Princeton ISD administrators made their way across the district last week handing out big checks – literally. PISD used the oversized checks to announce to teachers they had won a teacher grant to fund special projects to be used in their classrooms.
Princeton ISD has been funding projects for several years. However, this is the first year the teachers were asked to submit proposals for this money.
“We think it is important to give this money every year to spark new ways to teach our students,” Superintendent Philip Anthony said.
“We are using this new format and encouraging teachers to apply for the funding because we don’t want to just make a blanket purchase of new iPads for every campus,” Anthony said. “When you spend money for every classroom to get the same thing, it gets boring for the students. Then every classroom does the same thing, and the students aren’t excited about a new way to reinforce learning because they are tired of it.”
This year, teachers were asked to submit proposals to explain how their project would benefit the students’ learning, as well as make an impact on the community. The first round of funding proposals was implemented this fall.
“When you give individual teachers the chance to compete for the money, we can select to fund different projects for varied instruction,” he said. “This is a way for us to support innovation in the classroom.”
This is just a formal process for teachers to request funding for innovative ideas. This fall the district is funding $30,000 in proposals. Money remains in the budget to fund an additional $50,000 in projects in the spring.
The district received 20 proposals this fall and funded 10.
“Typically, these will be awarded in the spring going forward,” Anthony said. “But we were excited about this idea and wanted to go ahead and get started. Now, other teachers will see how it works, so they will be motivated to seek funding for their innovative ideas. We expect an increase in proposals for the spring.”
There were a lot of excited teachers and students as administrators showed up to present the checks.
“The best part of this whole process is seeing the reactions of the teachers when they realize they are getting money to use in their classroom,” said Rene Mullins, assistant superintendent for elementary curriculum.
When Meghan Pappas’ and Jennifer Black’s math students found out they were getting an interactive projector, they clapped and cheered.
HVAC instructor Rusty Lormand shared the news his CATE students were getting a new commercial diagnosis system, they high-fived and passed the giant check around to pose for photos.
“That’s the reason we do this,” said Donald McIntyre, assistant superintendent for secondary curriculum. “That reaction. It’s great to see the faces of the students who will benefit from this money.”
Where the funds will be used:
- Secondary math department chairs Meghan Pappas, Perry Montgomery and Neal Stellpflug joined for a request to purchase the Countdown to Math program that provides preparation for the STAAR/EOC tests in small, manageable blocks that can be done during daily warmups.
It offers training to answer real-world math questions.
- Stacy Davis, Life Skills teacher at Huddleston, is getting a Moving Minds active learning center, which will accommodate students with sensory challenges, as well as providing structured activity breaks.
“These tools will help students with sensory challenges by increasing concentration and focus, while decreasing aggressive behaviors,” Davis said. “Students need to have strategies available so that they have impulse control, emotional regulations and smooth transitions and they can use these skills to regulate their behavior in their everyday life.”
- A new training simulator in the CATE Center will bring students up to the commercial level when it comes to diagnosing problems in an HVAC system.
“With 90 percent of our future technicians entering the commercial area of HVAC, this trainer will give us the opportunity to start developing this side of the industry into our shop,” Lormand said. “Currently, with the equipment in our shop, we are able to give them a good base knowledge in this area. This trainer will allow them to start developing their diagnostic skills in real-world scenarios.”
- Clark math teacher Jennifer Black will get a new interactive projector in her classroom.
“It will turn my white board into a computer screen which allows students to manipulate objects with their fingers or stylus in front of the room,” she said. “It will provide a more engaging classroom which results in more meaningful and memorable learning.”
- PHS math teacher Leroy Mansanales will have an iPad to operate the Doceri software that enables mobility in the classroom to ensure engagement during instruction.
“I will be able to create hand-drawn lessons, presentations and graphics,” Mansanales said. “Most students do not enjoy standing at the board in front of the classroom. With Doceri, I can pass the tablet to any student, allowing them to present to the whole classroom comfortably without performance pressure.”
- Because lead teacher Michelle McCord submitted a proposal, all the kindergarten classrooms at Smith will get iPads.
“Our daily life is filled with technology,” McCord said. “The learning styles and needs of young children require tactile, visual and auditory experiences. We would like to implement iPads as a learning device that can provide unique and rich learning experiences for this age group.”
- The Lacy kindergarten team will get assistance with assessment using ESGI software that cuts down the time it takes to complete valuable one-on-one assessment.
- PHS photography teacher Charles Herndon’s students will benefit from the addition of a new photo printer. This will enable them to enter contests to highlight their photographic talents.
- Sonia Lynch wrote a proposal for all AMI/ARI classrooms that now will receive document cameras and projectors.
By Jean Ann Collins • PISD Communications Coordinator • [email protected]
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