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Season of Giving: MEF Delivers More than $100,000 in Professional Development and Classroom Grants to MISD Teachers

Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, December 6, 2017
  • MEF delivered more than $100,000 in grants to McKinney ISD teachers on Friday, Dec. 1. (Courtesy of MEF)
  • Minshew Principal Inetra Nelson, Minshew first grade teacher Marlana Dumas, Minshew PTA President Miriam Richert and MISD Board Secretary Stephanie O'Dell
  • Walker teacher Barb Everett and MISD Board Secretary Stephanie O'Dell
  • Cockrill's Jennifer Gilmore received a check for $875 from MEF to purchase breakout boxes for her class.
  • MISD Supt. Dr. Rick McDaniel presents an MEF grant check to Monica Soto. (Courtesy of MEF)
  • All across MISD, teachers were surprised with grant awards for classroom initiatives and professional development opportunities. (Courtesy of MEF)
  • MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel accompanied representatives from MEF to deliver teacher grants. (Courtesy of MEF)

McKinney, Texas – Laden with stacks of oversized vinyl checks, they fanned out across the city in a festive fleet of new cars made available—and chauffeured—by the kind folks at Sewell Audi in McKinney.

McKinney ISD Board of Trustees member Lynn Sperry and Secretary Stephanie O’Dell, Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel and Assistant Superintendents Dr. Melinda DeFelice and Suzy Woodard joined members of the McKinney Education Foundation (MEF) Board of Directors and MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine as they made their cheerful rounds on Friday, Dec. 1, dropping in on classrooms all over the district to surprise 62 MISD teachers who were, collectively, the recipients of just over $100,000 in MEF Classroom and Professional Development Grants…

Sine talking to group at Sewell Audi showroom

Sewell Audi of McKinney provided transportation for MEF and MISD officials as they delivered more than $100,000 in classroom and professional development grants to 62 teachers across the district.

Teachers like Marlana Dumas from Minshew Elementary who applied for a $350 grant to buy STEM supplies for her first-grade classroom. And, Barb Everett from Walker Elementary who was the recipient of a $3,104 grant for classroom guided reading sets. And, like Jennifer Gilmore from Cockrill who wanted to buy breakout boxes for her students to use in her algebra classes. MEF helped her out with $875. Like, Melanie Amend ($1,686) and Eddie Wood ($3,450) and Melissa Hatcher ($1,216) and on and on.

“Grant delivery day is one of our favorite days at the McKinney Education Foundation,” said Sine. “I always look forward to visiting classrooms later in the year to see these grants in action. MEF Grants are special because they allow our teachers to try new technology and new curriculum. As an organization, we hope to support McKinney ISD in bringing innovative ideas to our classrooms every year.”

Dumas smiling and clapping facing her students

Marlana Dumas from Minshew Elementary received a $350 grant to purchase STEM activity kits for her first grade classroom.

The grants are funded each year primarily by staff payroll contributions but were also made possible this year by CoServ, the Froese family, Sunrise Rotary Club of McKinney and the David Freeman Memorial Endowment. In addition to giving teachers opportunities to try innovative ideas in the classroom, the grants help teachers take courses, attend seminars and engage in other activities that help them continue to develop as educators.

Applications open each September; classroom grants are awarded in December, while professional grants remain open until funds are depleted.

Everett holding big check in the middle of her students

Barb Everett from Walker Elementary was the recipient of a $3,104 grant to purchase guided reading sets for her classroom.

“We are beyond excited and humbled that the committee chose my grant as one worthy to help address the learning needs of all second grade learners at Walker,” said Everett. “Huge thanks to MEF for approving my grant!”

MEF’s mission is to inspire and assist McKinney ISD students and teachers toward excellence and to make a difference through education. Toward that end, MEF has college advisors at each of the district’s three high schools, and—in addition to annual professional development and classroom grants—MEF awards numerous college scholarships to graduating seniors each spring. Last year, the organization bestowed more than $491,000 upon MISD seniors.

As far as these teacher grants are concerned, the size of the check isn’t the most important factor. It’s the learning opportunities that they make possible that elicit gratitude from teachers and students alike. Dumas’ comparatively small grant for $350 elicited cheers from her students that rivaled the reaction of a Publisher’s Clearing House winner.

“Careers in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) industries are vast, diverse and growing,” Dumas said. “Meanwhile, interest from students in these fields is decreasing. My goal is to spark some interest and basic understand of complex STEM concepts in my very young first grade students while their imaginations are still vibrant. STEM projects in the classroom are also a wonderful opportunity to encourage diversity in the field. With the money I have been granted through MEF, I will purchase STEM kits that will bring students’ imaginations alive with actual working parts and materials. Before the MEF grant, students were using craft supplies and pure imagination. I’m excited to see how their love for STEM grows with these new STEM kits.”

And, if there’s a better way than that to put a bow on the first semester of the 2017–2018 school year…we can’t really think of one.

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