Teacher Grants Making a Difference

In March of last year, the Belton Educational Foundation awarded over $29,000 in teacher grants for various innovative programs. Last month, several members of the Foundation Board of Trustees, along with Executive Director, Krista Watkins, visited a few of the classrooms who received grants to see teachers and students in action, and how the new programs are being implemented.

JasmineBrothersKentucky Trail Elementary kindergarten teacher, Jasmine Brothers, received a grant for $1,763 to purchase Reading Mentors, a hands-on electronic device that engages students in developing early reading skills such as building letter recognition, letter sounds, and creating sight words. Since implementing the devices at the beginning of the year, student proficiency for letter sounds increased from 10% to 63% by the end of second quarter. The devices are also used in a small group setting for students to learn specific skills. The results showed an marked increase in proficiency with letter sounds. According to Ms. Brothers, the most improvement has been with mastering sight words. With the devices, students are able to put sight words together, see the word, and hear it through the Reading Mentor, which has led to an engaging and more hands on type of learning that benefits many of her students.

Kentucky Trail Elementary librarian, Bethany Villaverde and computer lab teacher, Matthew Garrison, received a grant for OSMO iPad game systems, which uses technology to enhance learning in such areas as spelling, logical thinking, math, and engineering for grades K-4. Students are able to use these devices during library time in what is called Maker Spaces, different stations where students can “make” different things as a hands-on learning experience.KTVillaverde

“The OSMO devices have definitely increased the students’ engagement,” said Villaverde. “They are able to work independently at their own pace and self-check their own work.” As they progress through activities, more difficult levels and tasks are unlocked so students are constantly challenged as they increase their skill level and confidence. “We are so thankful for the grant that allowed us to purchase the OSMO systems. They are used daily and we look forward to using them for many years to come”.

Funding for programs like these would not be possible without the generous support of our donors. Thanks to their contributions, we are able to continue our mission to provide funding that enriches educational opportunities to maximize the learning potential of every student in the Belton School District.

More classroom grant updates to come! Stay tuned!

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