical performance.

Cambridge principal, Michelle Biondo, along with teachers Cherin McDonald and Amy Wright were awarded $4816.45 to implement a school-wide Coding for Literacy program to integrate 21st century skills into job preparedness through robots, board games and online resources to teach coding and literacy.

Jane Scudder and DeAnna Wise, Hillcrest STEAM Academy teachers, received $1078.97 to purchase presentation equipment for students to create higher quality presentations.

Amanda Crosby, Kentucky Trail Elementary kindergarten teacher, received $1775.50 for materials to implement block building STEM lessions and activities for Kindergarten students. This program helps to increase students engagement and increase early math and science knowledge.

2017 Grant Winners

Grace Early Childhood Center teachers, Emily Wills, Kristin Cummings & Jan Hardee receivied $1806.95 to purchase KIBO Activity Center Robot Kits to teach programming/coding at the preschool level.

Alexandria Jorgensen, Art Teacher at Scott Elementary, received $2,000 to purchase New Media Art stations which contain iPad Pros and Apple pencils that will teach interdisciplinary art lessons.

Madison Steffen, 3rd Grade teacher at Scott Elementary received $2294 for supplies to implement weekly STEM challenges to engage students in real world problem solving in a group setting.

Gladden teachers, Jade Wunder, Miranda Russell and Naotasha Landrum, received a grant for $2500 to install Fiber Optic Flexible lights in three different classrooms. The lights will aid students in self-regulation and self-calming skills to decrease classroom disruptions and incidents of aggression.

Gladden Elementary 3rd grade teacher, Cathy Cisetti, received $967.77 to several STEM learning kits for project-based learning in her classroom. The kits will help students to grow as independent learners and build problem solving skills.

Ami Henry, 3rd grade teacher at Hillcrest STEAM Academy, was awarded $2,000 to purchase Ozobot Bit Kits for her classroom. These kits will teach coding skills through color code programming as well as group collaboration skills. These skills help inspire the next generation of computer scientists, engineers and inventors.

Hillcrest STEAM Academy 6th grade teachers, Lisa Albright and Michelle Dooley received $2,250  to purchase books, mobile science labs and fund a field trip to provide hands-on learning experiences and encourage innovative thinking through problem-based learning.

Hillcrest STEAM Academy Librarian, Tanya Appling received  building grant for $5,000 to provide mobile Makerspace Carts that all grade levels can utilize throughout the building. The carts foster skills such as problem solving, critical thinking, creativity while providing a real-world, hands-on experience using the technology they will find beyond the school setting.

Hillcrest STEAM Academy teachers, Sonya Abdelgawad, Jane Scudder and Betty Rickman received a $2500 grant to purchase digital wi-fi microscopes for each grade level to provide a richer learning experience in science and technology and build skills in critical thinking and collaborative learning.

Bethany Kelly, Mike Williamsen & Melanie Ryberg, teachers at Hillcrest STEAM Academy received $2499.25 to create an outdoor classroom which includes raised garden beds, pumpkin patch and a watering system. Working hands-on outdoors with nature allows a more comprehensive, inter-disciplinary learning opportunity for students as well as strengthens a sense of community within the school.

Kristine Spiers, Physical Education teacher at Kentucky Trail, received $1732.40 to purchase Polar heart rate monitors to motivate students to stay active by providing evidence of how their efforts benefit health, thereby increasing their desire to increase their physical activity.

Laura Harmon, 4th grade teacher at Kentucky Trail Elementary, received $767.78 to purchase 24 Math Shark devices for her classroom. The devices use technology to boost engagement and motivation to help increase mastery 4th grade level math skills.

Kaylin Blankenship, 3rd grade teacher at Kentucky Trail, was awarded $1,987.90 to purchase alternative seating in her classroom. Under-desk bicycles and fidget cubes will be introduced to help increase student focus and reduce distraction in the classroom.

Clare Nicholson, special education teacher at BMS/FC received $2,085 to implement purchase online reading program subscription for three special ed teachers. The online program provides access to over 7,000 online text that support literacy from all content areas to increase reading/comprehension skills in struggling readers.

2016 Grant Winners

Kentucky Trail Elementary Principal, Alisa Seidelman, and Counselor, Carrie Braun, received $4,737.77 for Google Cardboard and iPods for virtual learning systems. These systems provide an additional learning environment, which will assist students in developing key concepts within specific content areas, which will transfer to real world application.

Pat Denney, BOSCO principal, received $4,997.82 for e-books, iPad Minis and MacBooks to help increase interest in reading through technology and appropriate reading levels.

Tanya Appling, Hillcrest STEAM Academy library media specialist, received $1,709.27 for Sphero Robots and materials to build a Lego Wall in the Media Center to enhance creativity using technology, engineering, art, and math.

Melanie Ryberg, Hillcrest STEAM Academy first grade teacher, received $1,879.34 for Lego WeDo2.0 software, increasing technology and collaboration skills in her classroom.

Bethany Kelly, Hillcrest STEAM Academy kindergarten teacher, received $2,000 for alternative seating to provide a welcoming, comfortable environment to help meet students’ attention, sensory and behavioral needs.

Christine Kane, Scott Elementary speech-language pathologist, received $1,578.29 to purchase a Tower Garden for the entire student body to learn and participate in new innovative ways to grow vegetables and gain interest in eating healthy foods.

Jordan Comeau, Mill Creek Upper Elementary technology teacher, received $1,889.86 for a Bloxels Classroom set and Dot Robot that makes the abstract concept of coding and computer science come to life.

Kentucky Trail Librarian, Bethany Villaverde and Computer Teacher, Matthew Garrison, received $990.00 to purchase OSMO, a learner-led iPad application system utilizing STEM concepts for a hands-on learning experience to be used in the Kentucky Trail Library.

Jasmine Brothers, Kentucky Trail kindergarten teacher, received $1,763.82 to purchase the Reading Mentor, an engaging and hands-on reading program for her classroom.

Adam Arnold, Belton High School teacher, received $973.00 to purchase a 3D scanner for his classroom.

Teachers DeAnna Wise, Anthony Desantis, Kathryn Davis, David Jeffries and Katie Nail, Hillcrest Elementary, received $2,500 to help provide enriching, educational, and inspiring assemblies for students that exposes them to life beyond school.

Kentucky Trail Elementary Instructional Coach, Carrie Rolling, and Focus Room Facilitator, Mary Baltzell, received $2,444.83 to provide Kore Stool alternative seating for students with specific sensory needs.

Ivy Hendrix, Belton Middle School and Freshman Center teacher, received $1,900.97 to purchase flexible seating for her classroom to support different learning styles.

March 2015 Grants

Belton High School – Adam Arnold was awarded almost $2,000 to purchase a CNC router for students in the Project Lead the Way Program. Denise Evans received $2,000 to purchase items that her students will use to create DIY photographic projects exposing them to new ideas and making it easier to start their own photography careers.

Grace Early Childhood – Sonja Abdelgawad’s class accepted her grant on her behalf for almost $1,800 to purchase Spielgaben block sets, yet another STEM initiative at the early childhood level.

Hillcrest Elementary – Principal Alisa Seidelman and teacher Alice Correa received $5,000 to provide Conscious Discipline Training and classroom resources. Anthony DeSantis was awarded $850 to purchase LEGO story kits which will encourage students to develop, retell, and present their classroom work. Denise Sterling received $250 to purchase the Expanding Expression Tool which is a research-based, classroom-tested language development program.

Mill Creek Upper Elementary – Assistant Principal Deanna Feeback received $434 to purchase a Swivl.  This will help teachers improve their instruction by recording them and allowing for reflection. Melissa Humpreville and Mike Williamsen were given $2,500 to work with students to create the Mill Creek News Show.

Elementary Gifted – Dr. Tricia Trutzel-Betts received almost $2,000 to purchase 20 Raspberry Pi Kits, a tiny computer chip that the students will use for programming, engineering, designing and coding.

March 2014 Grants

Teresa Brown, a Hillcrest physical education teacher, received funds to purchase 75 MOVbands for fourth grade students. Students will use the MOVbands to track their activity level and learn how to develop healthy habits.
Carrie Rolling, the Hillcrest  librarian, will be able to purchase tactile learning materials to help kinesthetic learners better understand language arts, math, and social/emotional concepts.

Summer Doss, a Hillcrest English as a second language teacher, will purchase iPads that will enable her students to access educational applications designed to help students with the acquisition of language.Amy Wright, first grade teacher at Kentucky Trail, received funding to purchase five iPad minis and cases. Her students will be using them to design electronic portfolios that will showcase their growth in reading and writing over the course of the school year.

Amanda Spight,the Kentucky Trail assistant principal, received funding to purchase iPod touches and Swivls to allow teachers to record lessons in order to reteach students a specific topic that a student may have missed or have trouble understanding.

Sonja Abdelgawad and Emily Wills AT Grace received a grant to purchase eight iPod touches with cases to fully integrate technology into their preschool classroom.

Kelly Myers, the Grace ECCC librarian, and Megan Carroll and Kristin Cummings, teachers at Grace, received funding to become certified trainers of the BLOCKFest model which is a technique that has been scientifically proven to provide long-term benefits in math for students who utilize this form of play during their early childhood years.

Kristine McDonald, teacher at Cambridge, received a $1,970 grant to purchase curriculum that will enable the students to participate in world drumming, a unique and multicultural approach to teaching music.

Kim Mauck, principal of Mill Creek Upper Elementary School, received $4,974 to begin a reconfiguration of the library to better connect with students and the way they learn in the 21st century.

Mary Cummings, gifted teacher for sixth through twelfth grade received $1,630 what will allow her students to build a 3D printer.

March 2013 Grants

Brandy Hall at Hillcrest received $2,000.00 to purchase ten iPod Touches for her 1st grade students to use. The iPod Touch technology gives students access to applications that allow them to practice fluency, literacy and math skills.

Grace Early Childhood Care and Education Center received $4,966.99 to attain certification in the “Music With Mar” program. The program will be implemented in all classrooms at Grace and is a curriculum based on music and movement that helps to enhance learning and skill development. The funds will also be used to purchase musical instruments and materials for Grace.

Katie Klinkenborg, a special education teacher at Hillcrest, received $1,364.79 to purchase Vtech Technology for her classroom. The technology will help engage students during free reading time so they can connect to the text and improve their reading skills.

Michelle Stegmaier and Justin Mefferd at Gladden received $4,840.93 to purchase 16 Study Buddies for 2nd, 3rd and 4th grade students to utilize. The technology will increase student engagement and achievement through the Communication Arts and Mathematics content each Study Buddy will provide.

Krystal Vance, an ESL teacher at Cambridge, received $1,990.00 to purchase iPod Touches for the 45 English as a Second Language students. The iPod Touch technology will help to maximize the students’ time spent in language acquisition and help the teachers individualize education for each student.

Alisa Seidelman at Hillcrest received $4,984.00 to purchase Apple TVs for the school. This technology will allow students and teachers to share their learning and creations while using Apple products, like iPads, iPod Touches, MacBooks, etc.

Daniel Bartholomew, a technology teacher at Yeokum, received $1,999.00 to purchase a Makerbot “The Replicator” 3D printer. The printer allows students to create 3D objects from their technical drawings and immediately test their designs for real-world applicability.

Mill Creek Upper Elementary received $1,663.00 to purchase sensory integration tools for students with sensory challenges. Sensory integration tools help students to develop concentration and focus on instructions ultimately aiding in their academic success.

March 2012 Grants

Teresa Brown at Hillcrest received $580 to purchase an iPad and several health and fitness applications to integrate technology in the physical education setting.  The applications will provide instant feedback on target heart rate, BMI, and also provide new exercises for classes.

Amy Huff at Kentucky Trail received $815 to start a literary magazine featuring the writing of 2nd grade students.

Adriana Garcia, ELL teacher at Yeokum and Mill Creek received $1,715 to purchase four laptops to integrate technology for enhancing and developing the ELL students’ language skills.

Tricia Trutzel Betts received $1,869.98 to purchase two Vex Robotic Kits that will enable her students to gather a better understanding of computer sciences and technology applications.  Students will explore this opportunity via programming, investigating, problem solving, inquiring, and applying spatial ability to their android using their engineering intellectual abilities.

Lori Bledsoe at Kentucky Trail received $1,950 to purchase three iPads and language arts, math, and other applications.  Students will have opportunities to use the applications to aid in their understanding of the math and language arts concepts with which they are struggling.

Laura Fievet at Cambridge received $1,999.95 to purchase Leapfrog’s LeapPad Explorer Learning Tablets for her kindergarten classroom.  This technology will support differentiated instruction in all curricular areas.

Sonia VanDyne and Andrea Clark at Kentucky Trail received $2,352 to purchase four iPads and applications that will be used to enhance and reinforce concepts taught in the resource room and regular education setting.  This will encourage students to remain highly motivated while accessing information on the iPad which will then increase learning.

Beth Crull, Ricky Presberry, and Patrick Crawford received $2,359.85 to purchase a classroom set of Wizcom Reading Pens for special education students to utilize.  The reading pens are portable scanning devices that will be used to enhance and improve our students’ basic reading, reading comprehension, and listening comprehension skills.

Jaclyn Morehead and Heather Friend at Mill Creek Upper Elementary received $2,434.60 to purchase 14 e-Readers for use by teachers in a whole group, small group or individualized setting to give the students of Mill Creek greater access to a wide variety of literature.

Kara Franke and Anne Enright at Mill Creek Upper Elementary received $760 to purchase an iPad for use during counseling lessons, small groups and Positive Behavioral Intervention plans for students.

Grace Early Childhood Care and Education Center received $5,000 to provide a wide range of positive learning experiences, which will build the brains and enhance the language and social-emotional development of the children who are involved in the various programs at Grace by bringing in a variety of performers such as puppet shows, story tellers, musical groups and a magician.

March 2011 Grants

Jill Brown at Kentucky Trail received $1,000 to purchase two laptops with software for her classroom.

Marla McMillen, kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest, received $1,000 to purchase recorded books for her students to take home and listen to the stories in order to expand their speaking and listening vocabularies.

Linda Lewer and Mike Williamsen at Mill Creek received $1,584.50 to operate a science fair at Mill Creek.

Brandi Pope at Cambridge received $700 to purchase five Tag Reading Systems which both monitor students reading as well as read books to students.

Travis Gowen at Cambridge received $939.04 to purchase a classroom computer for student use.

Lauren Reusch at the Freshman Center received $945 to purchase five kindles for use in the library.  Students will check out the kindles for use at home.

Tori Hollis at the Freshman Center received $1,320 to purchase software that will provide an opportunity for all instrumental and vocal music students to compose and transpose music.

Connie French, Melissa Gillen, and Melissa Hudson at Grace Early Childhood received $1,150 to provide two family events that bring families and special needs students together for opportunities to gain more knowledge on helping their child at home by practicing developmentally appropriate skills to reduce regression and recoupment time needed upon return to school.

Parents as Teachers, Grace Early Childhood received $2,500 to purchase 2,000 books to be distributed to infants and toddlers for use in their home to promote literacy.

Rachele Williams, counselor at Kentucky Trail, received $860 to purchase an iPad for use while carrying out the school’s comprehensive guidance program.

Pam Pressley and Gwen McVey at Mill Creek received $2,205.99 to provide an alternative form of writing to students with Autism in order to ease their frustration and escalated behavior related to expectations of written expression and furthermore to help them become independent learners.

Carrin Timmins at Scott received $1,000 to purchase five Kindle readers and approximately 100 eBooks for use during reading and language arts time.  Kindles address the challenges students face with vision problems, language barriers, lack of reading fluency and comprehension skills and access to high-interest/appropriately-leveled books.

Shannon Watt and Kim Frank at Scott received $2,500 to purchase iPads and applications that will be used to assist reading intervention groups to assist the students with fluency, comprehension, and vocabulary.

November 2010 Grants

The Belton Educational Foundation awarded over $18,000 in grants during the fall round of funding.

Laura Fievet, Cambridge Kindergarten teacher, received $940 to purchase stability balls for her students in her classroom.  Stability balls have been proven to improve concentration and focus.

Sarah Birk, Megan Carroll, Kristin Cummings, Danielle Hickam, and Sandra Smith received $1,529 to purchase sensory intervention tools for their preschool students.  These items will allow the students to participate in more classroom activities.

Heather Friend received $1,000 to purchase books for her classroom that follow the district adopted workshop model.

Kristie Farris and Tyler Britt received $1,181 to purchase books that tie math concepts into the workshop model.

Kim Mauck and Tricia Trutzel Betts received $2,774 to continue an after school reading tutoring program that provides students with experiential learning opportunities directly tied to literature.

Denise Gaynor, Principal at the Freshman Center, received $9,959.40 to purchase 20 iPads for use in all curriculum areas at the Freshman Center.

Donna Wieser, teacher at the Freshman Center, received $1,000 to purchase two iPads for students with specific learning disabilities in written expression.  The students will utilize the voice recognition dictation program within the classroom in order to complete written assignments.

April 2010 Grants

Alice Correa and Debby Patton, teachers at Grace, receive a grant for $2,000, which will be used to purchase scientific tools and materials to increase curiosity, interest and excitement for science in their classroom.

Megan Carroll and Angie Ekberg plan to incorporate audio and video documentation of students’ book writing, storytelling and story acting to provide additional evidence of learning for families. Their grant totaled $850.

Scott Elementary and Principal Starr Rich received a grant for $4,060. The money will assist teachers with a voice enhancement system to project their voices throughout the classroom, enhancing the development of sounds discrimination and word pronunciation.

Hillcrest Elementary teachers Marla McMillen, Michelle Castle, Tracey Redfern and Stephanie Hiegel received a grant for $2,368.62 for their students’ reading, language arts and literacy development. They plan to offer students the opportunity to select books to put in individual book bins to be read at school or at home.

Cambridge principal Michelle Biondo accepts grants for teachers Kristin Corbin and Travis Gowen who together received $1,419.63 to purchase books and other items that make reading more interactive and fun.

Mill Creek Upper Elementary received three grants this semester, the most in the district. Tricia Trutzel-Betts and Mill Creek principal Kim Mauck received $2,667.56 for the school’s gifted program. The money will help provide students with problem-solving activities that focus on collaboration, cooperation, communication and creativity.

Deanna Feeback plans to purchase a classroom library of 200 content area picture books and magazine holders to categorize those books in order to promote literacy within the classroom.  She was awarded $1,000.

Pam Pressley received $988.45 to create a classroom library with picture books and guided reading books.

Michelle Norman, principal of Yeokum Middle School, was awarded the highest total grant this semester – $4,997. The funds will purchase student computers, which will help students who struggle with reading fluency and comprehension. This will be a part of Yeokum’s Response to Intervention Initiative, to ensure no students are left behind.

November 2009 Grants

Kentucky Trail Elementary received funds to operate an after school tutoring program.  This program will pair real life experiences with reading as teachers and students explore fiction and nonfiction books and visit various locations across the community that tie to their reading.

Personal CD players purchased for a class at Mill Creek to use during their reading time.  These CDs will allow students to work on reading individually.

Mill Creek received a school grant to assist with their after-school tutoring program.  This innovative program will target students reading below grade level.  It will provide these students with experiential learning opportunities directly linked to their literary focus on reading and writing.

Kindergarten teachers from Hillcrest received funds to expand to five ABC Nights where kindergartners and their families can work on key kindergarten skills.

A team of teachers from Mill Creek received funds to take four fifth grade classes on field trips tied to classroom curriculum.

The Title One and Special Education Preschool Classrooms at Grace received funding to attend several community-based field trips.  These field trips will allow the students hands-on learning while they learn new vocabulary and concepts.

March 2009 Grants

Read Naturally Online Program purchased for Yeokum middle school.  This program will continue our work at Mill Creek to ensure that students who struggle with reading are given the opportunity to improve their reading skills.

Mill Creek received funding for two computers for a Resource Classroom.  These computers will give the students who utilize this room access to several different types of specialized computer software to assist them in their learning process.

Belton High School received one LCD projector and two document cameras for the art rooms.  This technology will allow the teachers to better demonstrate specific art techniques to the entire class at one time.

Props for the Language Time program at Grace Early Childhood and Care Center.  These props will be used by the Speech-Language Pathologist to help children with special needs or children who are English Language Learners acquire language skills.

November 2008 Grants

The Foundation funded a district-wide grant to fund interactive computer software programs and curriculum for students with autism and special needs in Kindergarten through 12th grade.  The programs include language development, reading, and math curriculum, and are designed specifically for children with autism and other disabilities.

Belton High School Freshman Center – funding to assist with the purchase of a multi-media system for the common area

Kentucky Trail Elementary (two grants) – funding awarded to purchase science equipment for all grades

Belton High School – funding to purchase a hovercraft kit for the advanced physics class

May 2008 Grants

Grace Elementary School (four grants) – funding to provide transportation and admission to educational field trips for one Title One Pre-Kindergarten classroom; funding to purchase literacy and math take home bags so that student can practice these skills at home with their families; fund the purchasing of five computers for the newly created library; fund the purchase of a smart board for the blended preschool classroom

Belton High School Freshman Center – fund a comprehensive health education class with hands on curriculum that will focus on hygiene, healthy eating, substance abuse, exercise, stress, and other health topics

Scott Elementary School – fund the purchase of hands on curriculum to assist with counting money, telling time, measuring, and comparing and estimating

Yeokum Middle School – fund the purchase of classroom performance systems

Deaf and Hard of Hearing Program – fund the purchase of three video cameras and blank DVDs in order to enhance the educational achievement of deaf students; teachers will videotape themselves signing instructions and study materials so that students can better prepare for tests and complete homework assignments successfully









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