Check It Out!

Teaching is not easy.
written by: Steve Riso
LC Foundation Board member

Looking over books funded through the Lewis Central Education Foundation Classroom Grant program   are student Kylee Dunphy, LC Middle School seventh grade science teacher Kelly Carr and students Evie   LeMaster and Dalton Van Winkle. The Foundation provides grants of up to $500 each to help teachers   meet the needs of students beyond what the regular school budget provides.





















Looking over books funded through the Lewis Central Education Foundation Classroom Grant program are student Kylee Dunphy, LC Middle School seventh grade science teacher Kelly Carr and students Evie LeMaster and Dalton Van Winkle. The Foundation provides grants of up to $500 each to help teachers meet the needs of students beyond what the regular school budget provides.

How our educators can keep students of varying rates of learning engaged all at the same time is a testament to their skills and the resources they have to employ.

Kelly Carr, Lewis Central Middle School 7th grade science teacher, tackles that challenge every day. And like many of her fellow teachers, Ms. Carr has a found a friend in the Lewis Central Community School District Education Foundation.
Founded in 1984, the foundation administers and/or provides scholarships for LC grads to pursue post-secondary education. While that helps students after they leave the LC campus, the foundation takes just as seriously improving the quality of education inside Lewis Central schools walls.
That is where Foundation Classroom Grants come in. Twice a year, the Foundation awards up to $500 grants to individual teachers to assist innovative educational opportunities. Between spring and fall grants, up to $6,000 in funds are made available, assuming resources allow. (More information at: Lewis Central Foundation )

Ms. Carr knows that it is important to meet each student where they are. Some students might not move along as fast as others or have different interest while studying in the same discipline. So she asked the foundation for $500 in books so her students could latch on to more customized learning opportunities. “Kelly also realizes that our standards demand our teachers to focus on literacy across disciplines and to infuse more non-fiction reading opportunities into lessons,” said Kim Jones, the district’s Curriculum and Instruction Coordinator. 

Books that Ms. Carr selected address a number of topics and differ in style. “This enables me to handpick books for students,” Ms. Carr said adding that without the grant money that process would be much more difficult. Some specialized books might be available through the Area Education Agency but are not as easily accessible to strike while a student’s interest might be up.

The foundation is reasserting the grant program as one of its top priorities and wants two important groups to know that—L.C. teachers and the public.

Frankie Parrott, who is finishing up a term as foundation president, said that the foundation wants the entire district staff to be more aware of the program so teachers will be challenged to innovate. And with the grant program’s potential growth, financial contributions from the public will be critical.

Topics received by Ms. Carr’s class this year include areas such as nuclear energy, reducing carbon footprint, the water cycle and the human impact on technology. “These books make for a more enriched classroom,” she said.

One such book appeals to students with more advanced reading levels. Its subject is as varied as the learners it invites. “The Violinist’s Thumb and other lost tales of love, war and genius as written by our genetic code” provides insight in how the DNA genetic code can be traced back deep into history.

Author Sam Kean, uses entertaining stories from history to illustrate stories that show how the study of DNA reveals much of human history and behavior.

In the title theme from the book, Niccolo Paganini was a renowned 19th century violinist who was “so gifted he had to shake off rumors his whole life that he’d sold his soul to Satan for his talent.” Kean writes. “It turns out Paganini had made a pact with a subtler master, his DNA”.

Kean says that Paganini had a genetic disorder that gave him “freakishly flexible fingers. His connective tissues were so rubbery he could pull out his pinkie sideways to form a right angle with the rest of his hand. He could stretch out his hands abnormally wide, an incomparable advantage when playing the violin.” This genetic disorder was in his genetic code passed down to him and on to his descendants.

And so it is that this book keeps some of the students at the top of the learning curve, other topics reach others in different ways. That flexibility would be harder to obtain without the timely financial boost given by the Education Foundation.

Asked how she learned about the availability of classroom grants, Ms. Carr said it was brought to teachers’ attention during a science content meeting conducted by Ms. Jones who is also a member of the foundation’s board of directors.
Ms. Carr said she would definitely encourage more teachers to apply and for members of the public to continue to contribute monetarily to the foundation.

Other teachers who have received grants in the last year and their focus include:
  • Trudy Kimble: Content specific text to support reading within the Language Arts content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Ron Frascht: Content specific text to support reading within the Language Arts content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Susie Jones: Content specific text to support reading within the Language Arts content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Ryan Barker: Content specific text to support reading within the Social Studies content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Ryan Burk: Content specific text to support reading within the Social Studies content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Tracie Meyer: Content specific text to support reading within the Special Education Mathematics content area, Lewis Central Middle School;
  • Carrie Johnson: 2 grants to support grades 2/3 and 4/5 Special Education literacy programs with leveled readers at Lewis Central’s Titan Hill Intermediate;
  • Michelle Schaefer: Equipment to enhance Daily 5, a structure supporting literacy, Lewis Central’s Kreft Primary;
  • Sue Wattenbarger: Books to include in Heartland Food Bank bags at Lewis Central’s Kreft Primary.
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