Awards grants for 2012-2013 school year

The A+ for Mexico Education committee recently awarded $25,556.70 to Mexico schools for extra classroom items and teaching supplies. There were 33 applications for the mini-grants with 21 of them being approved for either full or partial funding. Mexico Public Schools received $24,411.14 and St. Brendan Catholic School received $1,145.56
More than $400,000 has been awarded to the Mexico Schools since A+, a non-profit organization, began awarding annual grants in 1991. Designed to provide private support for Mexico schools, the funding comes entirely from generous donations by individuals, businesses and foundations through a spring fundraising campaign.
The following grants were recommended for funding for the 2012-13 school year: (**indicates partial funding)

Early Childhood Center
Interactive Story Buddies for Emerging Readers – Teresa Freyer
Department – Early Childhood Center
One of the most effective ways to guide children into becoming stronger readers is to read aloud to them every day. When we do so it provides a connection between speech and print, increases attention span, helps children develop strong vocabularies and provides enjoyment in reading. In a classroom which already has an iPad, the interactive materials help young children get excited about reading.

Eugene Field Elementary
Critique Me! – Jennifer Shoemaker
Department – Music
Camera will be used by students to distinguish between a quality and non-quality performance as well as during stage productions. In preparing for stage productions it will be used to critique stage presence, diction, movement and choreography. Teachers will be able to record lessons and students will be able to watch themselves and analyze their own performances.

Teach With Technology – Christine Alexander
Department – 2nd Grade
Incorporating technology in the classroom, the use of an iPad will make it possible to be mobile while teaching students reading, math, social studies, science and even writing. There are many educational apps available, including children's books available for downloading that can be shared with the students. The use of the iPad along with a projector that is already available will help both the visual and tactile learners and make learning more exciting.

**Conscious Discipline Feeling Buddies Self-Regulation Tool Kit – Amy Auwarter
Department – Guidance Counselor
Many young children are missing the No. 1 skill needed to be successful in school: self-regulation. With the help of a National Certified Conscious Discipline Consultant, the program will help teach children the skills needed to prevent meltdowns and inattentiveness in a classroom setting. It will help the students be ready to start their learning day.

McMillan Elementary
**Teaching With Technology – Sue Nixon, Megan Rice and Melissa Holman
Department – 1st, 2nd, Computer Lab
The objective is to enhance learning for all students by allowing interactive lessons to take place. The SmartBoard technology will be used to increase student attention while focusing on reading, math, science, spelling, etc.

Wilson Fluency Program-Valerie White
Department - Special Education
Wilson Fluency is designed to provide explicit fluency instruction and reading practice to develop the application of skills with connected text. It provides extended reading passages of 200-250 words each to give students the focused practice that helps increase fluency and comprehension.

i-Ready STAMS Intervention Program – Valerie White
Department – Special Education
The STAMS Book Collection improves students' mathematics competency by focusing on key foundational math skills. It is ideal for students who need extra support to meet grade-level math requirements.

Just Right Time – Valerie White
Department – Special Education
Sometimes children have difficulty functioning in a regular classroom setting. These children often do not have a behavior problem, but they often have a hard time processing the huge amount of sensory input that they are being bombarded with. This grant would allow the district to provide these students with sensory devices and materials what will allow them to control the sensory input they receive. It will also teach students how to react sensory input appropriately.

Mexico Middle School
Lego Mindstorm Robotics Education Kits – Jane Coatsworth
Department – Gifted Education
The robotics kits and software enable students to build and program real-life robotic solutions. Students work with the kits in small groups, so that each student has an opportunity to be a planner, builder, programmer, etc. The kits can also be used in a summer elective program as an introduction to robotics.

SMART Notebook Math Tools – Dave Bogdon
Department – Math
This is an add-on to SMART Notebook software that allows teachers to access math-specific tools and demonstrate math concepts more powerfully on the Smartboard. Students will be more engaged because lessons are made interactive.

Document Camera for Special Education Students – Mallory Brown
Department – Special Education
Document cameras can be connected to LCD projectors and SMARTboards to provide more engaging and interactive educational experiences for all students. The technology will also allow teachers to provide more effective teaching methods and allow their students the opportunities to share student projects with their peers.

"App"solutely Amazing Science – Dan Quinlan
Department – Science
When iPads are put in the hands of educators and students, they engage the user(s) with content in interactive ways and inspire creativity and hands-on learning. This grant will provide numerous educational apps for download on synced classroom set of iPads. Once the apps are purchased, they will be available for use by all students. The apps selected will meet the needs of all learners, targeting their learning styles and ability levels.

Mexico High School
**Student Broadcasting Network – Jami Williams
Department – Broadcast/Journalism
Students will be provided with hands-on learning opportunities, explore all aspects of broadcast journalism including writing, reports, filming, producing and editing. Students will produce a 30-minute newsmagazine every two weeks. They are in the process of working on a student film festival to be hosted at MHS in the 2013-2014 school year. The equipment will provide students with the skills needed for a career in journalism.

**Einsteins of the 21st Century – Gina Gilman
Department – Curriculum Facilitator for MPS
By providing the science department with laptops at work stations, the probes they currently use for experimentation can be plugged into the laptops and provide immediate data feedback while the lab is occurring. It will equip students with technology that will enhance their learning and understanding of content. Use of laptops will give students access to and experiences with technology in use in college labs and many areas of industry.

**I Read It, But I Don't Get It – Gina Gilman
Department – Curriculum Facilitator for MPS
The materials will be used in a Co-Teaching Model classroom setting where there are two teachers in the classroom with the use of the requested materials will focus on reading instruction for students that have a problem with reading comprehension and little confidence in their ability to succeed in reading. The materials will empower the students to become better readers, thus equipping them with strategies and tools that will enable them to develop the skills necessary to become confident reader.

**Firing-up Reading – Donna Troesser
Department – Special Education
The grant will provide emerging technology in the use of Kindle Fires that will help students with reading difficulties learn how to use reading strategies in a "new" way. The eReaders, have the ability to download books, apps and read stories to students. The device can highlight text and provide word definitions. It will increase students' reading ability, knowledge, literacy, and will allow students to work independently and be like their same age peers.

Hart Career Center
**Using Emerging Tablet Technology to Improve Technical Literacy – Sarah Gooch
Department – Business and Computer Applications
These tablets will be used to integrate the school's emphasis on technology literacy into the classrooms. New technology helps students to become engaged in the process of learning. The tablets will be used to create business documents using tables, graphics, spreadsheets, etc. into presentations for an audience, school project or business application. Knowledge gained by students will stimulate and reinforce critical 21st century skills in the area of technology literacy.

St. Brendan
Number Die Cuts – Sarah Thompson
Department – Preschool and Art
Ellison Prestige die cuts will be used by staff and students for bulletin boards, class projects, and poster making. It will be used to help preschool students identify numbers, letters and used for math activities.
Kid Friendly Writing – Tina Peery
Department – Kindergarten
When young children are beginning to learn about the writing process, they frequently are heard to say, "I don't know how to write." These materials will assist students in developing their skills. The materials will help build children's confidence in seeing themselves as writers, authors and readers and will instill a positive attitude toward writing and reading.

Picture This! – Cheryl Bledsoe
Department – Grades 5-8
Digital cameras will be utilized in various instructional activities and all subject areas to tell a story, to illustrate history, to study shapes, to document a process in science, etc. Use of the cameras in the classroom will provide the students, as well as the teachers the opportunity to enhance lesion throughout the year.

Classroom Management and Curriculum Enhancements – Vanessa Kerr
Department – 1st Grade
The materials selected will increase student interest and participation in literacy and math. They will also enable the teachers to select students to display their work and address the diverse group of learners.
Contributions are appreciated to support the local grant program, and can be sent to A+ for Mexico Education, P.O. Box 403 Mexico, MO 65265.