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Season of Giving: MEF Supports Teacher Innovation with Grants Totaling $115,000

Shane Mauldin|
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
  • Malvern teacher Bryce McDaniel (center) received a $2,600 grant from MEF presented by RBFCU’s Jenifer Florence (far left), MEF President Elect Jennifer Potter (kneeling, left), MEF College Advisor Tammi Saffell (kneeling, right) and Alicia Sadler from Sewell Audi McKinney (right). (Courtesy of MEF)
  • Evans Middle School Media Resource Specialist Kelli Bolin received a grant of $2,500 for a 3D printer. (l-r) Sewell Audi McKinney General Manager Saadallah El-Jundi, MISD Supt. Dr. Rick McDaniel, Kelli Bolin, Evans Asst. Principal Jaymee Robbins, MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine and MEF Board President Denise Holthaus.
  • Bennett Elementary Media Resource Specialist Angie Stallbaumer received a grant award of $453 for her project “If They Build It, They Will Learn.” (l-r) Sewell Audi McKinney General Manager Saadallah El-Jundi, Bennett Elementary Principal Amy Holderman, MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine, Angie Stallbaumer, MEF President Denise Holthaus and MISD Supt. Dr. Rick McDaniel.
  • Finch Elementary teacher Mary Allen with her $135 grant. (l-r) Finch Principal Erika Echegaray, Finch AP Mike Allen, Mary Allen, RBFCU’s Jenifer Florence, MEF President Elect Jennifer Potter, Sewell Audi McKinney’s Alicia Sadler and (kneeling) MEF College Advisor Tammi Saffell. (Courtesy of MEF)

McKinney, Texas – A cold drizzle couldn’t dampen the spirits of the cheerful team of McKinney Education Foundation (MEF) representatives, McKinney ISD officials, local business partners and volunteers from Sewell Audi McKinney—who, for the second year in a row, graciously provided drivers and transportation—as they dashed about town on Friday, Dec. 7 to deliver $115,000 in MEF classroom and professional development grants to teachers and media resource specialists across the district.

group photo in Sewell showroom

McKinney ISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel (center) joined MEF Board President Denise Holthaus (center left), Sewell Audi McKinney General Manager Saadallah El-Jundi (center right) and a host of MISD officials and MEF representatives at Sewell Audi McKinney to deliver MEF classroom and professional development grants on Friday, Dec. 7.

MISD Board member Stephanie O’Dell, Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel and Assistant Superintendents Suzy Woodard and Dr. Melinda DeFelice were among them, along with MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine, as they made their merry rounds, fanning out across the district and popping into classrooms to surprise 52 MISD teachers and media resource specialists with grant awards.

“This is one of MEF’s favorite days of the year,” said Sine. “We are proud to offer these innovative learning opportunities to our teachers and students. With close to $60,000 in virtual and augmented reality grants awarded this year, we look forward to seeing these grants in action.”

group in classroom

Wolford Elementary Media Resource Specialist Susan Hanna (center, back) celebrates with teachers and students after they received a $4,751 MEF classroom grant to fund Google Expeditions.

In September, teachers began submitting applications to MEF for the grants, which were funded primarily by MISD staff through payroll donations and were supplemented by local business partners—Sewell Audi McKinney, CoServ, Sunrise Rotary, Sandra and Lyle Froese Family, Freeman Family and the Tom Crowe Honorary Endowment.

“We appreciate being able to be a part of it,” said Sewell General Manager Saadallah El-Jundi. “Last year it was really great seeing the smiles and the excitement from the teachers receiving the grants and the kids also being really excited about us coming in to deliver the grants to them. It was a lot of fun.”

group in library

Eddins Elementary Media Resource Specialist Peggy Perret received $440 from MEF to fund student MakerSpace and coding stations in the school’s learning commons. (l-r) Sewell Audi McKinney General Manager Saadallah El-Jundi, MEF President Denise Holthaus, Peggy Perret, MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine and MISD Supt. Dr. Rick McDaniel.

The grant awards varied based on the project. The smallest grant awarded this year only called for $99 for a professional development opportunity, while the largest sum totaled $6,985 for a 3D AVRover Portable Classroom System that that can transform wall space into an immersive 3D learning environment.

Indeed, the vast majority of the grants went toward technology resources—some $83,000 worth—with virtual and augmented reality requests comprising about $58,000 of that. Seventeen thousand went toward professional development opportunities.

One grant recipient was Peggy Perrett from Eddins Elementary, who got a check for $440 to go toward the school’s MakerSpace and some additional Osmo coding stations. “I’m just overwhelmed with the generosity of MEF,” she said. “This enables our students to be able to have some Osmo stations set up here in our learning commons. It’s the hub of the school, so when we are able to provide things for our students here, it affects the whole school community.”

The bottom line of all of this is that the grants are deployed for instructional resources and professional development that will positively impact student learning all over MISD.

“Teachers and media resource specialists request these grants because they are constantly seeking new and innovative ways to help our students learn and succeed,” said Woodard. “These projects are not just gimmicks. These grants really play an important part in helping our teachers hone their craft and continue to move our students forward.”

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