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MEF Supports Innovation in the Classroom with Grant Awards Totaling More Than $120,000

Press Release|
Shane Mauldin|
Thursday, December 19, 2019
  • Representatives from the McKinney Education Foundation (MEF) gathered with McKinney ISD officials, local business partners and volunteers from Sewell Audi McKinney to deliver MEF classroom and teacher grants on Dec. 6, 2019. The group included MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine, MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel, MISD Board of Trustees Vice President Stephanie O’Dell, Board member Lynn Sperry and Assistant Superintendents Dr. Melinda DeFelice and Suzy Woodard.
  • Minshew art teacher Deanna Smith's class will use her grant for 3D art projects.
  • Burks Elementary Special Education teacher Roshasta Brandon received a professional development grant and a classroom grant.

McKinney, Texas – Bearing oversized vinyl checks and an abundance of goodwill, representatives from the McKinney Education Foundation (MEF) gathered with McKinney ISD officials, local business partners and volunteers from Sewell Audi McKinney and piled into a merry caravan of new Audi vehicles that zipped out of the dealership toward destinations all over McKinney ISD on Friday, Dec. 6.

It was time once again to deliver MEF classroom and teacher grants, and this year the festive band—which included MEF Executive Director Ashley Sine, MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel, MISD Board of Trustees Vice President Stephanie O’Dell, Board member Lynn Sperry and Assistant Superintendents Dr. Melinda DeFelice and Suzy Woodard—made their way to 28 MISD campuses to announce some 60 classroom and teacher professional development grant awards totaling more than $120,000.

Wendy Dickerson (center), media resource specialist at Glen Oaks Elementary, received an $800 grant for breakout boxes in the Learning Commons at her school.

MEF began the classroom and teacher grant program in 1994 with a single grant of $250. Since then, the organization that also provides college scholarships for MISD graduating seniors has awarded $1,145,605 in classroom and teacher grants.

“Grant delivery time is one of our favorite days at the McKinney Education Foundation,” said Sine. “We are thrilled to work with the McKinney community to invest in our teachers and students. Our teachers work so hard on these applications to provide fun ways to engage our students and help them learn difficult concepts. Our teachers are the largest supporters of our grant program, and I think that demonstrates how valuable these are in the classroom.”

Paige Rogers, technology integrator at McKinney Boyd High School, received a grant for $2,394 to purchase Oculus Quest systems for her campus.

In September, teachers began submitting applications to MEF for the grants, which were funded primarily by MISD staff through payroll donations and supplemented by local business partners: Sunrise Rotary Club, CoServ, the Froese family, Crest Auto Group, the David Freeman family and the McKinney High School PTO.

“We always appreciate and want to thank our local sponsors for investing in our grant program,” added Sine.

The grant awards varied widely based on project needs. The smallest sum was $120 requested for professional development, while the largest award of $8,600 will be used for Google Expeditions at McKinney North High School.

Dowell Middle School social studies teacher Judith Anderson-Bruess received a grant for $5,970 to purchase an Oculus Go system for her history students which will allow them to take virtual journeys through history.

Judith Anderson-Bruess, a social studies teacher at Dowell Middle School, received $5,970 for an Oculus Go system. “Using the Oculus Go,” Anderson-Bruess said, “we will be able to go on virtual trips using the free apps that Discovery VR has devised. My students and I will be able to visit Anne Frank’s house or follow a refugee from his ravaged country to their new life in a refugee camp. This will truly bring history to life for them as they hear and see it.”

Similarly, Paige Rogers, technology integrator at McKinney Boyd High School, received a grant to purchase six Oculus Quest systems. “My child development teacher can allow students to explore and learn about fetal development,” Rogers explained. “My calculus teachers will be able to demonstrate three dimensional mathematical functions to deepen understanding of an incredibly complex topic. My history teachers will be able to engage students like never before … I am so grateful to the McKinney Education Foundation for their support and vision in providing our students with this valuable instructional technology!”

McClure Elementary Music teacher Theresa Turner received a grant for $3,302 to purchase outdoor musical equipment for her students.

McClure Elementary music teacher Theresa Turner was looking for a way to take her students’ experience with music beyond the classroom—in a more literal sense. She received $3,302 for outdoor musical instruments that students can engage with on the playground.

Other projects receiving grant funds featured breakout boxes, reading and dyslexia resources, 3D art, MakerSpace resources, STEM and STEAM initiatives, social/emotional learning tools and on and on.

The ultimate beneficiaries of all of these grants are, of course, the kids as the funds help teachers in their continuous effort to deliver increasingly effective and engaging instruction to MISD students.

“The McKinney Education Foundation has a strong history of supporting our teachers through these grants,” said MISD Superintendent Dr. Rick McDaniel. “This year’s process of selecting projects was extremely difficult because we had so many quality teachers who submitted excellent ideas for grants. But, MEF chose some very worthwhile projects. In the end, our kids are the ones who benefit from our teachers’ innovative ideas—and that’s really the bottom line.”

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