2014 Grant Recipients

Project Title: Scientific DrawingScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.59.06 PM
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Angell Elementary
Teacher(s): Sally Freeman and Enrichment Coordinator Mark Kelly
Amount Funded: $1,875

We are requesting grant funding to provide students in grades 3-5 with additional art classes to enable them to use scientific drawing to enhance the existing science curriculum. Scientific drawing is not a part of the basic elementary art curriculum. A fine arts teacher would provide 5 instructional periods per class, with a total of 25 classes for 5 classrooms. The classroom teachers would assist during instruction, so they would be able to reinforce and extend what was presented to students throughout the rest of the school year.

Project Title: Motor Moms and Dads
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Abbott Elementary and Dicken Elementary
Teacher: Angela Gusfa
Amount Funded: $880
The purpose of the Motor Moms and Dads program is to help children ages 3-7, gain the motor skills necessary for academic success. More and more children are coming to school having difficulty sustaining attention, sitting still, listening, and working with their hands and eyes. There is a direct relationship between motor skills, and a child’s readiness to learn in school (“Motor Moms and Dads”, 2014). Trained parent volunteers, outside of the classroom, run the Motor Moms and Dads program. The program allows for children to develop motor skills to ensure a good start in school. The Motor Moms and Dads program allows all children in a class to improve basic skills in two or three 5-minute sessions per week. Parent volunteers  work with 3-4 children at a time, supervising the children as they work their way  through six activity stations. This program is a cost effective way for parents to get  involved, and it helps to reduce early learning frustration and failure. The anticipated results of this program are that there will be less frequent referrals for behavior, calmer classrooms, higher achievement scores, and an overall improvement with gross, and fine motor motor skills.

There will be approximately 170 students participating in this program in the first year of implementation. The project started January 5, 2015. It will run through the last week of the 2014-2015 school year. Our plan is to continue to run the program every school year to follow.

Project Title: 1-2-3 Magic Parenting Program
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Bryant Elementary and Pattengill Elementary
Teacher: Elizabeth Elster
Amount Funded: $315
Parents of Bryant and Pattengill Elementary Schools students will have the opportunity to attend parenting skills classes, taught by the shared school social worker, utilizing the 1-2-3 Magic program. The school social worker will conduct three one-hour sessions, which will occur once per week for three consecutive weeks. The program will be offered to parents in the spring of 2015. The 1-2-3 Magic program offers parents a simple and effective approach to managing the behavior of 2 to 12-year olds, including children with special needs. The program focuses on three key areas: how to control obnoxious behavior, encourage good behavior and strengthen parent-child relationships. Parents will become skilled in controlling obnoxious behavior by learning a simple counting technique that can stop children from exhibiting unwanted behaviors, including whining, arguing and throwing temper tantrums. Parents will also become skilled in encouraging good behavior by learning several effective methods that will motivate children to exhibit positive behavior, including picking up after themselves, going to bed on time and finishing chores. Lastly, parents will be able to strengthen relationships that they have with their children by learning powerful techniques that reinforce the bond that they have with their children.

Results of a study published in the October 2003 issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, titled “Brief Psychoeducational Parenting Program: An  Evaluation and 1-Year Follow-up,” found that parents who received the intervention reported significantly greater improvement in parenting practices and a significantly greater reduction in child problem behavior than the control group, concluding that the 1-2-3 Magic program may be a useful first intervention for parents of young children with behavior problems.

Project Title: High Flying Books: High Interest Low Readability Non Fiction Text
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Dicken Elementary
Teacher(s): Jan Duncan and Eileen Thomas
Amount Funded: $365

We propose to update the Dicken media center collection with high interest low readability non-fiction texts. We have selected brightly illustrated, graphic format, informational books that align with 2nd to 5th grade science and social studies curriculum. These books would replace outdated books in poor condition, many of which are over 30 years old. The book sets would be purchased upon receipt of the grant and be added to the collection within this school year.

Project Title: Science Extravaganza
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Huron High (for Allen, Thurston, Logan, Carpenter, Mitchell & Pittsfield Elementary
Teacher(s): Jenni Wilkening, Andrew Collins, and Todd Newell
Amount Funded: $1,000
In the spring of 2001, the Huron Science Department conducted its first Science Extravaganza The Extravaganza is an opportunity for the high school science students to demonstrate their science understanding by teaching fifth grade students from Ann Arbor elementary schools.

Each year, on the first Friday that seniors are no longer in class, we host approximately 250 fifth grade students. The fifth graders are taken through a series of hands-on science stations. High school students host these stations.  Many of the students are seniors who have volunteerd to come in on their first free Friday of the year.  We have approximately 150 student volunteers each year.  Each year, we try to improve the experience by changing or adding stations.

Project Title: Building the Collection of Books for At-Risk Elementary students
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Haisley Elementary
Teacher(s): Kim McLean and Laura Sheets
Amount Funded: $300

The current library collection is lacking a sufficient selection of books for elementary at-risk students. As part of our School Improvement Plan, our primary goal as a Focus school is to close the achievement gap between our lowest performing students and our high achievers In addition, our goal is to help students meet the Common Core State Standard CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.10, which states that “By the end of the year, read and comprehend literature, including stories, dramas, and poetry, in the grades 4-5 text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as needed at the high end of the range.” Due to continuous cuts to the library budget, the collection has not been able to meet the demands of our expanding diverse population and increase in at-risk students. This grant will enable the library to provide books that support the literacy needs and interests of our at-risk students.

Project Title: 7th Grade Trip to Arab American National Museum/Dearborn
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Forsythe Middle
Teacher: Semra Koknar
Amount Funded: $1,000
The purpose of this field trip is to introduce students to the contributions and history of Americans of Arab descent in order to guide them in being knowledgeable about their community and country and to undermine stereotypes about Arabs and Arab-Americans. All 7th grade students will attend over two days. At the AANM in Dearborn, we break into small groups for a two-hour guided tour. We then go to Al-Ameer restaurant for a Lebanese family-style meal.

The students will return from the field trip with an appreciation of the sophistication of parts of the Arab world during the Middle Ages when Europe was comparatively backward. This alone would dispel some stereotypes. In addition, students will recognize the diversity of the Arab experiences and how Arab immigrants have enriched the political, economic and cultural landscape of the United States. Ideally, this will result in a more nuanced understanding of (and positive attitude toward) the Arab world and Arab Americans. Finally, the meal will introduce many students to Middle Eastern cuisine.

Project Title: Scarlett Middle School Science Dept. Greenhouse ProjectIMG_2246chirsty schneemilchRon Kaminskis
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Scarlett Middle and Mitchell Elementary
Teacher(s): Ron Kaminskis and Chirsty Schneemilch
Amount Funded: $2,783
The purpose of this proposal is to provide a fully functioning greenhouse at Scarlett Middle School. Scarlett Middle School has acquired funding from the Ann Arbor School District’s Sinking Millage Fund to update and repair the greenhouse that has been unusable in the last two decades. Since this project is set for completion in October of 2014, the Scarlett Middle School Science Department is seeking funding for materials to support and enhance the Science Curriculum at Scarlett Middle School and additionally the Mitchell Elementary School, which is also located on the same campus.

To have a fully functional greenhouse, the funding used for this project will be needed for plants, soil, seedlings and compostable materials. Other greenhouse materials needed are grow lights, light intensity meters, benches, shelves, shade cloths, fertilizer and thermometers. Gardening supplies such as gloves, hoses, watering cans, clay pots, hand held shovels will also be needed. Additionally, educational supplies such as books and materials for teacher lesson planning about plant growth and propagation would also be necessary.

The Scarlett Middle School Greenhouse will have an opportunity to provide enriched education by observing and experimenting with its own ecological system. This will have the benefit for both students of Scarlett Middle School and Mitchell Elementary School for grades Kindergarten through 8th grade. The students may learn about nutrition, experiment with water movement, and life cycles of plants including seasonal and annual cycles of plant growth, climate change and pollination. The outcome of having a greenhouse in schools for students will increase the student’s knowledge base about ecological systems. It is the hopeful that students will grasp the content by having a firsthand experience.

Project Title: Boosting the A2 STEAM @ Northside Media Center
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): A2 STEAM @ Nothside
Teacher: Anne Reader
Amount Funded: $5,000
The purpose of this project is to take a step toward bringing the A2 STEAM @ Northside Media Center collection in line with its sudden population spike by increasing the number of offerings at the K-6 level. The school opened its doors this fall as an elementary/middle school with 406 students (up from roughly 175 last year), but neither adequate funding to support a middle school library nor the more than double population has been provided. Current assessment of the A2 STEAM @ Northside collection finds a dearth of titles at the K-6 level in such topics as science, sports, biographies and history. In addition, our fiction and picture book collections are sorely lacking in quality and quantity. We want our kids to read, and we want them to read well. In order to do so, we must provide award-winning books and we must provide more titles. Currently, the collection sits at roughly 8,000 titles appropriate for Grades K-5. Last year, when the population of the school was around 175, that totaled about 45 books per student. This year, with the increase in student population, it totals around 20 books per student. Furthermore, the current size of the collection does not account for the fact that we have added 6th grade students, and will be adding 7th and 8th grades over the next two years. The maturity level of our existing texts simply does not match the interest level of middle school students. Add to that the fact that the students at this school are READERS. We have students who will easily out-read this collection by the December break. We need more titles, and we need them now. Our student wish list on Amazon totals over 100 requests, all made within the first month of school. We would sorely love to fulfill them so that students view this library as a resource as well as a place that responds to their needs.

Thus, the proposal would be to split the money into two categories: $3000 for nonfiction to align with the CCSS and the new Science, Technology and Engineering focus that the STEAM school provides, and $2000 to increase our offering of award-winning fiction and picture books. The materials chosen would be appropriate for K-6 students, thus ensuring that all students at A2 STEAM @ Northside are impacted in a positive way.

Project Title: PLTW: Intro to Engineering
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant and Freeth Fund
School(s): Huron High, Pioneer, Skyline, and Community High School
Teacher(s): Michael Sumerton
Amount Funded: $1,000

The laser engraver is a gateway to self-staining funding for the Huron Engineering program and AAPS engineering in general.  A laser engraver would allow students to engrave their in-class creations on any material – from laptop cases to shoes and phone cases to decorative precision paper cutting.  These services would allow our engineering students to have their creations all over the school as well as raise money for a plasma cutter (to cut metal signs for Huron as well as further fundraising).  Students having access to a piece of high tech cutting edge equipment used by engineers and designers would further link the curriculum with the anticipated outcome – a career in engineering/design.


Project Title: Readiness Take-Home Bags for Incoming Kindergarten studentsmarie lemmer
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Allen Elementary
Teacher(s): Leslie Binder and Marie Lemmer
Amount Funded: $1,758

Each Spring, Allen Elementary teachers screen incoming Kindergarten students on readiness skills, such as; letter identification, number identification, using one to one correspondence, shape identification, and name writing. After each child has been screened, results are shared with parents/guardians. We would like to provide take home materials for incoming kindergarten students and their families, so that every student has what he/she needs in order to practice these readiness skills.

Our goal is for Kindergarten students to use these materials throughout the summer to build a stronger academic foundation. Additionally, materials have been chosen to increase vocabulary and oral language skills. An important component of this project involves parent education. An Allen staff member will meet with parents, at the time of the screening, to demonstrate how each item in the take home bag can be used to practice important Kindergarten readiness activities including vocabulary and oral language skills. The Kindergarten screening will take place in May.

Use of these materials will be beneficial for all incoming Kindergarten students. Every student will have the opportunity to practice readiness skills with their families using materials we provide. Many of these materials are also used during classroom instruction.We anticipate that the students will come to school in September with increased readiness skills and a greater familiarity of numbers and letters.

This proposal will benefit approximately 70 incoming Allen Kindergarteners. Allen School is a diverse community with many English Language Learners. We are also a Title One School and a Focus School.

Project Title: Dicken Elementary Guided Reading Librarylauren murphy
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Dicken Elementary
Teacher: Lauren Murphy
Amount Funded: $5,000
Teachers at Dicken Elementary School work tirelessly to make reading fun and engaging, and motivate all of their students to learn to read. However, our guided reading book selection does not currently contain the quality and volume of literature that our teachers need to teach differentiated, engaging guided reading lessons. Our book room library is in need of literature based on more up-to-date topics, more informational texts, and more culturally relevant literature featuring diverse characters. The purpose of this project is to purchase sets of guided reading books that will enrich the guided reading instruction our teachers are already providing. The literature will be used with students for years to come.

By providing new high-interest fiction and non-fiction titles to our guided reading selection, teachers will be better able to teach engaging and succinct guided reading lessons differentiated for specific groups of students. Students will be able to work on reading skills and objectives, while inspiring curiosity and fostering a love for reading. The Common Core State Standards have a new added emphasis on reading and writing informational texts. By increasing the number of non-fiction texts available, teachers will have more resources available to teach these standards. Adding more culturally relevant literature that showcase diverse characters will allow our minority students to engage more in the text.

It is anticipated that with an increase in quality literature used in guided reading instruction, our students’ reading achievement will increase. This will be measured through Benchmark Reading Assessments, AAPS reading report card outcomes, and NWEA reading scores. This will also be measured by teacher observation of student participation and enjoyment in guided reading groups. This project will benefit all 358 students at Dicken Elementary School. These books will be utilized in all classrooms, Kindergarten to 5th its status as a Title 1 school, but it still serves a large and diverse population of at-risk students. 28% of our students receive free or reduced lunch.

Project Title: Young Fives Fine and Gross Motor Integrationalison coreyIMG_1809IMG_1801
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Abbott, Dicken, Haisley, Bryant, Logan, and Lawton
Teacher(s): Alison Corey and Sarah Bradley
Amount Funded: $4,200

The Young Fives classes throughout the district are seeking fine and gross motor materials to integrate into the current curriculum. Fine motor is the coordination of small muscle movements, which occur between the synchronization of hands, fingers, and eyes. Gross motor requires whole body movement and involves the core stabilizing muscles of the body to perform everyday functions.

The full day Young Fives program is new to the 2014-2015 school year.  The expanded day program allows for gross and fine motor work. Research has discovered a connection between the development of fine and gross moor skills at an early age and later success in math, science and reading (Grissmer, et al, 2010). With a high population of boys, who tent to need refinement of these skills, and our work as a district tot close the achievement gap, the development of a fine and gross motor curriculum in Young Fives would provide students with an early intervention.

Project Title: Traveling Technology Toolsjay macarthur
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant, and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Clague and King
Teacher(s): Deborah Katz, Rosalie Koenig, and Jay MacArthur
Amount Funded: $2,000

The purpose of this proposal is to provide a set of 8 dedicated traveling iPads, a lightweight packable projector and appropriate software to allow elementary and middle school instrumental music students ready access to portable computing technologies as learning tools in their classes.  These can be transported easily between schools in one protective carrying bag or divided into 2 sets to travel to separate schools as needed in 2 bags. Including a packable projector will allow teachers to quickly set up for a whole group demo or lesson when the teaching location is not equipped with projection and sound of its own.

Project Title: Awesome Animals from Around the World
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Carpenter Elementary
Teacher: Sharyl Burau
Amount Funded: $740
This grant will enable the media center to provide quality, library bound books of high interest to our students for their initial research on animals, for writing reports.

Project Title: Gay Straight Alliance Leadership Initiative for an Inclusive School Climateross dunbar
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Pioneer, Huron, Community, Skyline
Teacher: Ross Dunbar
Amount Funded: $2,330
Our GSA is a part of the Neutral Zone’s Gay Straight Alliance Leadership Initiative to engage students in a participatory action research project to better understand the experience of LGBTQAA students and work to create a positive, inclusive school climate.  With the support of Riot Youth and their research consultant, we administered climate surveys across our high school to better understand the experience of our students in relation to LGBTQQA identities.

Our GSA seeks funding to extend the work of the survey to create and implement a student-led project that shares our report and recommendations with the broader school population including administrators, educators, and students.

Project Title: Green STEAM
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Thurston Elementary
Teacher: Amy Lauerman
Amount Funded: $2,300
As teachers we want our students to make connections with the wider world using the information learned in the classroom. When it comes to science, we want our students not only to study but to have experiences with scientific methods and processes. Frequently, we rely on activities such as science fairs to offer our students an opportunity to practice the scientific method from start to finish. However, we know there are students who don’t participate in activities outside of classroom time, and don’t get the benefit of conducting those practical experiments on their own. In an effort to bring more hands-on science to every student, we designed a project for the whole grade level. We will use a resource that is available to participating students without the added cost of field trips — The Thurston Nature Center. Our project will benefit the students and also the wider community.

We come to the AAPSEF seeking funds that will see every fifth grade student participating in visceral, practical group science experiments during classroom time. The students themselves will investigate wind power through the book The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind. This book will be the springboard for discussions around the design process of the windmill. The students will experiment with making electricity using Dynamo torch kits. The dynamo kits are a model of manual power being turned into current electricity. Work with the Dynamo torches will demonstrate the process taking place inside the windmill from the book. Finally, the students will build an actual windmill from a kit. The students will measure, record and report on the progress of each phase. Because it is a full class grade project no student needs to miss out on the process or the learning.

Project Title: Jump Into Speech LibraryScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.53.31 PM
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant, and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): AA Preschool & Family Center, and First Steps AA
Teacher(s): Marie Stroud and Ann Stalhandske
Amount Funded: $830
Last year First Steps-Ann Arbor, a division of Rec & Ed that supports families with children birth to kindergarten entry, piloted a program to help one year olds learn to talk.  It was a 7-week parent/child class called Jump Into Speech and was designed for toddlers who weren’t yet communicating well with words. It was offered 6 times between September 2013 and August of 2014.  More than 50 children and their parents participated.  Every child increased the number of spontaneous words used.  One 19 month old went form 13 to 43 words after 7 weeks.  Another 21 month old went from 128 words to 301.  Jump Into Speech made the difference and was social and fun at the same time.

For 2014-15 we expanded our offerings to 3 class options: Jump Into Speech (ages 15-24 months), Jump Into Speech for Two (ages 22-30 months) and Jump Into Speech with Friends (ages 28-38 months). From our pilot program, we determined there are 3 steps to becoming fluent with language: beginning to talk, expanding vocabulary and using language for social purposes.  This fall, more than 25 children and their parents are taking these classes.

We’d like to add an important aspect to these classes with the help of a grant from AAPSEF: a lending library of specific books that teach parents techniques and strategies to use at home beyond what we’re teaching then in Jump Into Speech.  While we offer specific handouts to reinforce the activities taught each week in class, many parents crave more in-depth information.  Offering books to borrow for the 7-weeks, or even longer, will fill this need.

Project Title: Improving the Quality of Writing with Lego Story Starters
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant, Karen Thomas Fund Grant, and Robin Wax Tribute Fund Grant
School(s): Carpenter (all Grades)
Teacher(s): Bethany Tabaka and Amanda Lowe
Amount Funded: $847
Lego StoryStarters is a hands-on solution for introducing our classrooms to key language arts standards while building teamwork and communication skills.  Designed to address Common Core Standards, StoryStarter teaches students the basic structures of a well-composed story, making it a great tool for analyzing existing stories or discussing specific, current topics.  What’s more, the StoryVisulizer software links the physical world with the digital, enabling students to record the stories they have crafted in a visual and creative way, exulting in students who are engaged and energized about language arts!


Project Title: Quarter-Size Cellos for AAPSrosalie koenig and ingrid pylvainen
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Slauson, Lakewood, Eberwhite, King, Bach
Teacher(s): Ingrid Pylvainen and Rosalie Koenig
Amount Funded: $4,312
Elementary and middle school string teachers in the Ann Arbor Public Schools are seeking a grant to expand our quarter-size cello inventory.  Our objective is to provide cellos for smaller-sized students. Instruments that fit them properly will give them the best chance of success in their beginning years of instruction.  With this grant, eight quarter-size cellos will be purchased from a local string specialty shop (Shar Music) in Fal 2014. These cellos will be housed at Slauson Middle School, under the care of the Primary Applicants, and will be made available throughout the district, as the need arises.

The Ann Arbor Public Schools are one of a handful of districts in the state that provide a school-owned instrument for every fifth grade student, thanks to a $2 million dollarbond approved by the boters in 2004.  This ond was used to replace aging instruments, and various sizes of new instruments were purchased at that time. A few quarter-sided cellos were purchased, but not enough to meet the current demand. Due to shrinking funds over the last several years, the music department budget has been unable to meet the increasing demand.

Purchase through the AAPSEF would allow smaller students the opportunity to play instruments that will work best for them. The new cellos will be used by Ann Arbor Public School students for the next twenty years.

Project Title: Rejuvenating the Science CollectionLaurel Maguire
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Slauson Middle
Teacher: Laurel Maguire
Amount Funded: $2,163

A Note From a 7th Grade Slauson Student: “it was great, there’s a whole cart with books for our project [invasive species] !”

A Note From Teacher: “I [The teacher] was so happy about this comment as the student was excited by what he found and it was offered on his own to his teacher. This student is also one of our focus students (bottom 30 % of MEAP).  His comment illustrates what I was hoping to accomplish with a current and relevant science collection, excitement over learning and recognizing the media center as a valuable source of information.”  “Thank you so much for this opportunity, the grant has made a positive impact on our Slauson community.”
The average age of books in the Dewey 500s category, Science and Technology, of the Slauson Library Media Center is from 1997. In some areas such as the Dewey category 580, Plants, the average age of book is from 1991. Further hands on analysis of the collection has proven that a great number of books need to be weeded from the collection as they contain inaccurate and outdated information from books as old as 1968-1988.

I propose updating the Science collection to better align with the 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science curriculum. In meeting with the Slauson science staff and analyzing the media center 500s collection, I have created a list of current and highly recommended books that would engage students and fill in the resource gaps to better align with the middle school science curriculum.

Project Title: Stand up for Learning
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant, Chambers Fund and Village Fund
School(s): Pattengill Elementary
Teacher: Barb Gildersleeve and Elizabeth Elster
Amount Funded: $3,453

Pattengill would like to buy equipment that will help students focus more in the classroom. These “low tech” equipment include stand-up desks, cushy seats, wobble chairs, move and sit cushions, headsets, pencil fidgets and reading highlight strips. The latest research has shown that some children need to move to learn. by providing the right equipment to allow for that natural movement rather than fighting that need and requiring all students to sit still at a desk all day can enhance learning. Another study by Dr. Donald Dengel, at the University of Minnesota, showed that students using these types of stand up desks also burned more calories per day. Other items such as study carrels, headphones, and reading highlight strips also help students block out extraneous noise and visual stimuli and focus on the task at hand.

Project Title: The Play’s the Thing!Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.26.13 PMScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.25.45 PM
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Tappan Middle
Teacher: Alex Leydenfrost
Amount Funded: $2,700
As the only remaining full-time Performing Arts teacher in Ann Arbor Public Schools, I feel it is imperative to create a documentary that records the “repeatable” process that goes on in my 8th  Grade Theatre Workshop, which culminates in an original one-act play written and performed entirely by the Tappan 8th graders in this class. The documentary, which will be filmed and edited by both students and myself, will not only provide a historical record of this creative journey, but more importantly, it will offer an accessible template for teachers in other disciplines to implement this student-centered project, on a smaller scale, in their classrooms.

Project Title: Integrating Korean Culture in the 2nd & 4th Grade Curricula
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant, Karen Thomas Fund Grant, and Robin Wax Tribute Fund Grant
School(s): Carpenter
Teacher: Ann Marie Borders
Amount Funded: $1,500
This project (as a stand alone) will incorporate basic elements of the second and fourth grade literacy and social studies curriculum using ELL and Common Core standards, which mandate daily inclusion of reading, writing, listening and speaking opportunities.  Students will learn about Korean culture through activities, which focus on improving these stills.  Classes will take place in the music and art classrooms.  Integrating the arts and culture with these outcomes allows students the opportunity to learn creatively and think “outside the box” while achieving at a higher level of thinking and creating.

Why drums? Teaching literacy, reading writing and speaking uses the ebb and flow of language and the rhythm of words. Initial reading lessons incorporate sounds in isolation and combinations. WE focus on rhyming words, patterns and word placement. This is made more fun with the inclusion of a rhythm and beat. Creating songs, stories and raps in the gen ed and music classrooms are ways students incorporate the arts in learning.  While I can use empty water jugs for some drumming imagine the enthusiasm and buy in from students allowed to “lead the class” with a real Korea drum or gong. Students love having high yet achievable goals. What better way to generate enthusiasm for learning than through successful interactions?

Project Title: Neighborhood Librariestom pachera
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Skyline and Haisley
Name: Tom Pachera, Anton Draayer, and Lisa Read
Amount Funded: $2,000
We are students of Mr. Tom Pachera at Skyline High School in the Design Technology and Environmental Planning magnet. We would like to build and install at least 20 (hopefully 30) “little libraries” in various neighborhoods within the Ann Arbor Public Schools District with the help of four fifth graders from Haisley Elementary school.  These “little libraries” are similar to drop boxes.  Kids will be able to walk to them from their houses and either put a book in or take one out. The purpose of this project is to make books more accessible to children whose parents don’t have time to bring them to bookstores or libraries within their neighborhoods. We eventually are going to get other schools in the district to use the libraries in their neighborhoods as well.

Project Title: 8th Grade Trip/Charles H. Wright Museumdeborah weid
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Forsythe
Teacher: Deborah Weid
Amount Funded: $1,500
We are hoping to take our entire 8th grade class to the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit, Michigan. I teach American History, a course which is part of the required Ann Arbor curriculum and which all 8th graders take. While there, students will be taken through a variety of exhibits with tour guides to enhance their understanding and appreciation of the museum.

Project Title: 5th Grade Media Center Science Kitspeggy armstrong
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Thurston
Teacher(s): Peggy Armstrong and Dave Fisher
Amount Funded: $1,285
The project will create several kits containing books and other materials to support the 5th grade science curriculum. The kits, which can be checked out like regular library books, will cover the topics of the Human Body, Force & Motion, and Energy.  The quality and diversity of the materials and the uniqueness of the presentation of the kits will inspire students to explore and learn more about science.

Project Title: Leveled Lending Library
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Abbott
Teacher(s): Colleen McAlinden
Amount Funded: $1,548
The purpose of the Abbot Leveled Lending Library is to make books that are at students’ reading levels more accessible to parents of students in grades kindergarten through second grade. Every year, I have parents ask for book titles, but many of the kindergarten and early first grade levels are difficult to find in libraries and bookstores. I will create folders that contain 4-5 books at levels A through H and a guide with tips on prompting readers and comprehension discussion ideas. The folders will be available for checkout on a weekly basis. They will be housed within our current parent lending library. My goal is for the folders to go home with our students throughout the year, and especially those reading below grade level during breaks. I intend to plan July and August meet up times where parents can exchange folders throughout the summer.

Project Title: Paint for PioneerScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.23.37 PM
Grants Applied For: Eleanora Bihler Dahlmann Endowment Fund Grant
School(s): Pioneer
Teacher(s): Helen Bunch
Amount Funded: $499
The purpose of this grant is to purchase a back stock of higher quality watercolor paint from the supplier Dick Blick so that Pioneer H.S. Art classes can learn how to handle the more professional media. Ms. Helen Bunch is developing new curriculum for watercolor painting in her Art and Design and the Draw Paint Print classes. Currently fellow art teacher Michael Benedict focuses on acrylic painting in his Draw Paint Print classes. The art department thinks it would be advantageous to have another medium for students to explore. The study of watercolor painting would allow the Art department to enrich their curriculum by giving students a different discipline to approach. Both Art and Design and Draw Paint Print classes serve a wide section of student body. Students in 9th to 12th grade, and all with levels of ability choose to take these courses as their state art requirement. Painting is usually the second or third assignment in the semester course. Ms. Bunch’s current class load would expect to serve 60 students this semester, and probably 140 2nd semester equaling approximately 200 students this school year. This grant proposal is planning for materials that would be used over an approximately three year time period. Traditionally watercolor is a media that the lower grades explore; however, the schools typically explore this media with inexpensive paint that only allows for single application of paint. A better / higher quality paint would, would allow colors to be richer and more use of layers of color. The results are paintings of better quality than what goes into the work of the lower elementary grades. While the acquisition of this material was not included within the AAPS budgetary system it has the unique ability to fulfill the promise that the district has made to its students for the development of skills in this area. The modest expense associated with the acquisition of this material fulfills the best practices model on which our program strives to achieve for its students.

Project Title: Best Read-Alouds for young children
Grants Applied For: Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Bryant
Teacher: Maggi Idzikowski
Amount Funded: $1,590

Bryant Elementary serves over 400 students in grades K-2. Numerous studies have shown the importance of reading aloud to children to build language skills. (Torgeson, J. Avoiding the Deviating Downward Spiral, American Educator. 2004), positive associations with books and reading, and stronger foundation for school success (J.S. Shonkoff & D. Phillips, Eds., From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Develpoment (2000, Washington D.C.; National Research Council & The Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press). But the Bryant library’s collection of chapter books is significantly lacking to support both student readers and teachers looking for quality read-aloud materials. This grant makes a big push to enhance the Bryant library collection of chapter books, aimed especially for students age 4-8.

Project Title: Big Playground Mural
Grants Applied For: Dahlmann
School(s): Bach
Teacher: Kim Furey and all Bach staff
Amount Funded: $3,500

I am applying for a grant to fund a collaborative outdoor mural project at our school’s “big playground.” The playground is across west 5th street and to the west of the main school campus. It is surrounded by private residences and serves as a play and recreation area for not only Bach school, but also the entire old west side neighborhood. The grant I am requesting will cover the mural artist’s design, and his time spent with our students.


Project Title: Music Therapy for Students with AutismScreen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.19.39 PM
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Huron
Teacher: Greta Barfield
Amount Funded: $750

Students in self contained classes for autism will benefit from the techniques offered with music therapy. Research indicates that music therapy; because music accesses both hemispheres of the brain, stimulates cognitive function as well as building other necessary functions, including self regulation and awareness, relationship development, improved executive functioning and academic competence. It also helps with sensory issues, two way communication, self expression and emotional response.

Project Title: Collaborating ELL
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant and Karen Thomas Fund Grant
School(s): Logan and Northside
Teacher: Jane Taylor
Amount Funded: $5,000

The AAPS English Language Learner population continues to grow as does the need to meet the challenges of engaging and teaching English Language Learners a new language and culture in our classrooms. Test scores (both state and district) consistently show that our ELL students struggle to reach grade level outcomes. When ELL students enter our schools the first months and years are a critical time for them to gain the skills needed to become successful students. We can build a better program through planned collaboration between ELL and classroom teachers, tutors, parents and the community.

The purpose of the Collaborating ELL grant would be to build upon and to expand a very successful experimental Title III program that was piloted in kindergarten in spring 2014 at Logan school. I would like to apply for this grant in order to implement and expanded project a Logan and Northside Schools (where I teach) this year. Logan and Northside Schools have many new teachers who have not previously worked with ELL students, as well as many new ELL students! The Collaborating ELL project would provide more bilingual tutor help for ELLs in their classrooms as well as provide teachers with the knowledge and skills to help ELLs in their classrooms.

Project Title: Sensory Regulating Activities that Support Learning in the Classroom
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): AA Preschool & Family Center, and PreSchool at Allen and Thursday
Teacher: Catherine Schuh
Amount Funded: $3,096

The Ann Arbor Preschool and Family Center has integrated and self-contained special education classrooms. Many of these children process and regulate sensory input differently than same age peers; especially given the sensory experiences typical in a preschool classroom. We have 2 preschool classrooms in the elementary buildings (Thurston and Allen). We have Head Start and GSRP classrooms for children that have met risk and income thresholds; often coming to school dys-regulated. We use sensory regulating activities “heavy work” to support attention and regulation with children in preschool grades. I provided district professional development in February of 2014 and again in October 2014 at the preschool on using heavy work and the “How Does Your Engine Run?” to support regulation. Our principal would like all classrooms to be using the language of the “How Does Your Engine Run” program with heavy work activities to support children’s regulation. The purpose of this project is to provide equipment and accommodations for children that are dys-regulated (either too low or too high of an alert state) in the building to use across grade levels. The goal is that with the support of heavy work and accommodations integrated through out a child’s school day, all children (those children that receive additional special education services and those children that are in general education) are regulated (alert and attentive; a just right state of readiness) and able to learn/attend/participate in the classroom activities.

Project Title: Choral Repertoire By and For WomenSteven Lorenz
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Pioneer
Teacher: Steven Lorenz
Amount Funded: $1,000

The overwhelming majority of the choral repertoire written for young women reflects male composers and poets. The goal of this project is for our advanced treble choir to celebrate choral music written for treble choirs by female composers and/or using texts by female poets/authors. This may involve commission, local composers, or poets.

Project Title: An African Celebration of the Amphitheater
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Bach
Teacher: Kristine Bishop
Amount Funded: $2,000

Bach School has the opportunity to celebrate an astonishing community effort with the creation of The Stephen Easter Memorial Outdoor Amphitheater. Stephen Easter tragically died in July of 2013. His cohorts are this year’s fourth graders. This year I would like to celebrate the outstanding musicians and performers within this group by performing a musical Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters based on the book by John Steptoe. This February 11 performance would merely be a springboard into a semester- long study of African drumming and dance along with the focus on outdoor performing traditions around the world. A culminating event would take place in late May upon the ground breaking of Stephen’s Theater project.  At this event our fourth graders would present drumming and dancing outside for the entire Bach Community gathered to celebrate the beginning of the construction project. They will use drums and other percussion instruments from Africa and reprise songs from the musical earlier in the year.

Project Title: Sauerkraut Sciencecarol dekeyzer
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Abbott
Teacher: Carol DeKeyzer, and Emily Warner
Amount Funded: $510

The Purpose of the project is to create a real-life experience on traditional ways of preserving harvested food.  Each class will make a batch of traditionally fermented sauerkraut, and students will each receive their own small jar of sauerkraut to take home. Fermenting foods is one of safest forms of food preservation.  The fermentation process destroys or repels any pathenogenetic bacteria, and leaves a host of beneficial bacteria that, when consumed, support the body’s digestive and immune system.  The classroom sauerkraut making will be demonstrated/led by staff from the local business, The Brinery.  This will be the third year for Abbot Elementary to host the workshop.

Project Title: Ukelele Project
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): A2 STEAM at Northside
Teacher: Kara Huckabone
Amount Funded: $2,370

Students will learn to play the ukulele and work to discover and understand the impact of musical outreach in their community. I am looking to purchase a class set of Kohala Akamai Mohogany Soprano Ukuleles from Shar Music in Ann Arbor. The goals of the project are that students would demonstrate a secure understanding of how to play the ukulele and work on a project to contribute to their community.

Project Title: Salmon in the Classroom
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Huron
Teacher:  David Russell
Amount Funded: $620

Project Title: Robotics and Programingmichael harris
Grants Applied For: Great Idea Grant
School(s): Clague
Teacher:  Michael Harris
Amount Funded: $3,500

Weather it be Bill Gates, PLTW, 21st Century skills, or the folks at the “Hour of code”, organization. It is clear to me that I should be offering a certain set of learning opportunities to my students. Top of this list are Robotics and coding.

The Vex IQ kits that I have requested are part of the PLTW curriculum so if at some time in the future we are able to go in this direction the equipment will be ready. In my classes I have been able to pursue programing to a certain level, using free available software (scratch) but when it comes to the next step, applying the program to something, I grind to a dead stop. To put it simply I do not have the resources. When it comes to Robotics, the same thing happens, I can get so far with my existing old lego kits,  building simple machines, but then it stops, because I don’t have the resources In short I already run programs in my school that cover the basics of Robotics and programing, but then have to stop short because I don’t have the equipment I need to teach.

As a teacher and a parent of kids in the district I am determined to try and resolve this issue and hope that you share my vision.If I were able to get this grant it would enable me to offer classes in both these areas.