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Edison Educators Earn Best Practice Grants

Educators in the Edison Local School District are promoting ideas for literacy, reading and math to hone student learning.

   Three teachers were spotlighted during the Edison Local Board of Education meeting at Edison High School on Nov. 17, where Jefferson County Educational Service Center Intervention Specialist Patty Ferrell presented more than $1,900 in Best Practice Grants for unique projects that Miguel Brun, Kathy Ramsey and Jordan Tice plan to utilize in their classes.

   Brun, a literacy interventionist in grades K-3, will implement “The Science of Reading” to allow 22 readers at John Gregg Elementary School to develop the crucial neural pathway in the reading brain. He said teaching students to spell words is a powerful way to boost their ability to read by carefully examining words from the inside out.

    “Learning to read involves a vast array of linguistic knowledge through the application of both word recognition skills and the mental processes that are involved in comprehending our language. Reading comprehension is the product of having accurate, automatic word reading along with linguistic comprehension. For our beginning novice readers and struggling readers of any age or grade level, it is critical that our instruction focuses on the areas of the brain that are supported during the reading process,” he said. “Spelling and reading words use the same basic processes, and the two skills develop reciprocally; however, spelling requires closer attention to the phoneme-grapheme correspondences. Through extensive practice in my project activities using the phoneme-grapheme magnetic boards, students will enhance their orthographic mapping of words. This word work with manipulative letters is a powerful way for students to learn to read and spell words. In turn, it will allow them to store the words in the visual word form area of the reading brain as if they were reading by ‘sight.’”

   He said the grant will be used to purchase 22 Wilson Reading System magnetic journals with letter tiles and the goal is for all students who need this guided and extended practice will be able to utilize the resources.

   Brun has received similar grant funding and said those resources are still being used at both John Gregg and Stanton Elementary.

   “I would like to thank the Jefferson County ESC for the opportunity to be considered for this grant. This project will allow our students to continue building their knowledge of the English language. The literacy instruction that students are receiving at John Gregg Elementary is guided by the science of how the brain learns to read. Every teacher deserves to know the science of reading and every student deserves a teacher who knows the science of reading. This grant from the Jefferson County ESC ensures each of those will continue to happen each and every day at John Gregg Elementary.”

   Ramsey, a music teacher at John Gregg Elementary, will highlight “Music Interactive Resources” for her pupils in grades PreK-6. She will acquire Hal Leonard’s Essential Elements Music Class and a Fenderplay app to benefit about 375 students. The Hal Leonard Essentials will be used for band, the general music classroom and private school lessons on the ukulele, recorder and guitar, as well as the interactive music theory pages, music based educational videos

interactive musical games, solfege, rhythm reading, music history, access to instrument method books and various music content that meet the music standards.  Additionally, the Fenderplay app will be used for learning to play various string instruments. 

   “I applied for the grant to access more educational opportunities for our students from some educational music sites. The two sites will offer an extension to their everyday lessons, guitar, ukulele, and vocal repertoire and composing notation,” Ramsey noted.

   She has received the Best Practice Grant before and was thankful for funding to expand opportunities for music education.

   “There are so many excellent music resources via the internet, however, many come with a price.  One of the ways that we use these resources, the students play a song on an instrument like the ukulele, the flutophone or the guitar.  These resources play an accompaniment and track the beat visually as they play along and watch the music on the screen. They often feel like they are in their own band. After one or two classes, they usually can play one song. They feel a sense of accomplishment.”

   Jordan Tice, a physical science teacher at Edison High School, plans to incorporate “Electrical Circuits” into her classroom. About 134 freshmen will discover how electrical components come together by working hands-on with components using Caddy Shack electrical kits. She added that the students will not only be able to describe electrical phenomena, but they will also be able to demonstrate it, plus they will build specific types of circuits that work from simple to more complex.

   “The Best Practice Grant is providing electrical circuit kits and equipment like small motors, wires, light bulbs, and batteries. Students will be able to explore electricity concepts and create different types of circuits not just by drawing them but by actually building them.  This gives students an authentic learning experience, ultimately leading to a better understanding of the concept. 

   Tice has earned grants before and was honored to obtain the latest windfall.

   “I would like to thank the JCESC for offering the grant and giving students an opportunity to learn in new ways.  My students are excited to work together on this project.”

   JCESC Superintendent Dr. Chuck Kokiko said the Best Practice Grants helped teachers bring their ideas to life.

    “There are certain events or occasions that folks look forward to each year. At the JCESC, one of those events is when the board and staff can read the innovative teacher Best Practice Grant applications that have been submitted,” he added. “Our schools have many great teachers with ground-breaking lesson plans and out-of-the-box instructional strategies, and we are happy to be able to fund many of those ideas so they may become reality for the students in the classroom.  Congratulations to our winners and we look forward to seeing what unique ideas will be submitted next year.”     This year, JCESC awarded more than 20 Best Practice Grants to teachers at Buckeye Local, Edison, Harrison Hills, Indian Creek, Steubenville, Southern Local, Toronto and the Utica Shale Academy.