2019 Ellison Education Grant Recipients

The Ellison Foundation is happy to announce the 2019 recipients of the “Ellison Education Grants”.  The foundation funded thirteen grants worth $51,100.

George Barlow – Cheney High School – Cheney School District

Project Title: “Farmville High School”
Students often have a difficult time seeing interconnectedness of biology and view it as a series of separate, unrelated units they learn, test on, and forget once the next unit begins. “Farmville – High School will run throughout freshman year and connect all their science units together. Students will be divided into “teams” and be given an aquarium that belongs to them throughout the year.  Students will then earn “money” to turn aquariums into functioning hydroponic growing operations.  Their “money” is earned based on day to day class responsibilities and their ability to complete them in a successful manner.  They can also lose resources if they do not complete classwork in a timely manner.

Mitchell Bell – Cle Elum Roslyn High School – Cle Elum Roslyn School District

Project Title: “Environmental Science Investigation”
Seniors don’t currently have a science class that prepares them for direct entry to the workforce or a Career Technical Education certificate. Mitchell Bell will attend CASE (Curriculum for Agricultural Science Education) training program in Iowa to develop the “Agricultural Science” program at Cle Elum Roslyn High School.  CASE provides a high level of educational experiences to enhance the rigor and relevance of agriculture, food and natural resources subject manner. The goal is to better prepare non-college bound students for the local work force and or trade schools.   

Bill Bertram – Knolls Vista Elementary – Moses Lake School District

Project Title: “Rocketry 101”
Fourth grade students will extend their learning of “Energy” to include the sources, movement and change of energy associated with the successful construction, flight and recovery of low power “hobby” model rockets.  Students will take a hands-on approach when using tools, supplies and guidance to build rockets and successfully launch them under adult supervision. Students will immerse themselves in science, technology, engineering, art and math during a four-month winter long after-school program exploring model rocketry.

Lori Brown – Jennings Elementary – Colfax School District

Project Title: “Math is Fun, Math is Play”
The math committee’s goal at Jennings Elementary is to develop a love of math for all students. They want to promote problem solvers in the form of mathematicians that can persevere and apply math skills through the use and interaction of games and puzzles. Research shows that math applied through games and puzzles sticks with students as opposed to only rote memory.  Each member of Jennings Elementary from the struggling student needing extra attention to highly capable students needing new challenges will benefit.

Alex Emerson – Roosevelt Elementary – Yakima School District

Project Title: “Breakfast Bites and Books”
Roosevelt Elementary has a high poverty population and academic achievement rates are not where the staff would like them. Unfortunately, families demonstrate low involvement regarding communication, returning forms and homework.  This proposal is to increase and improve family engagement in their child’s education. Teachers will provide opportunities for families to come into the classroom to read and enjoy a light breakfast with their child and other families. The sessions will be informal so that families can build relationships with the teacher and feel comfortable in a classroom setting.  In addition to the light breakfast, families will receive books to take home to read with their child.

Sarah Gerhardt – Shorewood Elementary – Highline School District

Project Title: “Integrate Everything”
The academic needs of my students are problem solving, executive function, motivation, organization and attendance.  I hope to build an excitement to learn by integrating multiple subjects, so their learning isn’t isolated, disconnected and perceived as unimportant.  Sarah will purchase a SAMLabs STEAM Course Kit and integrate it into her weekly lesson plans. The use of this kit enhances what she’s has already begun by connecting academic enrichment and positive behavior into her classroom.

Cheryl Hendricks – Ridgecrest Elementary – Puyallup School District

Project Title: “Math Fact Fluency and Academic Achievement”
The basic academic need for most of their students is math fluency. In 2017 students’ grade-level math pass rate was 52.5%.  After implementing the “Reflex Math” program in 2018 the grade-level math pass rate went to 75%.  As a result of this grant we will implement “Reflex Math” throughout the entire school.  “Reflex Math” is a more rigorous then current math curriculum and provides multiple reward systems to reinforce student effort and accomplishment. Each student works on their own lessons at their own pace. The hope is to have similar results in all classrooms and secure future funding from the Puyallup School District. 

Michelle Hornoff – Cordata Elementary – Bellingham School District

Project Title: “Phonics Power”
Students arrive each year with great expectations.  Unfortunately, school data shows less than half of incoming Kindergarten students will end the year with essential phonics skills which are the foundation of reading and writing.  K-2 teachers at Cordata do not currently have a systematic phonics program to address this need.  As a result, the “Units of Study in Phonics” will be implemented in K-2 classrooms for the 2019 – 2020 school year. “Units of Study” are comprehensive and address all aspects of foundational word study needed for reading and writing that include concepts about print, phonological awareness, letter knowledge, word knowledge, phonics and high frequency words.    

Jaime Kaiser – Riverbend Elementary – Central Valley School District

Project Title: “Reading Comes Alive Through Augmented Reality”
Only half of entering Kindergartners at Riverbend Elementary are ready developmentally.  “Letters Alive Plus” will be introduced into each Kindergarten classroom with the goal of increasing the number of students who are developmentally ready for 1st grade and beyond.  “Letters Alive Plus” is an award-winning supplemental curriculum incorporating evidence based best practices to teach letters, letter sounds, word building and sentence building using a 3D augmented reality world filled with animals.  Students will hear, see, touch, build and speak while enjoying a positive experience proven to boost reading proficiency and knowledge retention. 

Lois Noble – Spanaway Middle School – Bethel School District

Project Title: “Expanding STEM Enrichment Through CTE”
In working to alleviate barriers for students to thrive, Lois Noble and her colleagues have sought to create “relevant” curriculum to engage students on a deeper level.  The focus in 2019 – 2020 is to create STEM focused opportunities to engage more students and families.  In addition to STEM family nights and SkillsUSA Club (after school STEM activities) they will create an after-school coding class specifically for sixth graders.  The grant will fund professional development for two teachers and technology that will be used by students throughout the year.

Randy Rice – Wilson Middle School – Yakima School District

Project Title: “Horticulture Enhancement via Onsite Habitat”
Our students need increased opportunities for “hands-on” learning. A garden center was built at the school and is ready for growth and the purchase of additional materials. Materials will include a larger greenhouse that will allow students to grow plants 10 months out of the year. Our garden center teaches students about ecosystems, greenhouse effect, plant lifecycles, soil nutrients and is on the forefront of “Next Generation Science Standards”. The garden center is currently used by multiple teachers covering many disciplines at Wilson.

Christine Urakawa – Selah Middle School – Selah School Distrcit

Project Title: “Tier 3 Social Skills”
Our goal is to address the negative impact the challenging behavior of students has on classmates and their own learning development. There are several students that struggle with behavior in classrooms and group environments. Funds will be used for the professional development of teachers using “Quest Program II Social Skills” and “Skillstreaming the Adolescent” curriculum. It would allow for training of key staff and assessing supplies needed to carry out new interventions. In order to increase the effectiveness of our interventions, we will work towards all staff being oriented to the model and ensuring they have ready access to needed tools.