In the last four years, the Worthington Education Foundation is proud to have awarded more than $60,000 in grants. These grants have funded innovative projects such as:
Chamber Orchestra Master Classes – $500
Submitted by Ryan Alexis, Music Teacher
Kilbourne Middle School
Funds will provide personnel and administration for three master classes taught by professional musicians from the McConnell Arts Center Chamber Orchestra for Kilbourne Middle School flute, clarinet and trumpet students. The master classes will be scheduled in January and early February prior to the February 18 concert. The entire project budget is in conjunction with the MAC.
Gardening for Picky Eaters and Sensory Processing – $1800
Submitted by Maria Gardner
Sutter Park Preschool
The goal is to provide gardening experiences throughout the school year with a combination of indoor and outdoor activities that promote healthy eating habits among our picky eaters and provide sensory exploration. It is anticipated that students who participate will have improved communication skills, academics, self regulation and social skills.
Sensory Equipment for Structured Communication Learning Center – $1400
Submitted by Allison Kestner, Tori Lowman, Courtney Cavener, SCLC Team
Bluffsview Elem School
This grant is to create and provide a sensory room with equipment to students in the Structured Communication Learning Center (SCLC). The SCLC serves 18 students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) kindergarten through sixth grade. Students with ASD often display problematic behavior that is related to their ability to effectively process sensory information. This equipment will allow kids to get their sensory needs met in safe and appropriate ways and return to learning with increased focus and relaxation, which in turn will promote deeper cognitive development.
P.U.R.P.O.S.E. – $1500
Submitted by Adrienne Carr, Dean
Thomas Worthington High School
People Using Raw Potential Optimizing Student Excellence (PURPOSE) is a group founded in Spring 2016 by a TWHS student who saw the need to target students in need of self-esteem and self-development. Funds will be utilized to build and implement a research-based, one-year program to equipment student with hope. Students measuring in the lowest 30% academically are the target. Student participants are invited to learn skills for school success, self reflection and how to contribute to their community.
Sensory Sense! – $1400
Submitted by Kate Basom, Laura Short, Susan Richter, Krista Smart
Worthington Estates ES
This project will create student-centered access to sensory activities in the classrooms and other work spaces, including an alternative break space. There is interest in developing a lending library and a sensory room. Students who have difficulty self-regulating will have access to more tools. A teacher survey will be completed to evaluate the impact the classroom tools have on students.
Hands and Voices of Hope – $4300
Submitted by Patrick Callaghan, Director of Elementary Education
Worthington City Schools
Inspired by the Columbus-based “Harmony Project”, this grant is intended to create a vehicle to develop academic support, life skills and charter with underperforming students in grades 4-6 in all eleven elementary schools. Student participants will take on the role of “character ambassadors” in their schools in order to develop leadership. The program will culminate with a public celebration including parents, teachers and invited community members through music and written student reflections. After the inaugural year, support will be requested from elementary PTAs and local businesses and the Elementary Education Department budget.
School Garden – $4300
Submitted by Traci Funk, Tracy Ruffing, Megan Guyer, Andrea Jewett, Lizzie Perilman, Mandy Ballreich & Tina Swearengin
Granby Elementary School
The mission of the project is to improve the mental and physical health and well-being of all students by providing opportunities for real-world learning, problem solving, and critical thinking through hands-on experiences in an innovative outdoor classroom. The grant award will fund a part of a project to include a school garden, permanent shade structure and outdoor seating. The Garden Planning Team has researched design, sustainability and long-term use. Students invited to design the garden and some grade levels voted on their favorite designs. The Planning Team is using elements from each winning entry. Teachers, students and families will plant, maintain and harvest the garden through the school year and summer months.
WKHS Greenhouse – $1075
Submitted by Susan Hrenko and Casey Goff, Intervention Specialists
Worthington Kilbourne HS
Students will gain the skills and understanding of how to plant, grow, and harvest food. Principals, guidance counselors, and staff will take the opportunity to reach out to families explaining the project and confirm a desire for their student and family to participate. There are minimal costs after initial start-up. Seeds will be available through the annual Seed Sharing Program - Growing to Green, at Franklin Park Conservatory, at no cost. A school garden teaches students many life lessons including time management, teamwork, and responsibility.
Field Trip, Movement Lab – $1000
Submitted by Elizabeth Mills and Krista Siebert, Structured Communication Learning Center
Slate Hill Elementary School
Funds will support a field trip to the Movement Lab five times during the 2017-2018 academic year for six students in grades Kindergarten through Grade 3 in the Structured Communication Learning Center. This provides an outlet for optimizing behavior, focus and attention for learning along with a therapeutic approach to reaching IEP goals. (Partial Funding)
Math Reads – $767
Submitted by David Signet
Slate Hill Elementary School
Funds will purchase the Grade 5 Math Reads program which provides support to classroom teacher by integrating children’s literature into math instruction. Connection to standards of mathematical practice and Common Core standards is provided. Books and corresponding lessons will be utilized at the beginning and end of each unit to engage students and stimulate their imaginations. This will be utilized with seventy fifth grade students and will be introduced to every Math teacher in the building.
Responsive Classroom To Meet the Whole Child’s Needs (Training) – $2187
Submitted by Catie Fisher, Lindsey Danhoff, Angela Evans, Teachers at Evening Street Elementary; Sara Dale and Sarah Tsung, Julie Payne, Instructional Coach (Partial Funding)
Grant allows two teachers to attend the Responsive Classroom Course in July and one to attend the Advanced course. Professional development will be offered at the building and district level by the attendees. The philosophy ensures the teaching and learning environments respond to the needs of the students both academically and in a social-emotional format. In this model, teachers are responsive to the needs of students not reactive.
Make Me More Interesting: Yes, I Can Play the Ukulele! – $975
Submitted by Joy Nieto and Jacob Reed, General Music
Worthingway Middle School (Partial Funding)
Funds support the purchase of thirteen ukuleles to be utilized in the general music class. This hands-on learning opportunity allows students to practice rhythm, melodic patterns, improvisation and compose/arrange music in the treble clef. Currently, students learn the basics of a drum and piano keyboard. This will be their only exposure to a stringed instrument. The Music budget will be used to purchase music and composition books. Instruments will be used with at least forty students.
Transition Work Experiences – Expanded – $2806
Submitted by Kelly Marshall and Jill Zingery, Training Specialist and Job Training Consultant,
TWKS and WKHS (Partial)
This grant expands on items purchased through a WEF grant awarded in Fall 2016. CVS will donate shelving, signage, training materials and products to create a mock store to be housed at Worthington Academy. The project will be used to enhance student work experiences while participating in transition courses deigned to prepare students with disabilities for supported or competitive employment during or after high school. The project will ensure students have meaningful and realistic transition work experiences.
The Poets Song – $500
Submitted by Jacob Reed, Music Educator and Tricia Merenda, ELA Coordinator
This is an interdisciplinary collaboration between students, a poet and teacher/composer. The poet will visit Creative Writing classes to engage students in a poetry analysis. The Composer will compose new music for three poems which will be premiered by a guest Soprano at a concert open to the public. Students will broaden their understanding of the creative process and enhance or extend their communication and public expression skills. The MAC is providing funds for the performance and other commission fees.
Sensory Items for Special Needs – $3582
Submitted by Anna Baehr
Grant will provide sensory supplies to sixteen individuals with severe special needs in order to determine which way sensory integrated learning positively affects student behaviors in the classroom. Students involved display severe problem behavior including self-injury, harmful behaviors to others, hand flapping, rocking, screaming, etc. The goal is to provide sensory activities to help students remain calm behavior with more lasting results.
Self-Regulation Supports – $960
Submitted by Kris Brainard, Brian Brunswick, Allison Kraft, Kelly Marshall
TWHS, WKHS and Kilbourne Middle (Partial)
Grant will support the purchase of books and classroom resources for the Behavior Learning Centers across the high schools and at one middle school to assist with instruction in social emotional skills. Curriculum enhancements will have components of prioritizing and goal setting, social skills, emotion regulation, and self management skills. Long term impact is to prepare students for success after high school.
The Walking Classroom – $3750
Submitted by Arin Kress
Worthington Estates Elementary School
This project aims to increase student comprehension and focus by allowing students the opportunity to walk while learning an academic lesson via podcast. Lessons are geared toward literacy, science, health and social studies and meet the Common Core standards. The lessons last about 15 minutes each and students participate in a discussion after each lesson. The primary target is a 4th grade class with sixty students.
Portable Suspended Swing System for Students with Sensory Needs – $2644
Submitted by Krista Seibert and Carrie Wooten, Structured Communication Learning Center
Slate Hill Elementary School
Funds will be used to purchase a portable suspended swing system that can be quickly setup and taken down in the classroom for students in grades kindergarten through grade three, many of which came from Sutter Park Preschool where swings were located in the classroom. Being able to continue this sensory opportunity for the students on the autism spectrum helps optimize behavior, focus and attention for learning.
Kinesthetic Classroom Desks – $3450
Submitted by Emily Lazar, Occupational Therapist and Melanie Ness, Behavior Learning Center
Granby Elementary School
Students who thrive on experiencing, touching, and moving within their environment are considered kinesthetic learners and learn best when they are completely engaged in the learning process. By providing students the opportunity to move while learning allows students to be immersed in the educational process throughout the day. Funds will purchase three individual desks that are all different.
Flexible Movement Seating – $1918
Submitted by Traci Funk, Megan Guyer and Tracy Ruffing
Grant allows students to explore flexible seating with movement within all three classrooms for a total of 72 students. Options include Zuma rocking chairs (calm rocking motion), balance balls (build core strength), wobble cushions and bouncy bands (light bouncing). Students are provided the choice for their seating and will investigate which choices help them learn best. The pilot in one grade will hopefully expand to the entire school.
Flex Your Space – $7349
Submitted by Arin Kress, Tori McCloud,
Funds will create student-centered flexible seating classrooms that offer alternative learning styles to increase student engagement, participation and learning. This will expand on their current flexible seating and alternative learning options. The products will be offered to teachers throughout the entire school via a lending library. The school’s PTA and 3D Innovations have provided an additional $1514 for the project. Four seating options, an adjustable table, four types of sensory/attention materials and four floor items will be purchased.
Classroom Sensory Supports to Optimize Learning – $1044
Submitted by Erin Engstrom and Julie Griffith, School Psychologists
Wilson Hill Elementary School
Children have difficulty regulating environmental stimuli due to sensory system deficits. Sensory kits will be provided to each classroom in the elementary school to address students’ sensory needs. Students will utilize the items to help them maintain focus and optimize learning. This has the potential to benefit 502 students.
We All Scream for Water Streams – $500
Submitted by James Canterbury, Mary Spencer, Kevin Swabb and Joy Nieto
Water streams help with a conceptual understanding of how rivers behave, including water-induced and topsoil erosion. Eight Hubbard Scientific Stream Table kits will be purchased. The school’s Science budget will be utilized to purchase sand, clay, topsoil and other materials to support inquiry into the behavior of water. The hands-on learning will take place in small lab groups.
Kirwan Institute Implicit Bias Training – $375
Submitted by Natalie Fei
Worthingway Middle School
Worthingway Middle School has a diverse student population with more than forty percent of students identifying as part of one or more minority group. There can be challenges in working effectively with a more diverse student population due to our implicit biases, or our unconscious reactions and judgments of different people. The Kirwan Institute at The Ohio State University is the leading research agency on how our unconscious biases shape our beliefs, attitudes and behavior. Through their training, the Kirwan Institute teaches how our minds operate, how these biases affect us in the real world, and how we can guard ourselves against our own biases. This is a one-time, ninety-minute training that will be presented to the entire staff on May 2, 2017.
Transition Work Experiences – $2780
Submitted by Kelly Marshall and Jill Zingery, Secondary Transition Specialists
The project will enhance student work experiences while participating in transition courses at TWHS and WKHS. Transition courses are designed to prepare students with disabilities for supported or competitive employment after high school graduation. Students participate in unpaid internships at school-based or community-based worksites where they learn real life job skills. Mock employability supplies will be purchased for classroom use to make connections to the workplace.
Parent Education – $3050
Submitted by Cathy Eggleston of McCord Middle School on behalf of all School Counselors
The Worthington School Counselors K-12 will bring relevant and informative presentations to our parents and community in an effort to help them feel supported and connected to our schools. The Gestalt Institute of Central Ohio will present to parents, teachers and school counselors district wide via a series of three topics over the next eighteen months to include the importance of letting children struggle, relationship skills and anxiety/helping children cope with stress. Two presentations on each of the three topics will be presented, one for teachers and school counselors and the other for parents, for a total of six presentations.
Lets Get Moving! – $8905
Submitted by Beth Mills, District Adapted Physical Education Teacher
Six different adapted bikes/tricycles and one racing wheelchair will be purchased. Research shows that provide students with special needs with therapeutic bike riding leads to better balance, coordination, motor coordination and emotional well-being. All students deserve to have an opportunity for movement activities, a sense of freedom and a chance to play with their peers.