For the 2004 – 2005 school year, 19 teachers were awarded MAD Grants. Ten teachers from Portland Schools in Oregon and 9 from the Highline School District 401 in Washington will received grants ranging from $182 to $938. A total of 174 applications were received from 58 schools.
In the Highline School District, grants allowed third graders at North Hill Elementary to end the year with a Potlatch. Madrona Elementary received extra funding for after-school clay classes. Seniors at Highline High School published a magazine and freshmen at Tyee High School visited the University of Washington, two downtown museums and the new Seattle library building: “It is our students’ hope that they will come back from this trip with a clear vision of the educational opportunities that are available to them in the Seattle area, a deeper understanding of Seattle’s history and culture, and a strong commitment to bringing a broadened world view back to their own communities,” wrote Tyee teachers Karen Ikegami and Andrea Gray in their application.
In Portland, an $800 grant helped build a climbing wall to serve students at the Marshall Campus. “My goal is to put together a ropes/challenge course and climbing wall that will serve all four of the small schools at Marshall Campus,” wrote Science teacher Christopher Stevens. “Our P.E. department would gain exciting alternatives to traditional gym classes. Our students and local community would have access to an activity that builds trust and self-confidence. These qualities are greatly needed in our community.” Smaller grants allowed Portsmouth Middle School to buy lab equipment for their science program and also moved and tuned their pianos. Fifth graders from Stephenson Elementary School received help paying for their Camp Collins outdoor experience and students at George Middle School received drafting equipment so teacher Daniel Siprian could demonstrate some “real life” uses for Math.
Here is a full list with descriptions:
8th Grade Physical Science Teacher
Portsmouth Middle School
Building an Inquiry Based Physical Science Lab Program
Our school is a high poverty, Title One middle school. Until this year, there was never a comprehensive science program in the 8th grade. Our 6th, 7th and 8th grade science programs have historically been lumped together with our district’s math curriculum. Because of lack of time, supplies and interest, science is usually given short shrift or taught out of the textbook with minimal labs.
Last year, we dedicated a 7th grade teacher to teach inquiry-based Earth Science and this year the administration asked me (a prior LA/SS teacher for four years) to build upon that success and become the inquiry-based Physical Science teacher.
When I came in this summer to take inventory of our lab materials (non-consumables as well as consumables), I was appalled by the amount of items that weren’t there. I have since been scrounging around the city (Wacky Willy’s, SCRAP, Goodwill), sending the students out on scavenging hunts and asking everyone I know to help stockpile supplies.
I firmly believe that all students have the right to explore/discover scientific principles and not just read about them. Your seed money would allow me 1) to purchase non-consumable lab equipment that our science programs could use for years to come and 2) continue teaching an inquiry-based approach to Physical Science.
Our students’ enthusiasm, curiosity and ability to “do” science has skyrocketed; parents are commenting that their children are coming home talking about science class, and membership in our after school science club (MESA) has boomed.
Clark Elementary & Kenton Elementary Schools
New Musical Instruments for our Music Program
This is my first year teaching music at Kenton and Clark Elementary Schools. The instruments here are old and most are in some state of disrepair. I have sent some to be repaired, if it can be done. These instruments would benefit the students by being nicer to play on than the old broken ones…[MAD Grants was not able to fund the entire request - $1,000 for each school – but we hope that the amount we were able to provide will purchase some of the smaller ticket items.]
George Middle School
Hands-on Math for Real-Life Fun
For years now I have been working to incorporate hands-on activities in my math classes to get students interested in applications that are real. For many kids, math is a tough subject because it seems so abstract and even useless. My students are very, very poor and hard to reach. Through teaching them drafting skills, not only have I been able to get them to see some real life uses of math, but some of them have gone on to seek more experiences in high school.
If I can show a student that all it takes is a ruler to make paper come alive with possibility, I believe I can reach them in tangible ways. At this time, my resources for teaching math through drafting are limited. This grant would allow me to outfit my whole class with drafting boards, rulers and t-squares. I know we would have a great time with them and that the students would be particularly excited to know they were given to us as a gift from people who care.
Language & History Teacher
Portsmouth Middle School
Pianos for Portsmouth
We have no music program, but we still have three pianos sitting useless. I work on the second floor, and there is no way to safely get one in to my room without professional piano movers. I've called many companies hoping to get them to donate or discount their cost for our poor school district and the children, but due to insurance costs they cannot risk it. I'm ready to pay for it myself, but it would be costly on my limited income. It costs approximately $100 dollars to get a company just to haul one piano upstairs. The pianos also need some tuning and repair – the other $150 that I seek.
Basically, it is a crime that we have the equipment but no funding for a music teacher. As a language and history teacher and accomplished pianist, I could easily incorporate music into my lessons and activities. We could write lyrics and music together that integrate their studies. Student learning and enjoyment would be greatly enhanced if I could get that piano upstairs!
4th/5th Grade Teacher
D. A. Grout Elementary School
Keeping our School Green and Clean
We would like to involve our third, fourth, and fifth grade students with keeping the front of our school looking good. The Parks Department regularly mows our front lawn, but the flowerbeds and flower containers do not get regular maintenance. Last year our kindergarten planted the flower containers and our school advisory board did some flower bed maintenance. We would like to systematically have more of our students involved in the care of this very visible area.
Toward that end, we would like to purchase a classroom set of gardening gloves (30) and half a classroom set of a variety of gardening tools such as hand trowels (5), hoes (2), weeders (2), clippers (2), and rakes (3). This is a great time of year to make that purchase as many of these items are on sale. The cost of all these items, priced at Fred Meyer, is right at $400. This would give us enough equipment to involve an entire class on a rotating basis in this clean-up and green-up project. We would like our older students to be a part of making their school look great. Thank you for your consideration.
Marshall High School
This year Marshall High School became the first school in Oregon to convert from a large comprehensive high school into four autonomous small schools housed in the same building. Two of the schools, Renaissance Arts Academy and the Linus Pauling Academy, have entered into a partnership with Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound. ELOB applies Outward Bound principles to classroom learning. One component of ELOB is building trust and cooperation through adventure and teamwork.
My goal is to put together a ropes/challenge course and climbing wall that will serve all four of the small schools at Marshall Campus. Our P.E. department would gain exciting alternatives to traditional gym classes. Our students and local community would have access to an activity that builds trust and self-confidence. These qualities are greatly needed in our community.
Once the program is fully operational, student leaders will host periodic adventure fairs for students from our feeder middle schools. The sustainability of a ropes course and climbing wall would allow for its use for many years.
ESL Teacher/Title I Coordinator
Woodmere Elementary School
I am writing this not because I am a grant writer, but because I am a teacher that has had a project in her heart for many years. As an ESL teacher, I work with many students every day, many of whom are English Language Learners (ELL). One of the things I have noticed over the years about working with these families is that when you show interest in their language and culture, they tend to sit up a little straighter, smile a little brighter, and raise their hand a little more often.
One of the reasons I want to display their country flags is that this one small way to show the students and their families that we, as a school and a community, value their culture and heritage. As a school I think we have done an excellent job over the years educating all the students in the classrooms about the different cultures we have at our school. The students respect and value each other’s languages, cultural differences and heritage. What we don’t have, though, is any way to visually represent these differences.
I think it would look so cool to walk into our cafeteria and look around and see all the countries that are represented in our school. I think this would show our ESL families that we value them. As a school with a large population of ELL students, I think this is a very important aspect in their educations.
I would like to purchase and display 3’ x 5’ polyester flags that represent the countries that the students in my school come from. They will be hung around the cafeteria so that all students and staff will see them every day. Each flag will be labeled for all to see and learn. To date, we have over 20 different countries represented at our school.
6th Grade Math & Science Teacher
Portsmouth Middle School
Let Everyone See!
The district has recently installed 32” TV monitors in our classroom. The intention is to show “Hola Hola” video programs for 6th graders. It seems a waste to have such a beautiful TV for just this one purpose. My idea is to plug my classroom computer into the TV so everyone in the class can “surf the Web” together.
I have also been collecting computers from other teachers who are tired of having to troubleshot their computers. At this time I have seven student computers in the room. Since they are all on a network, I have the capacity to link computers so that everyone in the room could view a presentation or report from anyone in the room.
To view a computer signal on the monitor requires a piece of equipment called a “scan converter” and a connector cable. Having the capacity to view student work in the classroom as a group, and to explore the intent for research, and potentially video streaming, would be a great resource for my students and myself.
Stephenson Elementary School
Camp Collins Outdoor Experience
The YMCA Camp Collins outdoor experience is specific to all 65 fifth grade students at Stephenson Elementary School in Portland Public. This will be the ninth school year Stephenson Elementary School has engaged in the Camp Collins outdoor experience where students learn in a natural outdoor setting.
The purpose of this experience is two-fold: First, all students continue to engage and learn teaming and problem-solving skills with same age peers during the two day and overnight experience. This helps students with the transition process to Jackson Middle school, in that camp counselors and teachers are available to assist students problem solve possible situations and work together in a positive environment.
Second, within the setting of YMCA Camp Collins the students engage and learn in a natural science environment and engage in experiments and learning activities. All topics, activities, and outcomes are district approved and align with state curriculum standards and benchmarks. All students have access to this trip and none are denied the experience because of lack of funds or disability. All students with disabilities or other special needs are included, and are provided with additional assistance if needed to succeed in this environment. The principal, fifth grade teachers, parent volunteers, and students work together to make this a successful experience for all.
The cost of the trip has increased significantly each year students have attended. The total cost of the trip this year is $6,100. This amount includes $88.00 per student, and $44.00 per teacher and each parent volunteer. In addition to this, two busses are required to transport students to and from the camp for a cost average of $750 to $900. With school budgets shrinking year to year we have had to look at all alternative means of support to continue this experience for our fifth grade students. All monies raised, donated, or awarded through grants will be applied and divided equally for each student to offset the total cost. All students will benefit equally and scholarships will be awarded to those students who demonstrate financial need.
We hope to continue the YMCA Camp Collins Outdoor Experience for the fifth grade class for years to come, as it is a memorable and highly valuable learning experience.
Highline School District 401
Valley View Elementary
My kindergarten classroom has a 5th/6th grade buddy class in our building. I contacted at local retirement center to build an intergenerational connection throughout the year. We will visit their home, and they will come to our school to share books, personal stories, sing songs, present cards and projects and to watch our play performances. The retirement center has visited our school once this year and we are scheduled to visit them twice in the next two months, for starters.
I am asking for funds to take a culminating field trip together at the end of the school year. The Seattle Aquarium of the Woodland Park Zoo may be a great location. This way our “Grandparent Friends” can help us learn about our animal science unit. I need approximately 50 student and 25 adult entrance fees and a school bus for the students.
I believe this relationship fosters positive interactions in all directions. The students work on reading/writing/art/social skills, as well as all the children get to know the “grandparents.” It is important for young children to build an appreciation and respect for people outside their age group. In addition, they are learning and gaining a better understanding of differences, compassion, aging, history, and friendship … all while they are having fun! The parties involved would benefit, but also the greater community.
4th Grade Teacher
Madrona Elementary School
After School Art Program Supplies
The after school art program is funded solely by donations and the generosity of the teacher. Recently, an artist, whose specialty is pottery, has volunteered to teach lessons with clay. The end result would be a beautiful mural for Madrona’s brand new and bare hallways. The teacher and artist are donating their time. However, the pre-cut clay slabs, glazes and tools need to be purchase. Not only will the students in this program benefit from creating a beautiful piece of sculpture for their school, but they will also provide their community with an excellent reason to have pride.
3rd Grade Teacher
Midway Elementary School
My Place in Space
Social Studies is included on the report card for third graders, but if you check the curriculum page for the Highline School District you will find that there is no adopted Social Studies text for third grade students.
Martha Arneson has created a wonderful map unit for our students. We would like to use classroom sets of atlases and several read aloud books with this unit.
Certified Language Arts Teacher
Highline High School
Pirate’s Pen Magazine
The purpose of the grant is to fund the 12th grade Creative Writing magazine. The Creative Writing students spend the entirety of the semester rigorously producing high quality publishable writing. At the end of the semester they collaborate to create a class magazine containing their own poetry, short stories, memoirs, descriptions and artwork.
Publishing student work is an integral part of the Creative Writing curriculum as it assigns relevance to that work. One of the Washington State Essential Academic Learning Requirements is that students will produce a legible, professional-looking final product. This grant will afford students the opportunity to participate in the publishing process and see their work in a format in which students, parents, teachers and community members can take pride.
Marvista Elementary School
Can you imagine studying a period of history and then having a group of people dressing, acting and talking like those historical folks walk into your room? It happened at our school two years ago and we’d like to see it happen again. The students still reminisce about that day and how they were able to aim a musket, hold coins and lead “bullets,” try their hand at weaving and spinning, and then ask questions of real people whose hobby is to be experts on what life was like around the Revolutionary War. The visit takes place in the middle of the unit, so the kids have developed some background knowledge, but then are able to add more to their schema as a result of physically partaking in a small recreation of life over 200 years ago.
Pacific Middle School
What did Tycho Alba Eat for Dinner?
We are requesting money to purchase 120 owl pellets and supplementary materials, so students in groups of three can dissect an owl pellet to determine what the owl ate for dinner. Students will mount the skeleton on card stock, label the parts of the skeleton and use a dichotomous key to help identify the remains. In this investigation students will review predator-prey relationships, the difference between a food chain and a food web. During this laboratory activity students will learn about a type of protein called enzymes and their role in digestion.
As a teacher who has administered the 8th grade science WASL for the past four years, there is a need for reviewing/teaching these concepts. Students really enjoy solving the mystery of what Tycho Alba (the barn owl) ate for dinner and learn a lot from doing this hands-on activity. Budgets are very small this year and it will be difficult to provide this opportunity without your help. Having these supplies would contribute to allowing our students to do more activities that make science fun to learn and help students maintain a high level of interest in science.
9th Grade Teachers
Tyee High School
Improving our Community
Through conversations with our students, we have heard them express the need and desire to improve their community. However, many of the students have done little travel or exploration outside of the communities in which they live and function. As a result, the students often feel that their ability to imagine or implement improvements is limited to what they have experienced in their own lives.
Part of the desire to improve the communities around them is closely tied to the hope for a better future. Often, this involves plans to go to college. Many of the adults in our students’ lives cannot provide the support, information, or resources their children will need to learn about and attend college. In addition to the college experience, our students have expressed that they would like to understand the other educational opportunities available to them in this region. Our students envision an opportunity to educate themselves in a new environment and then communicate their experiences to their peers back at home.
With the resources made available by this grant, we hope to provide our students with an eye-opening and educational experience. We feel that a trip to Seattle, because it is very close to the SeaTac/Burien area, will offer our students a vision of several opportunities that are immediately available to them. In addition to a visit to a local college, we would like to encourage the students to experience the wealth of culture, history, and resources that exist right next door to their own community. The students in our Mentorship classes introduced the idea of an exploratory trip to Seattle and, when informed about the availability of this grant, began researching possible destinations. The trip will include a morning visit to the University of Washington, lunch and the choice of one of three educational afternoon sessions at the Seattle Underground Tour, the Seattle Art Museum, or the Central Library.
It is our students’ hope that they will come back from this trip with a clear vision of the educational opportunities that are available to them in the Seattle area, a deeper understanding of Seattle’s history and culture, and a strong commitment to bringing a broadened world view back to their own communities. During the trip, students will be guided to reflect on and process their experiences through writing and discussion. It is the students’ wish that, upon return, they will educate their peers about what they did and learned through thoughtful presentations. In this way, they feel that the funds provided will benefit students outside the Mentorship class. By providing students with this experience, you will be helping them to create realistic and tangible goals that will help focus their academic and extracurricular lives and encourage that same focus in their communities.
3rd Grade Teacher
North Hill Elementary School
The third grade team has the daunting job of teaching our students about Native American cultures. We have a special focus on NW Coastal cultures and would love to end the unit with a Potlatch. For each child to sample some smoked salmon would cost approximately $150. For each child to make a small craft to exchange would cost approximately $150 in beads, feathers, and shells. What a great way to end the year!
Evergreen High School
It Doesn’t Matter Where You’re Going, If You Don’t Know Where You Are
As a science teacher, I noticed that my students had great variations in their mathematical knowledge, often too low for rigorous scientific investigations. I am deeply troubled by both facts and asked my principal for two classes of algebra to teach. This is my third year as a science/math ‘hybrid’ teacher.
Last year, I borrowed a total of three widely varying GPS units from WSU and my neighbor and crudely mapped out the coordinates of our school. My students were so very proud of their results and many teachers were excited and impressed by their knowledge and enthusiasm.
With eight GPS units, I can streamline our school community’s learning and enhance communication among my science and math colleagues. A uniform Magellan GPS system platform will give us the ability to cross-train, assign target locations and other genuine and total physical response projects to students to personalize their learning and integrate data collection, graphing, and problem solving.
More than half of our students are below grade in math, and part of their deficiency can be more than compensated by this learning-by-doing model. I will take it upon myself to maximally share this technology with my nine other colleagues. Proper accounting and maintenance will be my responsibility.
Valley View Alternative Elementary School
Reach for the Stars
Students of all ages are fascinated by the subject of space travel and astronomy. I teach an after school reading program centered around astronomy, designed to raise the reading ability level of struggling fourth through sixth grade students. By using a high interest topic, our “Valley View Astronomers” are drawn into reading material well beyond their usual scope. Students have a chance to become “experts” on subject matter from NASA websites and to create and propose solutions to NASA design challenges.
In an after school environment, students are encouraged to work in cross-age and cross-ability partnerships that foster the development of self-esteem. By building self-confidence in struggling readers, their reading productivity increases and correspondingly their reading ability level. In the process we are learning a great deal to meet the state science requirements about Earth and Space Systems.
As a teacher I can share my experiences in attending “Space Camp” as a Boeing Space Educator, but attending a simulated space mission themselves is a more powerful learning event. For this MAD Grant, I propose to use the funding to prepare and take the “Valley View Astronomers” on a simulated “Challenger Mission to the Moon” held at the Seattle based “Museum of Flight.”
The purpose of the field trip to the “Challenger Mission to the Moon” would be to provide additional incentive to read non-fiction text. This type of material is often the most challenging for struggling readers, yet one of the most important for them as they approach secondary school math and science. The Museum of Flight has an eight-week lab-packet of inquiry-based curriculum dealing directly with preparation for the mission that includes lunar geology, chemistry and physics of flight.
Students will read ANYTHING to get to go on the mission. Comprehension is high because the stakeholders – the students – are highly motivated. Students work in cooperative teams as paired mission specialists, increasing their ability to share reading, writing and communication skills. As part of their general background knowledge to prepare them for the mission we will also be reading high interest low ability level books on space-related subjects. We will also launch “pop bottle water rockets” to help understand the physics of space flight. Reading information on space travel in high interest low ability level books, reading directions on how to launch water bottle rockets and reading instructions during the “Challenger Mission to the Moon” will provide a great deal of literacy interaction for excited young astronomers!