Superintendent Darlene Schottle (left), Walmart repesentative Kathy (center right), and KMS principal Tryg Johnson (far right) joined teacher Cheryl Russell to announce funding of her Project Wii: Students Rising to Independence! A Walmart community grant will fund $1,000 of the project, and KEF Director Mike Kofford presented Cheryl with a certificate of recognition.
Great Opportunities Grants
Local businessman and McDonald’s owner Scott Hadwin, joined KEF Director Mike Kofford and Glacier High teacher Josh Munro to announce that McDonald’s will be funding the Virtual Restaurant Simulation to be used in marketing classes at GHS. “We’re incredibly excited to get this going,” said Scott, “I think this will give students a taste of what running a business is really like.” Josh and Scott even discussed the possibility of McDonald’s staff coming in to take a simulation challenge against students before answering questions about running a restaurant. Congratulations to Josh, and thank you to Scott and McDonalds!
The KEF is happy to announce that First Interstate Bank will be partnering with us to fund the Veteran Blankets project for Helen Lyford at Flathead High School. The project will involve special needs students producing blankets for retired veterans in the Kalispell area. Helen posed with Susie Bailon and Barb Kelly from FIB, along with KEF Director Mike Kofford.
The KEF recently heard from Kerrie More at Glacier High School about her E-Read Cafe’ project. Here is some of what she had to share:
The lunchtime book club at GHS, “Read Café” was already in operation when we received the funding from KEF to incorporate the e-readers. Until then, we had been running out of books for the number of students who wanted to participate. Adding the Kindles allowed twelve more students to join the book club. Furthermore, it did so at a significant savings. Amazon allows up to six devices to be included on one account. Therefore, we purchase only two copies of the book in electronic format, yet we can add them to all twelve of our devices. Since we added the Kindles, I’m finding that many of the students who come to inquire about joining the book club are very excited to check out the e-readers. On the other hand, there are still some “traditionalists” who specifically ask for the hard copy. I’m so glad we can accommodate both preferences! The e-readers have been extremely effective for our program and have allowed us to raise the number of our participants. I have found no weaknesses to the program – only positives!
We used grant funding to purchase approximately $250 worth of book downloads in the form of Amazon gift cards that were uploaded to our GHS Kindle accounts. These gift cards are only used for titles used for “E-Read Café.” Our book club meets four times a year, which requires us to purchase about eight titles each year on the Kindles. It is my expectation that we will be able to sustain the e-readers for about two more years using the initial funding provided by KEF. Beyond that, we will use funds generated from our fines and fees account, as well as from our book fair, to keep the book club going for years to come!
Many thanks to KEF for helping us purchase e-readers for the students at GHS. Their addition to turned “Read Café” into “E-Read Café” and had expanded our program in a positive way!
FHS teacher Sean O’Donnell faced some tough challenges in completing his display cases showcasing local history. Graduating students had just run out of gas at the end of last year, and it has taken until mid-September for him to invigorate a new group. However, with new life to the project, Sean has announced the display will be up and running in his final report to the KEF. According to Sean, “The images which were selected from the Northwest Historical Societies collection turned out to be striking. There are not ten large, framed photographs of the early Flathead Valley hanging in the alcove outside the history office. On a regular basis I see students looking up at them and sometimes even asking a history teacher about a particular picture. The irony is that one of the greatest benefits of this project was the actual selection of images. During the process, we all learned a remarkable amount about early Kalispell. The museum staff was so knowledgable that each of us left with information that we could share with our classes about our hometown. My hope is that those connections formed with the Central Museum can be fostered and, ultimately, offer a greater connection for our teachers and students to local history.”
The KEF would like to thank Sean and his FHS students for all of their hard work.
Kirsten Pevey recently turned in her final report for her KEF funded 2012-13 project at Peterson Elementary School in Kalispell. Some of the successes outlined in that report included:
- The writing station provided students with more opportunities to draft, edit, and revise their works. Students were seamlessly able to access their work on the school computer lab from home through an internet connection. 73% of her class voluntarily chose to complete classroom assignments outside of the school setting.
- The Common Core standards specify that 5th grade students should be able to, with some guidance, use technology to produce and publish a two-page written work in collaboration with others that demonstrates sufficient command of keyboarding skills. By the end of the year, 88% of her students were either proficient or advanced.
- Student groups researched projects that included maps and photos that they presented to their classmates.
- The class iPads allowed students instant access to information. Students were more willing to look things up on the iPads rather than go the library to figure out which reference book was relevant.
- Throughout the year students created a variety of projects including a commercial for an invention they created (using iMovie), a persuasive letter to their parents, compare and contrast papers, summary paragraphs, wax museum scripts, and twisted fairy tales using iPad apps. She provided passwords to parents so they could view their student’s works from home.
- Students regularly edited and revised their work on the iPads, making it easy to view works in progress and grade student papers. This eliminated the need for tedious paper and pencil revisions. One of the apps allowed students to record themselves reading their own writing, then listen to the audio for revisions. This proved to be a powerful tool.
The KEF would like to thank Kirsten for all her hard work and dedication.
Susan N. Hanson, a teacher at Russell Elementary School, recently sent an update on her project funded by the KEF in the Fall of 2012. Here is her report:
Ready to Read – Home School Collaboration- Project Report
KEF grant awarded Fall, 2012
Susan N Hanson, Russell Communication Preschool
The Ready to Read project was funded by the Kalispell Education Foundation in the fall of 2012, and was designed to extend learning into the home by providing books and specialized information for parents to use. Children enrolled in Communication Preschool, a Special Education preschool program for 3 & 4 year olds with significant speech language delays, were the targeted student population. Books were purchased for the children to use at home on a weekly basis. The books, in a specially created book bag, included parent information on ways to use that specific book to improve early literacy skills as well as information on kindergarten readiness skills in general.
Book selection and purchase was completed in January 2013 with the support and assistance from the staff at Bookworks (our local bookstore). Orientation occurred during parent conferences in late February and “Fun Bags” were sent home weekly beginning the second week in March.
Response was positive from both parents and children right from the start. Each book was selected to help reinforce a letter/sound that was presented the same week. The book bags were created and donated by a good friend and former teacher, Jane Crawford. The children loved the bright red bags and parents reported that they provided a place to safely keep the books and also helped remind them to return the book each week.
Some program logistics evolved as the program was implemented. How to keep track as books were returned, what to do about missing books, who would fill bags (and when), were all problems that solved themselves as they arose. Preparation was time consuming this year as each activity unit and parent information sheet had to be created (see attached). Book units for the first half of the alphabet as well as 12 more parent information sheets will be finished for next year. A parent orientation meeting will take place during fall, 2013 Open House at Russell Elementary and Fun Bags will start going home in early October.
In an end of the year survey, 100% of the parents responding indicated they had read each book with their child at least twice, with over half reading books 3 or more times each week. 100% also reported completing at least one of the suggested activities and finding the information related to kindergarten readiness helpful.
One parent said, “We read it [the book] in the car before we leave school the day he receives it!” Another parent commented “It has really helped him develop an interest for books. He won’t let me sit down and read one of our books to him, but he loves these from school”. “My child loves the Fun Bag because she gets homework like her sister. [My daughter] has tried so hard to be responsible for and keep track of her book to bring back every week.”
As a teacher, I agree with parents that I have noticed an increased interest in books as well as the ability to answer more in-depth, higher level questions and comprehend more difficult vocabulary as the children become more familiar with each story. It appears to me that when parents are provided ideas on ways to extend learning and information on the kinds of things children need to know, they are willing to spend more time and become more involved with their child’s education. Although testing of incoming kindergarteners will not be completed until fall this year, I feel that my students will move on to kindergarten more prepared than ever and the Fun Bag program is part of the reason.
I have appreciated the opportunity to implement this program for the students in Communication Preschool. Thank-you to the Kalispell Education Foundation for your support.
When visiting Brad Nikunen’s classroom at Edgerton Elementary School in Kalispell, you will find 25 children busily working away on i-pads and writing assignments. A board on the counter shows the various sections of a dissected baseball carefully cut up and glued to a board for an upcoming display. But it is in the corner where you will see the truly strange contraption consisting of a constructed square of white pvc with a projector and mirror underneath. A polite young man named Graham explains to me that it took three days with Mr. Nikunen for him to learn the system; now he teachers other students how to enter the computer so as to use the interactive screen with infrared pens. The students take turns using the screen for a 4:00 minute geography lesson before tapping the next student in line to try their hand. These are KEF grant dollars at work, and it is very fulfilling to see projects awarded in October begin to find legs and be integrated into the curriculum as we enter May.