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Innovation awards reward creative teachers



Dr. Ibarra (far left) is shown congratulating individual $500 grant winners.

Dr. Ibarra (far left) is shown congratulating individual $500 grant winners.

The Escondido Education Foundation Tuesday hosted the annual Dr. Mike Caston Innovation Awards in the Turrentine Room of the Escondido Library. It awarded a total of $60,000 to teachers given grants to do innovative classroom projects.

This year the Foundation made the following grants:

$27,500 to the EUSD iRead program.
$3,101.05 in individual grants.
$19,372.95 in team grants.
$12,328 in school-wide grants.
$5,000 to the Juniper School for a
Student Health and Wellness Program.

Carolyn Royer, president of the Foundation, told The Times-Advocate, “The Foundation Board is all volunteer and we have worked very diligently this last year to provide funding for as many grants as possible. Each year we try to improve on the previous year . . . we outdid ourselves this last year!! Now the bar is set really high for this upcoming year.”

At the beginning of the awards Mrs. Royer introduced Supt. Luis Rankins- Ibarra, who thanked the foundation for the support that it gives the district’s teachers. “You are celebrating the extra special teachers who are willing to go up and beyond,” he said.

“Our committee looked for innovative, creative ideas,” said Mrs. Royer, adding that the committee members frequently said, “I can’t

Three teams were given grants of $5,000 each.

Three teams were given grants of $5,000 each.

get over the sophistication of these projects.”

Two of the students celebrated by the program were two brothers, one an 8th grader at Rincon Middle School and the other a fifth grader. Together they created their own company, called Brother Robot.com that uses a 3D printer to produce items such as a prosthetic arm and a “skull print” of animal for an area college.

According to the students, “We ask if it’s cool and if it’s cool we make it!”

The boys originally funded their company by saving up their birthday money and then bought equipment that they used to make more equipment.

Later in the evening the youngest brother demonstrated a headset that allowed him to fly a drone inside of the auditorium.

Guest speaker at Tuesday’s awards recognition was Debra Kimberling of the Society of Women Engineers, who spoke about the importance of making the “engineering” part of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineer and Math) education exciting.

Kimberling, who was an engineer for 30 years, retired in her 50s and has de- voted herself to “leading the way for new engineers,” especially to make it easier for women to choose this career path. She noted that

These teams were awarded $2,500 per team for innovative programs. Shown with them is Dr. Ibarra, superintendent.

These teams were awarded $2,500 per team for innovative programs. Shown with them is Dr. Ibarra, superintendent.

although some statistics would lead one to conclude that women are becoming engineers more than in the past, the truth is that the percentage of women earning engineering degrees is still only about 20%.

“In my lifetime it really hasn’t changed much,” she said. “Although I can see a lot of promise, the ‘E’ in STEM has been rather silent. We need to introduce excitement into what engineering is doing.” She urged teachers to help spread the word.

“We need to tell them what role engineers play in everyday life and we need to let them know what the world would be without engineers,” she said. “They help make the world a better place.”

She urged teachers to take advantage of Project Lead the Way, which offers training in Core Training classes. “Engineers make a world of difference and they improve peoples’ lives,” she concluded.

The awards were given in three categories: $500 individual grants, $2,500 grants and $5,000 team grants.

The complete list of grant winners is presented below.

Oak Hill teacher Mary Rosso, w h o teaches 30 fifth graders was awarded $483.35 for her project called “We’ve Got News.”

Mission School teachers Katy Maskiewicz,

Debra Kimberling spokes about the importance of making engineering exciting for students.

Debra Kimberling spokes about the importance of making engineering exciting for students.

Michele Einspar, Krykytle Miller and two others who teach 6th graders were awarded $500 for their project: “Newcomer Photo Books.”

Pioneer School’s Melinda Britt was awarded $500 for her K-5th grade project called “Mad About Science that will impact 743 students.

Teacher Zoe Carpenter of Quantum Academy was awarded $500 for a program teaching STEAM principles called Rainy Days and STEAM. Note: STEAM is just STEM, but with the component of “art” added.

Teacher Jennifer Baehr of Farr School was awarded $529 for her classroom management project for 5th graders dubbed “Wiggle Wobble”

Rock Springs teacher Sarah Hardenburg was awarded $588.70 for her projected called “Hands on Technology Exploration for Severely Handicapped Classroom.”

Oak Hill School was awarded $2,000 for a project proposed by teacher Jennifer Tompkins called “California Dreamin’” a project for teaching art, science and language arts to grades K-5.

Quantum Academy, through teachers Christy Hansen and Cindy Jackson was awarded $2,368.23 for a “Virtual Realty” project for teaching Social Studies/Science to grades 4-7.

Reidy Creek School, through teachers Stephan Trogden and Mary Clemons was awarded $2,474.71 for a P.E./ leadership program called “Exercise & Listening and Leadership.”

A team of teachers from Bear Valley school that

A fifth grader who funded a start-up company called Brother Robot.com with his brother using birthday money as seed money.

A fifth grader who funded a start-up company called Brother Robot.com with his brother using birthday money as seed money.

included Laurie Livesay and Janet Manier were awarded $2,500 for a P.E. course called “iPads for Physical Education.”

A team from Mission School, led by Tamara Whitney and Katelyn Sylvester were awarded $2,500 for “The Great Digital Escape,” for 6th and 7th graders.

A team from Rincon school that included Mary Pope and Carla Peterson were awarded $2,500 for a project called “Protecting Species: Are They Worth It?” for 7th graders.

A team from Glen View School that included Jennifer Wade was awarded $2,500 for “Reading Revolution,” a reading program for 5th graders.

A team from Rock Springs School that included Jennifer Zacharias and Gerald Lake were awarded $2,530 for the project: “Let Our Voices Be Heard: Microphones for Elementary School Performing Arts.”

North Broadway School, whose team included Diane Postler and Health Wulf, were awarded $3,409 for the project “Readers Are Leaders” for grades K-5.

Del Dios School, whose team included Lithsamay Dunaway was awarded $3,919 for a project called “Science Digital Interactive: Explore Learning/ Gizmos, a project for grades 6-8.

Rincon School, whose team included Andrea Doud, Johanna Vigil-Deleoi and Cindy Feeney was awarded $5,000 for a STEM innovation program called 3D Meets R2D2, an elective after school program for grades 6-8.


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