Edison Local Schools received a small funding boost to help augment teaching tools in several of its classrooms.
Educators Angela Arbogast, Emlly Henry and Megan McNear were among the recipients of the Jefferson County Educational Service Center’s Best Practice Grant program during the 2021-22 funding cycle. JCESC Coordinator Patty Ferrell presented three mini grants totaling $1,800 during the regular school board meeting on Nov. 18 at Edison High School and the funding will incorporate technology and other resources for instruction and emotional well-being.
Arbogast, who teaches Spanish at Edison High School, will purchase equipment for her classroom to assist between 100-200 students.
“This grant would supply every foreign language teacher’s dream: a classroom set of durable headphones with built-in microphones for individual listening, comprehension and pronunciation practice. Headphones are one of the most highly desired items amongst foreign language teachers because they greatly enhance students’ interaction with the language,” she added.
Arbogast said the equipment will help eliminate distractions and enable students to quietly and clearly record themselves. She has applied for Best Practice Grant funds in the past but said this was her first award.
Henry, a literacy interventionist for grades K-6 at Stanton Elementary, will use her funds for her “Book of the Month” project and allow all students to read the same book and complete activities within their classrooms.
“The Book of the Month is a school-wide initiative to promote literacy while incorporating cross-curricular activities. Each month, the same book will be read aloud in every classroom across all grade levels. These same books will serve as mentor texts that will be used in reading, writing, math, social studies and science. Therefore, our students will benefit because they will be able to extend their learning into all content areas with standard based activities. Finally, our book will benefit students because it will serve as a great school and home connection tool. We will engage families with the same book so that the learning can continue at home.”
Henry said the project will benefit every preschool to sixth-grade student, or about 400 children. She noted that it was her first Best Practice Grant and she looked forward to implementing the program to help build a literacy community.
McNear, who is the school counselor at Stanton, will create a “STEAM Sensory Space” for her project. A classroom and section of hallway will be designated to use a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics (STEAM) theme to help students refocus, self-regulate and incorporate movement in meaningful ways throughout their day. She said multi-sensory stations will be formed to help develop the parts of the brain that control emotional regulation and learning. Among the stations are a colorful walkway that allows students to move in different ways to release stress and cope with diverse emotions; a Lego wall and pop tube station to create designs while simultaneously using the time to calm down and regain focus; and a station where students can use kinetic sand and water beads to explore and create. McNear is working with occupational therapy assistant Cheryl Smith to design and set up the sensory room, which has the potential to benefit all 400 students at the school.
“This is particularly important during their elementary years so that they may gain benefits that will help them in years to come,” she added. “We will use the funds obtained through this grant to purchase materials to create this space for all grade levels from PreK-6 to utilize at various times. It will include several cross-curricular components to blend science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics with the sensory experiences.”
McNear previously gained similar mini grants and said she was excited about the latest opportunity.
JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko recognized the educators for thinking outside the box and the grants support those efforts.
“The JCESC has a mission of building capacity through innovative cost-effective programs. The Best Practice Grants are a great example of allowing our classroom teachers to be innovative in the practice of educating their students,” he commented. “Every year, our district teachers continue to find unique and innovative methods for their classroom. We are grateful for the teachers’ hard work and happy to support their creativity.”
Edison has received 45 Best Practice Grants over the past 14 years, although the program has existed even longer. More funds were awarded this year at Buckeye Local, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Steubenville, Southern Local, Toronto and the Utica Shale Academy.