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Turning, Wean Foundation award $53K in grants to Valley teachers

Staff report

The Turning Foundation — in partnership with The Raymond John Wean Foundation — has awarded Innovative Teacher Mini-Grants to instructors in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.

Recipients will receive cash awards up to $5,000, with a grand total of $53,497 impacting more than 3,000 students in Pre-K-12 classrooms during the 2019-20 school year.

Grants also were awarded in Ashtabula and Columbiana counties.

John Wilson, director of the Turning Foundation, said he looks forward to awarding these grants every year because of the effect they have on area teachers and students.

“The applications this year showed an impressive level of innovation,” he said. “It is a privilege to provide funding for projects that will have a positive impact on student success.”

Winners of the Innovative Teacher Mini-Grant for the 2019-20 year are:

l Heather Floran, McGuffey Elementary, Youngstown, for a project that gets students to use Accelerated Reader to monitor students’ independent reading. New books will be purchased from Scholastic and designed for this project.

l Amy Gordiejew, Taft Elementary, Youngstown, to support Taft’s book club project. This project aims to get K-8 students diving into high-interest books as members of a new literacy group that encourages deep thinking, writing and dialogue in a safe and engaging space.

l Kelly Hutchison, Warren City Schools, to support “Race to Space.” This preschool project celebrates the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, and promotes inquiry and exploration with young children.

l Haylie Keylor, Champion Central Elementary School, for a project that will use virtual reality headsets and the CoSpaces Edu app so students can build their own 3D creations, animate them with code and explore them in virtual reality.

l Jaclyn Kuntz, Struthers Middle School, for a program focused on improving eighth-grade reading using the Lexia learning system.

l David Murduck, Champion Middle School, to support expanding the use of technology for the outdoor education program used by all 1,400 students in the district. The funding will provide digital microscopes and stereoscopes.

l Tia Phillips, Willard PK-8, Warren, for the Men of Distinction program. This program connects students with men from the community who will help guide students into motivated, responsible, informed and capable young men of noble character.

l Jill Redmond, McGuffey PK-8, Warren, for “McGuffey Explores Wellness,” an after-school program exposing students to careers promoting fitness and nutrition.

l Heather Smith, Rayen Early College Middle School, Youngstown, for a project that uses the Thrively Strength Assessment to develop a sense of self-awareness and help teachers learn who their students are and what interests them.

l Maria Stratis, Rayen Early College, Youngstown, for a project that will provide planning sessions to ensure that every student at Youngstown Early College is on track for graduating and achieving an Associate’s Degree from YSU.

l Eleanna Vlahos-Hall, Jefferson PK-8, Warren, for the Men of Distinction program, which assists in the process of developing young males into emotionally competent men who are assets to their families and communities.

lAmy Walters, Paul C. Bunn Elementary, Youngstown, for a school / community project that models local / national collaboration by integrating visual arts into the reading / writing process in K-4 classrooms with the utilization of a renowned author / illustrator in residence.

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