WJCC Schools Foundation Surprises Teachers with Innovative Learning Grants

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WJCC Schools Foundation Innovative Learning Grant recipient Paul Cosby with Berkeley principal Amour Mickel and the Berkeley Cheerleaders (Photo courtesy of the WJCC Schools Foundation)
WJCC Schools Foundation Innovative Learning Grant recipient Paul Cosby with Berkeley Middle School Principal Amour Mickel and the Berkeley cheerleaders. (Photo courtesy of the WJCC Schools Foundation)

For 32 Williamsburg-James City County teachers, Friday was not a typical school day.

The end of the first week back from winter break brought a big surprise when they learned they would receive Innovative Learning grants from the WJCC Schools Foundation.

Foundation board members, School Board members, school division employees, community leaders and donors piled into buses to deliver mock checks to the award recipients, who submitted proposals for innovative activities and programs they would like to bring to the classroom.

More than $27,000 was divvied up into awards for 21 projects, many of which will be completed by pairs of teachers hailing from 11 of the division’s 15 schools.

Barbara Reynolds, vice president of programs for the WJCC Schools Foundation, said nearly 8,000 students will benefit from these projects, which range from purchasing 3D printers to connecting high-schoolers and third-graders studying Spanish.

“They were beautifully written grants,” Reynolds said. “The budgets were right on. We had grant submissions with budgets that included dollars and cents.”

Some of the schools put on a show to celebrate their grant recipients – cheerleaders at Berkeley Middle School prepared a cheer for Paul Cosby, who proposed a Minecraft initiative for the school. At Jamestown, students gave theater teacher J. Harvey Stone a standing ovation after he learned he would be able to buy video production tools for the theater program, Reynolds said.

“I love these teachers,” Reynolds said of the recipients. “They’re so excited about doing this.”

Teachers have until the end of the year to conduct their activities and programs, Reynolds said. Grant recipients will complete an evaluation form and are encouraged to share their successes with their peers, Reynolds added.

A complete list of grant recipients is listed below. Project descriptions are excerpts from the proposal abstracts:


Bright Beginnings at Clara Byrd Baker, Matoaka and Matthew Whaley Elementary schools and Lafayette High School

Title: Ready Bodies, Learning Minds
Description: A program created to support the developmental, motor, sensory and academic growth of all students
Value: $2,000
Recipients: Kristi McVey, Tracey Dumphy


Jamestown High School

Title: Blended Algebra Two
Description: Grant will fund 5 iPads to use in Algebra 2 classrooms to allow for differentiated lessons and a variety of engaging activities in the classroom.
Value: $2,000
Recipient: Debbie McDowell


Title: Probewear Matters
Description: Grant will provide tools similar to those used at the college level and in scientific careers. Students will engage in meaningful cooperative learning during lab activities and allow them to operate technology; provide real-time data collection and graphic displays.
Value: $1,998
Recipients: Courtney Gonzalez-Vega, Kristin Cosby


Title: Theatre Gets Technical
Description: This grant will add 2 HP Pro Book laptops, Adobe Premiere 14 software and “Green Screen” supplies to make acting and producing digital media part of theater studies.
Value: $2,000
Recipient: J. Harvey Stone


Title: Las Conexiones
Description: This multi-cultural language program will connect Matoaka Elementary School third-graders and Jamestown High School students. High School students will plan and prepare interactive lessons to expose third-graders to Spanish language and culture. Students will demonstrate their language to parents during a culminating lunch at a Mexican Restaurant.
Value: $545
Recipient: Alisa Smith


Lafayette High School

Title: 3D in MC
Description: 3D printing for the media center to enhance classroom curricular projects, individual exploration and creative design. Enhance higher level learning and prepares students for 21st century careers
Value: $1,578
Recipients: Monica Schauffler, Amy Wallisch


Warhill High School

Title: Maker Modeling
Description: 3D printer will be used to create physical items to support classroom content. Will be used for anatomy class study and geometry modeling of 2- and 3-dimensional objects.
Value: $935
Recipients: Lois Wine, Sharon Carter, Isabelle Johnson, Rose Roberts


Berkeley Middle School

Title: Minecraft in WJCC
Description: Institute a Minecraft program to increase student engagement. Platform can be used for math teachers to teach geometry, English teachers can use it to re-enact scenes from stories and books, science teachers can use it to teach biomes, weather and basic coding. And social studies teachers can have students walk through virtual sites or create them from research.
Value: $2,000
Recipient: Paul Cosby


Toano Middle School

Title: The World Language Traveling Gallery
Description: Funding traveling exhibits of the most famous works of significant foreign language artists. Each of the four successive exhibits will last one week in February 2016 during World Language Month. Students will study artists lives and cultures.
Value: $1,426
Recipient: Anne Mapp, Enid Reed, Avory Harman


Title: Stimulate Student Learning with Probewear
Description: Probeware will be used by students in small groups to design and conduct investigations relating to photosynthesis and cellular respiration
Value: $1,943
Recipient: Kathryn Chall


J.B. Blayton Elementary School

Title: The SMART Project
Description: Students with identified Special Education needs will use a variety of resources to plan, research and develop interactive books that can be shared and used by other students with more significant cognitive disabilities within the school and district.
Value: $1,993
Recipient: Julia Henderson


Clara Byrd Baker Elementary School

Title: Gemini Discrete Video Modeling Program
Description: Video modeling is the most effective way to teach speech and language. Students who can make vocalizations and mimicking mouth movements are viewing the videos 3 times per day for 15 minutes each time
Value: $1,176
Recipient: Diane Howell


D.J. Montague Elementary School

Title: Summer Reading Program
Description: Identified students will be given Summer Literacy Bags to provide parents with appropriate materials to support their child’s reading and writing over the summer. Teachers will follow-up in the fall. Need expressed at parental involvement meetings.
Value: $750
Recipients: Maureen Jacobs, Cherie Lee


Title: Books on Bikes Williamsburg
Description: Books on Bikes is a community literacy program modeled after a program in Charlottesville. Teachers will deliver books to students at their homes to help reduce literacy loss during the summer.
Value: $800
Recipients: Sarah Wood


Matoaka Elementary School

Titles:  Victories with Versa Tiles and Mathematics Menagerie
Description: Versa Tiles provide a challenging puzzle with the purposeful practice of an activity book. It will reinforce skill-specific math activities allowing teachers to differentiate their classrooms. Mathematics Menagerie will enable purchasing research-based Classroom Learning Center Game Set for each third-grade classroom to provide engaging innovative math skills practice and allow the teacher to provide small group direct instruction.
Values: $820 and $489
Recipient: Rose Burwell


Title: STEM Tub Materials
Description: Students will be given a challenging question or picture of a real-world problem to open up discussion for learning. Students will be grouped into teams to use a myriad of items to engineer a solution and then draw conclusions about the activity by addressing the materials they used and how those materials impacted their design.
Value: $500
Recipient: Ashley Campbell


Title: Las Conexiones
Description: This multi-cultural language program will connect Matoaka Elementary School third graders and Jamestown High School students. High School students will plan and prepare interactive lessons to expose third graders to Spanish language and culture. Students will demonstrate their language to parents during a culminating lunch at a Mexican Restaurant.
Value: $545
Recipient: Kimberly Holloway


Rawls Byrd Elementary School

Title: See It, Picture It, Show It, Know it
Description: A camera in the hands of a child gives them the opportunity to capture real-life examples, sequences, effects, problems and solutions. Pictures become each child’s own personal learning materials. Provides durable digital cameras for students with special needs.
Value: $965
Recipients: Helen McClain, Carolyn Miller, Mary McGillvray


Title: Let’s Get Coding
Description: Students will use an iPad app called Macrolab to program a Sphero Ball to move, draw geometric shapes, travel specific time and distance, change colors, light up in specific patterns and Morse code. Learning objectives include problem solving, geometry, computation, percentages, time, measurement, mean, median, mode and calculation of data sets.
Value: $1,652
Recipient: Kristy Haight


Title: Lights, Camera, Read!
Description: Project pairs a traditional take-home reading program with technology using a portable video studio to create a video collection of books read aloud by WJCC students, staff, parents and community members. Videos will be uploaded to You Tube Library linked to school’s website for off-site access. Videos will be paired with books for students to take home and listen to/read along with the videos.
Value: $1,693
Recipients: Lisa Smith and Kelly LaPointe