Wayland Union Foundation Innovation grants announced

The Wayland 1450337_238829402948475_162483171_nUnion Education Foundation has announced the 2015-16 Innovation Grant awards totaling $3,260.

Also announced are the first annual Principal Innovation Awards, granted in the amount of $9,000.

The following staff members were selected to receive a grant:

Aleisa Licari – Dorr Elementary third grade teacher, was awarded The Storia School Digital Library, which will be used in conjunction with the classroom sets of iPads now available in the elementary buildings. The goal is to use this resource with students during classroom instruction across the curriculum and give them access to a digital bookshelf to use at home. This program is a customizable e-book library that maintains a record of reading progress.

Betty Onopa – Dorr Elementary PE teacher – requested the ability to incorporate yoga into her elementary PE classes. This award will impact all students K-4. Yoga is beneficial to all students, but has been found to be particularly so for kids with special needs. Yoga sites were researched specifically for children, and there were also some YouTube videos that will help with instruction. She was awarded a budget to purchase 30 yoga mats, Lysol wipes and yoga cards.

Scott Hall – Pine Street Elementary PE teacher – was awarded monies to create a CatZone, which is based on ‘JumpZone’ at Washington Street Elementary in Otsego. The CatZone will be an exercise room for Pine Street students to use. Finding new and innovative ways for kids to exercise is a very important objective. Former students who are Art majors have volunteered to paint fitness murals on the walls. All Pine Street students will benefit from this for years to come.

Cheryl Wilson – K-12 teacher technology consultant (all buildings) was awarded “On Demand Video Professional Development” for staff. The goal is to create an on-demand video collection of current professional development sessions offered during the school year. Staff will be able to access these on their own time schedule, as needed. Current flexible professional development is offered as an after school session. Many teachers have scheduling conflicts. On-demand video will be create with support of a tech tool called Swivl. Professional Development sessions will be recorded and the on-demand videos created will be useful tools for years to come.

Principal Innovation Grants were awarded to Middle School Principal Carolyn Whyte and Baker Elementary Principal Celeste Diehm, totaling $9,000.

The middle school grant will improve academic study skills, employability skills and career readiness skills though research based strategies and personal experiences. A survey was completed of students on current advisory programming. A committee will be formed to review different programs and then create an action plan. One of the possibilities discussed would be a Career Day, where outside agencies and parents would come and expose students to new professions.

The request granted to Baker Elementary will incorporate all buildings. The goal is to increase parent involvement by bringing them into the schools. It will provide academic resources and information for use in the homes, and will communicate school improvement initiatives to parents. This grant will provide parents with supplemental materials and refreshments for meetings. Tentatively, the plan is to have 12 Workshops between October and May, which will then be evaluated by having parents fill out a survey. Attendance will be monitored and compared to previous years.

Award recipients will provide the Wayland Union Education Foundation with updates and photos throughout the year as to the success of their awards.

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  • The Wayland Union Education Foundation has been providing grants, scholarships and academic support to students and staff at WUS since 1990. This funding is only possible through private contributions by area residents and businesses and WUS alumni. It has been my pleasure to serve as Treasurer of the organization for several years. Look for more on WUEF through the website.

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