MEF Round 21 Awarded Grants – October, 2012
Round 21 Grants – October, 2012
- Storia For IPads.
The purpose of this project is to start a collection of ebooks for a classroom set of iPads in my third grade class. The iPads will arrive shortly, and a proposal has been approved to use them as a tool in developing Balanced Literacy Centers. Besides the apps, I would like to use the iPad for ebooks. Scholastic Books have come out with classroom collections of leveled readers. Purchasing these ebooks would allow the students access to books through the free app called Storia. Students would access books during their 60 minutes level reading block. They could use them individually or in partners. All of these books are testable in our Scholastic Reading program.
Wood, Iddings, Fieler, Miller, Salk, MIS, Pierce $3500 with $3500 in matched funds from the MCSC.
- Teaching Character Education through Balanced Literacy.
The balanced literacy approach to reading instruction has been in place at Wood since 2009-10 school year. Balanced Literacy follows scientific research that includes the five essential components of reading: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary development, and reading comprehension. The character education component will allow students to practice and improve the five components while dealing with character issues to improve behavior and decision making in real life.
Mary Hoffman, Wood, K-4, 320 students, $580.15.
- High School PBIS Reward Funds.
The purpose of the project is to provide quality rewards to students who demonstrate positive behavior. The project involves the continued implementation of the PBIS (Positive Behavior Interventions and Support) program at Merrillville High School. This program is in its 4th year of implementation at MHS, and is intended to reduce the number of disciplinary referrals and incidents of misbehavior and increase positive student behavior. Also, the high school wants to recognize and reward students who consistently follow the rules of the school. At the high school, PBIS has provided students with continuous training of school rules and appropriate behavior through “Behavior Scripts” that teachers in each subject read to students and then discuss. Students also receive rewards if they are chosen at random from a pool of students nominated by teachers. All nominees are recognized on the morning announcements, and the chosen winners receive their reward at lunch. Discipline data is tracked and reviewed by teams of teachers each month to help us decide if students require additional training and reinforcement of particular school rules. When the data shows that there is an area of increased infractions, the team adjusts the Behavior Scripts, which are used three times a trimester, totaling nine for the year. In addition, our student T.V. Production class is going to video tape Drama students acting out the contents of the Behavior Scripts for display on our televised morning announcements (PNN). The program has been very successful at all other Merrillville schools. We hope to continue the momentum started at the lower grades at the high school. The grant will enable us to continue to offer meaningful rewards to our students which they will strive to work towards, and increase students’ positive behavior. We have also started a Teacher of the Month program to reward exemplary teachers. The Teacher of the Month program involves selecting two teachers per month based on selection criteria. Also, each teacher must be participating in PBIS initiatives. The winning teachers are awarded a gift card, which is donated by a local business, and a banner is made for each lobby with their name and picture. They are also featured in the new e-newsletter that the PBIS committee has developed. The Teacher of the Month program helps to improve morale of the staff, and it encourages staff to participate in PBIS activities. When students behave positively at MHS, they can be nominated by their teachers for Student Recognition on Wednesday. If they are randomly chosen from the list of nominees, they are recognized at lunch and given a choice of prizes as a reward. The choices of prizes include office supplies, candy, cookies, ice cream, coupons for free ID’s and lanyards, coupons for concessions at sporting events, and tickets to special events at the school. Students enjoy earning the rewards and being recognized so they continue behaving appropriately. The increase in positive student behavior ultimately affects the academics of the students because the school climate becomes more positive. When students behave well, it increases the instructional time in a classroom and time on-task for each student. This leads to increased student achievement and staff morale.
James Stamper, High School, 9-12, 2,500 students, $1240.00.
- Sensory Room
I am submitting this project Sensory Room for your consideration to help improve the daily activities, work performance, and overall behavioral status of the special education students, especially the students who have Autism. Within the special education program here at Salk School there has been an increasing amount of students with Autism and students with a high amount of sensory needs. With having an intense self-contained classroom within a general education school makes it difficult for the special education staff to find the tools to help these students with their sensory needs. When Salk school was renovated they renovated the special education classrooms as well but attached a large room off the back that we have used for some basic sensory items (swing, ball, mats, rice table, sand table, etc…). Our goal is to turn that entire room into a complete sensory experience that the students can use throughout the day and rotate from each activity to be able to meet all sensory needs they may have. The students will be able to use the ball pit, trampoline, tunnels, chair balls, and peanut balls to satiate their need for movement and to help them be able to sit longer during classwork, specials, and assemblies. The purpose of this project is to create a full on sensory room that the special education students can utilize to help fulfill their sensory needs. There has been a rising amount of special education with Autism and the use of sensory material have shown to help satisfy their sensory needs and improve work performance. NISEC has provided some of the material to help create this room but there are still many items that need to be purchased. The benefit from this sensory room that the students will gain is that they will be able to focus better when it is time to do classroom work and also to give the students the time to release the high amount of sensory needs that they have. The use of a sensory room will also help curb behaviors in the students that they display when their sensory needs are not being met.
Kim Heritage, Salk, K-4, 22 students, $607.08
- How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The purpose of this project is to decrease the number of classroom disruptions at Pierce Middle School. This will, in turn, increase the student’s learning. Disruptions currently are our number one behavioral issue according to our PBIS data. We have noticed that most of the disruptive offenses are committed by “repeat offenders”. We would like to create a class for these students entitled, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”. One chapter of the book would be discussed at a time so that new students could always enter the group. An aide will teach the class. Study Guides are readily available online for free. We need copies of the book for students in the class.
Suzanne Keel, Pierce, 7 and 8, 1093, $405.40.
- S.A.L.K .
The purpose/goal of our project is two-fold. First, we hope to significantly improve and scaffold the beginning literacy skills of our students who come with very little basic knowledge of language. Second, we plan to expand the skills of those who come more prepared and are beyond beginning literacy skills. With six full-day classes, we are in need of more materials to use in small group teaching and learning stations. The 130 Kindergarteners at Salk exhibit knowledge at many different levels. This project will allow the Kindergarten team to better meet the wide range of individual needs presented in our classrooms. Items requested help to facilitate both guided learning and managed independent learning, thus serving a dual purpose. Observations and ongoing (weekly, monthly, quarterly) assessments such as: letters, sounds, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, and reading levels are some of the data we will use to track the progress of S.T.A.R.S. The purchase of these materials has the potential to foster development in literacy skills, phonemic awareness, vocabulary development, reading ability, and sentence composition.
Tessa Meyer, Salk, K, 130, $501.80
- Spice it Up.
Variety is the spice of life! The purpose of this grant is to “spice up” the Miller School book room by partially funding the purchase of leveled books. The books would be used to aid teachers in the continual implementation of the Balanced Literacy Framework through guided reading and Literature Circles. The Merrillville Community School Corporation is in now in the fourth year of implementation of the Balanced Literacy Framework. Since the first year of implementation, Miller School has shown a steady gain in the ISTEP+ English/Language Arts test scores. Our proudest moment was the result of the 2012 ISTEP+ scores where Miller School had 89% of students passing the English/Language Arts portion of the ISTEP+. School is near 90% free and reduced lunch as well as a 90% nonwhite student population, which many schools see as an obstacle but not Miller! Our success in English/Language Arts is due in large part to our deep commitment to Balanced Literacy. Our school grade awarded to Miller School by the Indiana Department of Education was an “A”. An important part of earning this grade was our ability to show academic growth in all three of our student populations, below level, at level, and above level students. We have the challenge to continue to show gains in these areas each and every year. The most challenging area is in the above level students. In addition, Common Core Standards require students to read a variety of genres with an increase in text complexity.
Lori Govert, Miller, 2,3,4, 210, $500.00
- The Right Tool for the Job.
The purpose of this grant is to build independent “comprehenders” by funding the purchase of Comprehension Toolkits. The Toolkits would supplement our current textbook in preparing students to be independent learners. The Merrillville Community School Corporation is in now in the fourth year of implementation of the Balanced Literacy Framework. Since the first year of implementation, Miller School has shown a steady gain in the ISTEP+ English/Language Arts test scores. Our proudest moment was the result of the 2012 ISTEP+ scores where Miller School had 89% of students passing the English/Language Arts portion of the ISTEP+. Miller is near 90% free and reduced lunch, has an English as a Second Language (ESL) population of approximately 41 students, and a 90% nonwhite student population, which many schools see as an obstacle but not Miller! Our success in English/Language Arts is due in large part to our deep commitment to Balanced Literacy. Our school grade awarded to Miller School by the Indiana Department of Education was an “A”. An important part of earning this grade was our ability to show academic growth in all three of our student populations, below level, at level, and above level students. We have the challenge to continue to show gains in these areas each and every year. A very challenging area to show growth is in the area of non-fiction comprehension. Schools across the United States are moving in to the Common Core Standards which are quite rigorous. The Common Core Standards require an increase in text complexity with two thirds of study completed in the genre of nonfiction. Nonfiction text by nature is more tedious and complex for students to read especially students who do not have a strong schema (background knowledge) or who already struggle daily to understand the English Language. Immersion in nonfiction text includes areas of science and social studies, which beginning at fourth and fifth grade are included on the ISTEP+. Our current reading textbooks do not have the high concentration level of nonfiction text therefore; teachers often have to find other sources for teaching this genre. The other challenge is that teachers just aren’t as savvy at teaching non-fiction as they are at teaching fiction.
Lori Govert, Miller, K-4, 382, $750.00
TOTAL ROUND 21 GRANTS: $8,084.43
All Awarded Grants
- Round 31 Grants - Nov, 2017
- Round 30 Grants - May, 2017
- Round 29 Grants – Oct, 2016
- Round 28 Grants – May, 2016
- Round 27 Grants – Nov, 2015
- Round 25 Grants – Nov, 2014
- Round 24 Grants – Apr, 2014
- Round 23 Grants – Nov, 2013
- Round 22 Grants – Mar, 2013
- Round 21 Grants – Oct, 2012
- Round 20 Grants – Mar, 2012
- Round 19 Grants – Oct, 2011
- Round 18 Grants – Jun, 2011
- Round 17 Grants – Dec, 2010
- Round 16 Grants – May, 2010
- Round 15 Grants – Dec, 2009
- Round 14 Grants – May, 2009
- Round 13 Grants – Dec, 2008
- Round 12 Grants – May, 2008
- Round 10 Grants – May, 2007