Local teachers receive grants for science instruction

Thirty-four area teachers, representing 12 schools, were recently selected to receive grants through Arkansas Community Foundation’s Science Initiative for Middle Schools (SIMS) program.

SIMS aims to spark students’ interest in science by providing materials for hands-on instruction that brings scientific and mathematical principles to life.

Across the state, 135 schools in 82 school districts received a total of $180,000 for projects ranging from school gardening supplies to dissection kits to teach biology. These projects will benefit thousands of children in grades 5 through 8. Locally, 34 teachers will receive funding that will benefit 4,195 children in Faulkner County.

Applications were submitted by teachers in counties served by one of Arkansas Community Foundation’s 27 affiliates, including Faulkner County. The Community Foundation’s local advisory board reviewed proposals from teachers in Faulkner County. “Several of our local board members are educators and they were very effective in reaching out to area teachers and encouraging them to apply for these grants” said Gloria Cheshier, executive director. “In turn, it was fun to read the various applications and see how creative our teachers are in developing meaningful, hands-on science projects which engage their students.”  

The 34 teachers who applied and received grants for their projects:   

Jodi Brewer, Making Science Exciting and Engaging
Nicole Martin, Eighth Grade Explorers
Jami Springer, Hoo Eats Who?
Kelli Gordon, Middle School Math Fluency Challenge
Kellie Cardin, Owl Pellet Dissection
Chandra Otts, Seeking Specimens for Dissection!
Kim Simmons, Healthy Bodies, Healthy Minds
Monica Flowers, Frog Dissection:  Let’s Get A Closer Look!
Debbie Gibson, Changing the Playing Field!!!
Kelly Baldwin, Whooo’s Eating Whooo?
Michelle Burgess, The Magnitude of Models is Monumental
Aimee Sanders, Owl Pellets for Eager, Young Scientists!
Kathi Sweere, Students Dissect Cow Eyes
Carol Moore, Wow, I’ve Never Seen That Before!
Ericka French, Inquiry Based Labs
Christin Lachowsky, Super Science–Magazines Needed
Monica Flowers, Owl Pellets–Hoo Eats Who?
Monica Flowers, Hatching Eggcellent Scientists
Debbie Moreland, Goggles!Goggles!Goggles!
Amanda Hawkins, Embryology And Chicken Growth
Haley Morris, Dissecting for Special Need Students
E Fields, Exploration Science
Kellie Cardin, Engineering Creative Students!
Jodi  Brewer, Student Spotlight
Frances Mcgee, Discovery Through Dissections
Sandra Stanley, Interaction With Science!
Diana Hartwick, Science Inquiry
Renee Freeman, Inspiring Future Biologists
Amanda Maxey, Weather Watching, Measuring, and Discovering!
Tambrey Kinley, Learning with Labs
Sara Shipp, Cough It Up!
Millie Engler, Mean Green Recycling Machine
David Steadham, Frog Dissection (The Lesson They Will Never Forget!)
Danna Sawrie, Whooooo Eats Whooooo??

The Community Foundation worked with charity website, donorschoose.org, to make the science grants. Supplies were shipped directly to the schools and the teachers could acknowledge the grant online.    

Danna Sawrie posted the following message on the website: “Do we get to dissect something this year? This is one of the first questions I hear from my fifth grade students. They express both horror and excitement when I explain that we will be dissecting owl pellets. I wish you could have seen their faces when I told them that our project had been funded! Once again, a combination of horror and excitement! This project will further enhance their understanding of the interdependence of species within an ecosystem. Thank you for making science come alive for my students.”

Cheshier said, “We were fortunate to have an endowed gift to the Community Foundation from the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation which allowed us to fund every project in Faulkner County that met the grant criterion.” Because it is funded from an endowment, it is an annual program, and teachers may apply for SIMS grants again beginning in May; visit arcf.org for more information.

Arkansas Community Foundation is a nonprofit organization that fosters smart giving to improve communities. The Community Foundation offers tools to help Arkansans protect, grow and direct charitable dollars as they learn more about community needs. By making grants and sharing knowledge, the Community Foundation supports charitable programs that work for Arkansas and partners to create new initiatives that address the gaps. Since 1976, the Community Foundation has provided more than $120 million in grants and partnered with thousands of Arkansans to help them improve neighborhoods, towns and the entire state. Contributions to the Community Foundation, its funds and any of its 27 affiliates are fully tax deductible.