2021 Ellison Education Grant Recipients

The Ellison Foundation is happy to announce the 2021 recipients of the “Ellison Education Grants”. The foundation funded 15 grants worth $75,000.

Eric Adam – La Conner Elementary – La Conner School

DistrictProject Title: “Working with 3d Dimensions 
Eric will introduce students at his school and district to 3-D design solutions. He will purchase a “Boss Laser LS-1416” printer and the supplies to support it. Students will use the laser cutting and engraving machine as a tool to transform the technology lab by allowing students to solve 3-D dimensional problems.

Beth Conrath – Sunset Elementary – Cheney School District

Project Title: “Third Grade Math Project”
Students at Sunset Elementary need access to tools that provide practice and use of concrete hands-on tiles to build and understand number relationships. 53% of her students are one grade behind in math and 28% of students are two grades behind. “Place value” is where her students need the most help. The purchase and use of “KP Ten-Frame Tiles” provide students the ability to make significant progress in their understanding of number relationships. In addition, two teachers will participate in professional development to use the tiles in  the upcoming school year.

Stacy Dzbenski – Lutacaga Elementary – Othello School District

Project Title: “Cardboard Construction”
Stacy is the Librarian and Media Specialist for Lutacaga Elementary. She is a “STEM “specialist who emphasizes design thinking and “Project Based Learning” opportunities. She’ll  address the gap between drawing a product and the ability to create a prototype with working parts. The school will purchase 10 “MakeDo Invention Kits” and supplies to focus on this issue. The kits will allow students to address the gap between drawing a product and creating a prototype with working parts.

Alia Eraky – Sarah J Anderson Elementary – Vancouver School District

Project Title: “Imagine Española for Dual Language Classrooms”
Alia and team want to address the need for Spanish language resources for kindergarten dual language classes. 80% of their instruction is in Spanish and the dual language program has lacked quality Spanish Language resources. The school will purchase the “Imagine Espanol” platform and materials to support literacy instruction to support their schools’ youngest learners.

Holly Finkbeiner – Wilson Creek Elementary – Wilson Creek School District

Project Title: “STEM for Students”
STEM is drastically lacking at Wilson Creek a small rural school in Eastern Washington.The digital divide has only become more obvious for our students due to the pandemic. Educating students in computer science and coding skills will allow Wilson Creek students to keep pace with their academic peers. By purchasing “Ozobots, Sphero Bolt Power Packs, Code Mats and the supplies to support these new tools, they hope to give our students the best chance for success.

Laura Hall – Rochester Middle School – Rochester School District

Project Title: “Dyslexia Challenges for Middle School Students”
At Rochester Middle School there is a need for a systematic, research-based curriculum that tackles the challenges special ed students face with phonemic awareness and phonological deficits. In middle school, targeted interventions are based around vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension. Unfortunately, we are not supporting our students who need explicit intervention in foundational reading skills and phonemic awareness. The district will purchase the “Wilson Reading System” for middle schoolers to connect and continue with what they’ve worked on in elementary school.

Rachel Harrington – Haller Middle School – Arlington School District

Project Title: “Outdoor Classroom”
Physical space and engagement are two areas of concern in education, especially since the pandemic. Haller Middle School will create an open-air space on school grounds to support outdoor science learning. Especially for science, there is no better environment then the outdoors to learn. Being able to break the routine and structure of a classroom opens a myriad of possibilities. Construction will begin this spring on an outdoor classroom.

Brock Hurt – Pioneer Middle School – Wenatchee School District

Project Title: “6th Grade Computer Science”
Pioneer M.S. will introduce computer science to 6th graders during the 2021 – 2022 school year. “Computer Science for Innovators and Makers” curriculum will be taught through “Project Lead the Way”.  Washington State does not provide funding to introduce 6th graders to computer science. By providing a rigorous foundational science course earlier, we will expose more students to STEM and experience challenging and rewarding learning opportunities.

Christina Jones – Pinewood Elementary

Project Title: “Intermediate Reward Phonics Program”
49% of current 3rd grade students at Pinewood are 1 to 2 grade levels behind on their school reading based on the  February 2021 “I-Ready” assessments. Students need stronger skills especially to read unknown vocabulary words. Teachers at Pinewood will help students de-code multisyllabic words by using the “Rewards Program” designed specifically for 4th and 5th grade students.

Jordan Kimmerly – Orondo Middle School – Orondo School District

Project Title: “STEM Enrichment”
To prepare students for high school, Orondo Teachers want to expose students to additional STEM opportunities to ensure a successful transition to high school. Students at Orondo have their choice of attending one of three school districts for high school.  It is critical that they are prepared for every STEM opportunity regardless of the district they choose. Orondo will work with the Washington States 4-H office to provide in school instruction allowing teachers the teachers at Orondo to create greater STEM engagement.

Michelle Mahitka – Kelso High School – Kelso High School

Project Title: “Tiny Highlanders Pre-School
Kelso High School is creating an in-school pre-school program based on a successful model at Evergreen High School (Highline School District). Kelso currently has a “Child Development” class and “Tiny Highlanders” would provide an invaluable firsthand opportunity to observe and participate in the development stages of children 3–5-years old. The new pre-school will be operational this fall.

Stephanie Morehouse – Fort Colville Elementary – Colville School District

Project Title: “Reading Foundations”
Stephanie is the reading interventionist at Fort Colville Elementary. Fort Colville will address the reading needs of non-IEP students who do not have a solid foundation for decoding words. The school will purchase “Schoolwide’s Foundational Skills” for their RTI program. The program is research based and provides a balanced literacy framework using shared texts. Their focus will be on print concepts, phonics, word recognition and fluency.

Teresa Reid – Cascade Elementary – Kennewick School District

Project Title: “Kindergarten Reads”
The kindergarten learning plan for next year will again focus on letter naming, letter sounds and sight word recognition. Cascade will purchase the “Reading A-Z” curriculum to be used during the 2021 -2022 school year. Although the “Reading A-Z” curriculum is new to the school and staff, Teresa has successfully used it in her prior school. The curriculum has been especially effective with ELL students.

Jane Thom – Monte Cristo Elementary – Granite Falls School District

Project Title: “Ignite the Learning”
Jane is a special education teacher in the Granite Falls School District. She works primarily with high needs pre-school students including those who are deaf and blind. Granite Falls will offer students a touch device with the downloaded application “Ignites” by Hatch. It allows students to play educational games to improve their academic skills. The results of these games can be tracked to assess a student’s progress.

Janet Ward – Bridgeport Elementary – Bridgeport School District

Project Title: “Pre-school Update”
Janet is the preschool/ECAP coordinator for the Bridgeport School District. Much of the materials and equipment the pre-school currently uses is outdated and or broken. As a result, Bridgeport will purchase new equipment and materials for the pre-school classrooms. They will focus on updating their library, outdoor equipment, and classroom resources.