Some Lansing teachers got an extra source of pride during this year’s homecoming week.
Some Lansing teachers got an extra source of pride during this year’s homecoming week. Representatives of the Lansing Educational Foundation, the not-for-profit community organization that raises money for the schools awarded a total of $13,215 in “Educate the Pride” grants for 20 different projects this year. Each year LEF takes applications from teachers and administrators for classroom or buildingwide grants. Nineveh Carvan, the director of LEF, said the proposed projects this year did continue a trend of bolstering technology to use in the classroom. Dana Blew, an English instructor at Lansing Middle School, applied for a grant to fund the purchase of Kindle Fire tablets for use with literature and social studies curriculum in the seventh grade. IPads, iPods and several software applications were also among the grants that were awarded Thursday. There’s a reason for that. Susan Murphy, an instructor at Lansing Middle School, even used the letters in the name of one device in an acronym to describe her project — Individual Personal Assistive Device. She said the generation of students now in school are very comfortable with technology like iPads, but using them in the classroom has benefits for teachers, as well. “There’s so many apps that are available,” she said. “Whatever the kids’ level is, you can really tailor it.” There was a whole other group of grants that were decidedly more analog — Lansing Middle School received a grant to continue its annual “Challenge Day” offering and two counselors at Lansing Elementary, Jamie Kehrwald and Marianne Walker, together received $455 for a character education course. Lansing Elementary teachers will use two different $500 grants for a two-day “Body Venture” interactive installation; and Ron Malcolm, coordinator of special education for the district, purchased a number of books featuring characters with disabilities, to potentially serve as examples for children in the district. “It’s pretty widespread,” Carvan said of the proposals this year. The grant awards this year also includes, for the first time, programs at the Leavenworth County Special Education Cooperative — one to provide iPads for those in the Learning Independence in Natural Community Settings program and for the establishment of a behavior intervention support team at the School of New Beginnings. The grants help teachers realize the sorts of programs that they normally couldn’t due to constraints of the district’s budget, according to LEF President Tom Young. Vickie Kelly, a principal at Lansing Elementary, said teachers had been looking for ways to fund the character education program before the most recent Educate the Pride cycle came around. “We are so lucky to have the foundation,” she said. Next year, Young said the organization plans to offer even more funding, increasing the maximum amount available from $1,000 for projects involving two or more teachers to $5,000.