The Van ISD Education Foundation "Prize Patrol" surprised fourteen teachers in their classrooms on the morning of February 13, handing out $8,800 in grants for innovative teaching projects. Members of the Foundation board, VISD administrators, and members of the community armed themselves with balloons, noisemakers, candy, banners, and four oversized checks to spread the good news.
Chartered in the 2001-2002 school year, the Foundation's goal has always been to bring additional funding to Van ISD through tax-deductible contributions for projects above and beyond the regular operating budget.
"Our goal is to support the tradition of excellence that Van ISD has had throughout the years," said Foundation board president John Barker. "Providing grants for innovative educational programs and projects is the primary avenue in which we do this."
The following grants were awarded by the Foundation for the 2011-2012 school year:
"i Pad-dling into the Future," submitted by Jeanette Germany, is a grant that will purchase iPad 2s, laptops, and Pro X (Final Cut 7) and Motion 5 software for the journalism department. This money will allow our journalism students to become more mobile so that they can better serve all campuses. In addition, iPad 2s will provide apps that will enhance their photography and design approaches to journalism. They will also allow for much more effective presentations.
"Wee Vandals Safety Town Trike Track" is a grant submitted by Linda Housden, Lisa Brown, Christina Milewski, Megan Russell, and Bobby Skeeters. This money will provide a safe physical environment which will promote the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional growth of early childhood students. Students will demonstrate safe procedures and behaviors through this grant which will also encourage social and imaginative play and exercise through the use of the tricycle track safety town.
"Words that Bounce," submitted by Paige Redmond, will provide electronic dictionaries/thesauruses to junior high students. Students today are a generation of technology. This grant helps students increase vocabulary, response to answer time and test scores by allowing them to work with the tools they know best, with an ending goal of increasing student achievement in eighth grade language arts.
"Student Leadership and Recognition Program," was submitted by Van High School teachers Ryan McInturff, Kelly Lockwood, J.P. Fugler, Ryan Bender, Jeanette Germany, Sherry Hill and Edwin Hebron. The money from this grant will be used to train high school students to become leaders and to recognize their successes, as well as create quality leadership within multiple programs at the high school. The program will also help students transition between high school and college, providing them with team building tools they will use for a lifetime.