Bullard Education Foundation awards nearly $38K in innovative grants to BISD

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Members of the Bullard Education Foundation, as well as Bullard Independent School District officials, teamed up together to form a “prize patrol,” as BEF awarded a total of 16 innovative teaching grants totaling almost $38,000 to teachers at all seven Bullard ISD campuses Wednesday, Nov, 29.

“This is my most favorite day as a BEF member,” said Erin Thiem, BEF president. “We do a lot of great things throughout the school year, but actually seeing this money go to the teachers is very amazing. These grants go to fund innovative teaching grants often not included in the school’s budget. Each year, the teachers do a lot of research into finding new and upcoming ways to reach their students. To be able to give them the funding necessary to bring these innovative ideas to Bullard ISD is something truly special.”

BEF awarded a total of $37,920.29 through grants provided to 16 Bullard ISD teachers and teacher groups. The grant money will go to assist the education and projects of students in the teacher’s respective classes. Teachers also received a variety of gifts from BEF, including a Captain America-themed cookie, keeping with the organization’s theme of Superheroes.

According to Thiem, BEF received a total of 37 grant applications from Bullard ISD teachers this year, which then were critiqued by a panel of judges.

The BEF grants are based on a scoring system, with judges blindly scoring each grant, having no idea which teacher is involved with the projects. As the grants are judged, the grading process is based on the acronym “G-R-A-N-T”, with categories of general description, resources needed/budget, a new way to do things, number of students affected, and timeline.

After comparing and contrasting the scores on the grant applications, the projects are granted funding based on the organization’s finances.

The Bullard ISD campus receiving the most money in BEF funding this year is Bullard High School, which had a total of four grants fully funded at a cost of $14,108.85.

A grant in the amount of $3,206.65 was presented to BHS teachers Meagan Harris and Tammy Griffith for their Tower Garden project, a vertical garden that only uses water and balancing PH levels for plants to grow. Students will be able to use their math, science agriculture, cooking , and record and data keeping skills in the project, with different classes being placed in charge of different aspects of the garden, from balancing PH levels collecting data, researching different types of produce to grow, and using produce grown in recipes.

BHS health science teachers Bethany Carroll, Whitney Scruggs, and Amy McKeethan were presented with a BEF check totaling $5,000 for their Innovation with Medical Stimulation project, allowing students to have a more advanced simulation of real world examples in their health science classes. The funds will go towards purchasing a Nursing Anne SimPad capable manikin that has many different real life capabilities, from making noises to being able to be filled with fluids for many different procedures, providing a full range of motion for realistic patient handing experience.

BEF also presented a check to BHS robotics teacher Jenni Smith in the amount of $903.22, which will fund her Engineering with Arduinos project, providing students a new way to learn robotics and engineering, as well as an opportunity to code using higher level programs and expand their knowledge in robotic design.

The BHS agriculture department, consisting of Monty Main, Charlotte Main, and Jessica Ramsey, received a BEF grant check in the mount of $4,998.98 to provide funding for the department’s Paws for a Cause project, including a dog groom station to supplement the newly created BHS veterinary medical program, affording students the chance to build skills necessary to gain employment in the veterinary and animal science industry.

Bullard Elementary School received the second-most funding on the BEF Grant Day, claiming a total of $6,299.59, funding four innovative grants.

BES teachers Brandy Swinney and Amanda Daigle received a check from BEF totaling $1,847.17 for their Rigby Reading Kit project, which will bring date driven instruction to the campus. The grant will allow teachers to find the instructional and independent reading level of all third and fourth grade students.

BEF presented a check in the amount of $538.20 to BES teacher Amy Burrow for her Bouncing Thru Our Day project. The funds will be used to provide bouncy bands at each desk in the classroom, helping students who struggle with forms of anxiety, ADHD, ADD, or through daily life frustrations. Students will be able to wiggle at their desks while they work, without disrupting others.

A grant in the amount of $683.08 was gifted by BEF to BES teacher Heather Seib, fully funding her Flexible Seating Wobble Stools project. According to the grant application, the wobble seating will give students the ability to move without losing focus and distracting those around them.

The BES teacher group consisting of Teresa Green, Jane Hall, Angela Naumann, Ashley Oliver, and Lisa Seaton was presented with a BEF grant check totaling $3,231.14 for their Full Steam Ahead project, using literature to drive STEAM activities within the classroom. Students can explore and create based on literature using the same ideas and principles behind the campus’s STEAM lab. Funding will provide many new book and supplies needed for building, designing and creating.

Bullard Middle School finished third in BEF Grant Day funding this year, cashing in on two grant projects totaling $5,114.81.

The largest grant on the BMS campus was awarded to Principal Kenley Dover, receiving a BEF check in the amount of $4,156.26 for his Beyond the Concrete Walls project, which will provide an outdoor classroom atmosphere allowing students to learn in a non-traditional setting.

BMS physical education teacher Vanessa Dockter also was presented with a grant check from BEF for $958.55, allowing for complete funding of her Physical Education is Fun at BMS project. The funds will be used to supplies for the department’s supply closet that allow students to engage in physical activities while having fun, and adding more cross curriculum into physical education in a positive way.

Bullard Intermediate School received a total of three grants fully funded by BEF’s grant check, as the campus received a total of $4,550.85.

The biggest grant on the BIS campus funded by BEF was the GPS to Discover the World We Live In project proposed by BIS teacher Cindy Browning. In the project, the grant will provide handheld GPS units, going beyond teaching students about latitude and longitude, teaching students to understand that each place in the world has a specific location. Students will be able to learn outside the classroom by exploring and using real world examples.

BIS’s second-largest grant belonged to science teacher Kenya Johnson, who was awarded a BEF grant check totaling $959.20 for her It’s Electrifying project, allowing students to explore how electrical energy is transferred through circuits, learning and discovering several science concepts and processes through self directed inquiry and hands-on learning.

BEF’s final grant to the BIS campus was given to Sharla Rounsavall, fully funding her From Nonsense to Number Sense project, totaling $309.53. The grant is designed to meet the needs of “at-risk “ students, allowing them to have a sense of what numbers mean, understanding the relationship with numbers, being able to perform mental math, and using those numbers for problem solving in real world situation.

Bullard Primary School teachers Stacey Reschke and Rachael Rogers were presented with a $3,086.36 innovative grant from BEF for their Intervention Saves the Day projects for first through sixth grade students. The grant’s funding is a dyslexia intervention program using multi-sensory learning, involving two or more of the senses within the same activity.

The lone grant received at the Bullard Early Childhood campus was awarded to PPCD teacher Stacey Odom, in the amount of $2,987.30, paying for balance bikes and helmets for students, helping PPCD students to learn to use both sides of their brains simultaneously.

Bullard ISD’s PRIDE Academy, represented by Jody Allen, Shelia Jones, and Suzette Martin, also received a BEF grant in the amount of $1,752.53, funding the campus’s Brain Breaks and Stress Relief for Motivation and Success project. Through he BEF funding, the project will provide many brain break resources such as puzzles, games, art supplies, DVDs, stress balls, and physical fitness equipment to allow students to take a break from the curriculum and refocus before getting back to work. The resources will also help the students with social interaction amongst their peers.

According to Bullard ISD officials, the BEF Grant Day is considered a special event district-wide, with the district’s teachers often shocked when their grants are awarded.

“Bullard ISD is always excited for the BEF Grant Day event,” said Laura Jones, Bullard ISD Communications Specialist. “We’re so appreciative of the hard work BEF puts in year-round to be able to provide funding for grants for our teachers in the fall. It’s a day we all anticipate, and we love seeing the shock and awe on the faces of our teachers when they receive a grant. We’re so grateful BEF has donated their times, energy, and funds to provide our students with innovative teaching methods.”

The next big event for the BEF organization will be the second annual BEF Color Glow Run, to be held Friday, March 30, 2018, across the Bullard ISD school district. The event will make its return after a successful event in 2017.

“It’s our second year to host the Color Glow Run,” said Thiem. “It went over really well last year, and we’re looking forward to another great event. We already have planning underway, with a team working on the run’s route and color. It’s a great event for the entire family.”

Since its founding in 2009, BEF has awarded almost $370,000 in innovative teaching grants, student and teacher recognitions, and college scholarships to Bullard ISD.

For more information about BEF, visit www.bullardeducationfundation.org.

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