SEF awards grants totaling $8,358
for the 2020-21 school year
Grants are made possible with investment funds earned from endowments and donations.
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Just click on the DONATIONS tab at the top of this page.
Ken Beck, Physics, Solon High School
I have taken over teaching physics this year, which will include teaching ALL students physics in the coming years. With that challenge, I am looking to add some technology and equipment to our labs involving acceleration. Student phones now make incredible video cameras, and analysis of slow motion video has come a long way. In my new room, we have access to televisions and projectors that are mounted, and my hope is to use six sets of adapters (HDMI to lightning, USB C to USB, and HDMI cables) to plug student phones into the televisions. Students will then be able to analyze data as a group from one person's phone. In addition to that, I am looking to purchase two more tracks for our low friction cars and two more fan accessories. Thank you for your consideration and all you do to support teachers.
Samantha Brimeyer, Kindergarten, Lakeview Elementary School
Students learn best when they are actively engaged and genuinely interested in their own learning! One of the best ways to provide this active engagement is through hands-on materials and manipulatives. I am requesting a wide variety of math manipulatives for students to use for years to come. These materials include: Unfix cubes, rekenreks, geoboards, color tiles, dice, counters, pattern blocks, geometric solids, balances, attribute blocks and centimeter cubes (detailed list and links, including prices can be found below). Providing students with these hands-on manipulatives allows math learning to come “alive,” and it allows students to be actively engaged in their math learning. Rather than being told how math works by me (the teacher), these materials will allow students to work individually and in small groups to figure out how math works, with my scaffolding to support them. These materials would allow students to solve math problems and test their math reasoning. And above all, using these hands-on math materials would make learning math more enjoyable for students. These materials would be immediately used upon receipt, and they would continue to be used for many years by many Solon students. Thank you for your consideration and time.
Kerri Coons, TAG, K-12
Each year we are tasked with meeting the needs of all students and while it is an easy statement to make, reaching this goal is a very difficult task. As so much information was shared in a virtual setting last spring and into the summer, I became aware of the Virtual Math Summit produced by Building Math Minds. I have attended conferences where I was able to choose which sessions to attend but this platform allowed me to choose every session from the comfort of my living room! I was able to see various strategies and techniques to help students understand the why of mathematics and not just the ‘how to’s’ of solving problems. It is this type of learning that I believe gives us the platform to begin to reach every student in our buildings with their pursuit in unlocking the wonder and mystery of mathematics.
As I sat in Collaborative Learning Teams over the summer and the beginning of this school year, I realized the value of being able to share my learning from the Math Summit/BMM website with others in our district as it would benefit so many of our students. I am asking the SEF to consider reimbursing the $39 per month (for school months) cost of these resources for a total of $350.
My position this year has changed some because I am currently the only TAG teacher in the district. I will be utilizing more time collaborating with Instructional Coaches, CLT teams as well as individual classroom teachers at each building and see this as a valuable tool/resource to use in creating shared terminology, understanding of best mathematical practices, and resources. Additionally, many of the speakers and resources in this site, already tie into the work groups of our math teachers have already been using.I believe using this information with gifted students would be beneficial because oftentimes they know how to solve math problems, but do not understand the why of the problem itself.
While this site lists that it is intended to provide resources primarily for students in grades Pre-K-5th grade, I believe Samantha Kaplan would also benefit from learning these strategies and techniques to help some of our students who need Math intervention at SMS. If she has a greater understanding of the progression and process from earlier grades, she can be more diagnostic in addressing their current needs. I also see myself sharing this information with Jen O’Hare and Emily Moser as these buildings and teachers begin to work on a more systematic approach to mathematics at the elementary level.
In closing, I would like to thank you all for your work and dedication in supporting our school district and providing additional resources to make it even better! I also appreciate your consideration of my request.
Keith Duster, Building Trades Instructor, Solon High School
A part of our Construction Material Processing (CMP) coursework involves home framing. While it is possible to work with real framing lumber to build small projects, understanding of the entire home building process can be achieved with home framing model kits. We have not added this element to our curriculum yet. Midwest Technology is an Iowa based business that provides kits that are designed to be used in the classroom to advance learning of basic building framing processes. The hands-on practice at small scale allows students to gain understanding of the wood framing process. These building kits can be 'refilled' after each class with a lower cost set of parts, since the plans and instructions can be reused. This means we can use district curriculum funds to continue providing this type of learning to future classes. This SEF funding round would be used to fulfill the needs of our CMP courses.
Hilary Gerk, 1st grade, Lakeview Elementary
I am working towards the goal of racially balancing the classroom library in my first grade classroom. My goal is to enhance the racial diversity present in the texts in the classroom library in order to provide Solon students great access and experience with racial diversity. For many Solon students, racially diverse experiences are not significant part of their school or community experiences. I feel strongly that diverse experiences, diverse understandings, and diverse acceptance needs to be especially emphasized for Solon students. My goal in diverse balancing of my classroom library, would be to provide students greater access, through text, to diverse experiences. The SEF funds would be used to purchase Book Source text sets with diverse representation. This is only part of what I'm hoping to add over time and would be seeking additional district funding to continue adding to my library. My current classroom library has only around 30% diverse representation in the book characters. These additional texts would allow me to move my racially diverse representation to around 40%, with the goal of becoming fully balanced (50% racially diverse representation in the text of the classroom library) in future years with future funds.
Kate Gordon, 8th Grade Language Arts, Solon Middle School
I am requesting for the 2nd year for funds to purchase books for my 8th grade ELA classroom. Last year I witnessed excitement about reading when kids were given the opportunity to order books they wanted to read or recommend books for me to purchase that they loved and wanted others to read. The volume of books checked out from my classroom skyrocketed last year. The joy of reading was being shared among the kids. In addition, with the COVID pandemic going on, our kids' access to books is more limited this year, with popular titles having to sit in "quarantine" for several days before going out again, I'd like to increase the number of available popular titles. My proposal is to let students choose and order books they want on the shelves and they feel their classmates will want to read as well. By having this funding, I'd be able to let the students get on Amazon, shop for the book they are requesting, and have it delivered to our classroom for them to open and add to the shelf. This would be an addition of roughly 40 new titles. Not only would we be increasing the accessible texts to our readers, but giving them ownership and pride. I love the excitement a good book creates and how we can work to make all of our students view themselves as readers.
Kaitlin Hatcher, Science, Solon High School
The science department has a number photo gate probes that require a power supply to operate. This grant would be used to purchase the power supply and 2 more sensors. These sensors provide very accurate timing of events involving rolling objects, pendulums, collisions, etc. These probes can also be hooked up in succession to record split times and acceleration. Thank you for your consideration!
Jan Johnson, 2nd grade, Lakeview Elementary School
Students LOVE a good picture book. The books that 2nd grade is looking to purchase would allow connections to be made from quality literature to a variety of mathematical concepts. Connections when learning abstract concepts can assist in a student's understanding, retention and application of these topics. These books will also give students concrete examples to provide relevancy of the math concept in our world.
Emily Korth, Math, Solon Middle School
Go Formative! is a web-based app that allows teachers to create digital formative assignments for their students. This allows teachers to provide multiple ways for students to practice the concepts and material and to demonstrate their understanding of the information. Teachers are also able to provide individualized feedback to each student based on their performance. As math teachers, we have been looking for online resources that fit the standard for personalized learning, and Go Formative provides many different options to help us reach that goal. There are multiple ways for students to show their understanding of the math standards - for example, students can easily input equations, show their work, create graphs, and categorize information. As educators, it provides a dashboard for us to monitor student growth and highlight students who need additional help in certain areas. Over the last few weeks, we have already found success with using this Go Formative resource and the free premium trial provided; especially when some students are quarantined at home, we have found that Go Formative allows us to monitor student growth whether they are at school in-person or at home. Additionally, by applying for a Small Team License, we are both saving money and building in more ways to collaborate as a math team. By following this link: https://goformative.com/pricing you are able to see the price differences (including the savings of buying an annual package instead of a monthly one, as well as the differences between individual teacher premium prices and small group cost), as well as the various features provided at each level. Our math team believes that the Go Formative resource will be highly valuable and helpful for the success of our students, and look forward to developing our lessons with this resource in mind. Thank you for your consideration.
Ivy Nielsen, Language Arts, Solon High School
The English Language Arts department is continuing its initiative to improve literacy by offering students more choice in their reading. Classroom libraries have been shown to increase the amount of reading students do. Especially now that browsing the media center is difficult, students are using my classroom library for their Sustained Silent Reading books. We would like to order more e-books this year to serve students who are quarantined and address the possibility of online learning. We order most of our books through Amazon with assistance from Amanda Stahle and input from students. This is the list I used last year: https://bit.ly/3hVGRvg
Jennifer Noonan, 8th grade Language Arts, Solon Middle School
Reading is a foundational skill for leading a literate life. An important goal is to in my classroom is to maintain a reading habit in the busy lives of Solon students. Research shows that availability of books is a major motivating factor to get teens to read. One way I attempt for student's to have access and choice in reading is through our classroom library. For the past few years, SEF has continued to grant my request for funding to be used to enable students to immediately order books they want to read. This allowed students choice in selecting books and also receive them quickly which has been extremely motivating for them! My Twitter feed from last year shares examples of this in action. Typically, I use Amazon to order the books from as the shipping happens quickly, but I do look for best pricing of the requested titles. Funding for this request is always a struggle, especially with all that has been happening in our world this past year, so I would sincerely appreciate SEF considering my request again to make this possible for my 8th grade readers. This project would continue throughout the 2020-21 school year. I sincerely appreciate your consideration once again!
Sara Pflughaupt, Teacher Librarian, K-12
I am requesting funding to purchase 7 Hummingbird Duo MakeCode Bundles and 2 Hummingbird Duo Cases to help bring computer science to life for students in grades K-12. The Hummingbird Kits (https://www.birdbraintechnologies.com/) consist of lights, sensors, and motors which allow students to build a robot out of almost any material. These kits would be used to introduce students and teachers to the joys of making while introducing them to the concepts of engineering design and computer science.
Dawn Posekany, Science, Solon High School
Since 2012, students have benefited from collaborations with each other and our community through a community book read and discussion. I hope to continue this amazing experience through video conferencing this year. I have not yet made up my mind on a book. Currently, the front runner is "The Body" by Bill Bryson. However, only hardcover books are available for this title at about $20 each. I will be working with our district media specialist, Sara Pflughaupt and SHS media associate March Sutton to look into Kindle and other options. I am hopeful to receive funds to provide copies of books for the classes, community members, and interested teachers and parents. I anticipate a need of 40 copies (of some version).
Dawn Posekany, Science, Solon High School
I have been searching for hands-on activities that can be used to support the anatomy and physiology curriculum for students. Science Take-Out kits provide a variety of simulations, labs, and hands-on models for students to take a more active role in understanding body functions. One bundle I have my eye on is a sequence of activities for identifying a kidney problem, understanding dialysis, and then finding a kidney donor match. Find this at: https://www.sciencetakeout.com/product/kidney-kit-bundle/
Funding for this grant made possible by the Solon Math + Science Boosters
Stephanie Reiter, 1st grade, Lakeview Elementary School
The Leveled Take-Home Library allows students to have “just right” or “good fit” books to read each night. This is a great opportunity for students to read leveled books at home. Reading nightly for at least 20 minutes is critical to a child’s reading growth. With the Leveled Take-Home Library, students will get books weekly at their exact independent reading level so that you know the books they are reading at home are a good fit for each individual! With that said, I am requesting book pouches for students to be able to take and return books back to Lakeview. Having enough book pouches for all my students will help reduce the Ziploc bags that we go through during the school year.
Carol Ann Richards, Special Education, Solon High School
A laminator would be appreciated for the High School Special Education Classroom for several reasons. Laminating certain items make them durable and reusable. For instance, a laminated job application can be reused for repeated practice for one student and then this same form can be passed onto another student. This saves paper in the end. Some students require fine motor accommodations for writing. Lamination allows students to use a larger marker. Also, laminated sheets demand less hand and finger muscle energy to create print compared to the strength and fine motor skills needed for typical writing using pencil and paper.
A subscription to the Solon Economist Newspaper
Having this subscription would give students the opportunity to read the newspaper weekly. Reading the headlines, news articles, captions, weather, shopping ads, want ads, and school events can create many opportunities for literacy learning capturing different reading. In addition, learning and conversations will be focused around community news, reading the sales ads, learning how to make a grocery list, and budgeting. The students have adopted a hallway bulletin board at the high school entitled “Who’s in the News”. After reading the paper, they will clip out photos of peers appearing in the news.
Tim Sheeley, Engineering/STEM, Solon High School
I am requesting funds to connect our STEM with the arts = STEAM…through NGSS core content. Students will learn about the science of sound, extend their understandings across curricula to music and create personal beats with engineering technology! Specifically I am asking for $670 to purchase a Nunmark mixdeck DJ system and a littleBits Electronics Synth Kit from Sphereo. ($500 & $170) Through this purchase I want to expose kids to experiences that will (1) ENGAGE as they likely would not do this at home and (2) ENDURE by providing opportunities for fun memories. Lessons “stick” through student-centered projects where learners think critically, collaborate, and persevere in creating a completely unique product or process. See the attached links for the story of a teacher using this digital turntable to teach STEAM…as well as videos showcasing littleBits and noting multiple educational/tech awards. Teacher Turntable https://emu.edu/now/news/2015/music-teacher-uses-music-mixing-technology-to-engage-young-djs-in-stem-learning/
Funding for this grant made possible by the Solon Math + Science Boosters
Robert Taylor, Language Arts, Solon High School
With all of the flexibility built into this year, the English Department at the high school is discussing how we can add more eBooks to our classroom library selection. I am hoping to use the SEF grant to acquire more digital titles (probably through the media center's online checkout system) that students will be able to check out and read in case we are asked to learn from home for an extended period of time. This will benefit our students no matter which forms their learning takes this and future school years, and it will allow us to be flexible with the way we provide reading opportunities for our students.