Chatham Education Foundation awards 19 Creative Teaching Grants

View the list of recipients and their projects for Chatham County Schools


Jaime Detzi, executive director of the Chatham Education Foundation, announced 19 recipients selected to receive Creative Teaching Grants.

“We were excited to have so many applicants and such great projects,” Detzi said. “I am so pleased that through the generosity of our donors and community support that we are able to fund these wonderful educational opportunities that will benefit our students and teachers.”

The grants were chosen from a record 29 applicants. The projects seeking funding covered a wide range of educational opportunities from Exceptional Children resources to literacy tools to arts programming to STEM to pickleball.

Creative Teaching Grants recipients were:

●  Magic Makerspace, from Melanie Spell at Perry Harrison
The funds will be used to expand Perry Harrison’s five-center Maker Space to nine centers, with additional materials.

●  Classroom Reading Rotation Supplies, from Kathleen Huges for all kindergarten and first-grade classrooms at Chatham Grove
The grant will be used to create classroom hands-on, multi-sensory, research-based activities and purchase resources for English Language Arts rotation for kindergarten and first-grade students.

●  Family Book Club, from Dana Gschwendtner for Siler City Elementary
The grant will cover the costs to purchase books for the establishment of a book club for 40 families so they will have time and space to come together and read high-quality literature, increasing fluency, family involvement and commitment to academic resources.

●  Integrating Literacy Into Social Studies, from Susana Negroni for North Chatham Elementary second-grade dual language classes to help students expand their vocabularies and improve fluency, the grant will be used to purchase specific, lesson-related books.

●  Decodables to Liven Up Literacy, from Jessy Durizch and Kathleen Hughes for Chatham Grove The funds will be used to buy decodable texts to help emergent leaders with skills they have been taught or are currently practicing.

●  Parent Academy — In Spanish, from Rebekah Concepcion, ESL teachers and Spanish world teachers for North Chatham Elementary
The school is buying books to create a Spanish Parent Academy to help families navigate the school system and support their students.

●  To Be Seen and Heard, from Sarah Jones and Zachary Wills for Silk Hope School the grant will be used for a Smart TV so visual and performing arts classes can replace outdated technology.

●  Kelso: Choosing Character and Solving Conflict, from Amy Doty and Leann Munoz for Perry Harrison Elementary The school will buy kits for students to learn about character traits and conflict resolution with a digital curriculum called “Kelso’s Choice,” which focuses on respect, caring, fairness, responsibility and honesty, along with a conflict management component.

●  Social Opportunities for Students Who Are Deaf/Hard of Hearing , from Salita Callicutt and the CCS Exceptional Children’s Department
Funds will be used to provide quarterly socialization events across the district for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, and who are typically isolated within their schools. The grant also will be used to support parent initiatives and collaborative efforts.

●  Microscopes for fifth-graders, from Susan Hamilton, Sara Knight, Cathay Anstrom and Ed Vihlen for Chatham Grove Elementary
With the purchase of microscopes thanks to the grant, fifth-graders will have the opportunity to observe pre-made slides of cell and tissue samples of plants and animals, as well as create and observe their own slides of dried skin cells, plant cells and others.

●  High-Interest Decodable Books for Our Growing Multilingual Learner Population, from Juliana Maul for North Chatham Elementary
The school will use the funds to buy high-interest, decodable books for a variety of reading levels to use with multilingual learners.

●  Engaging Reading Intervention Material, from Sarah Bonenberger and teammate Erin Collins for Chatham Grove Elementary
The grant will be used to buy decodable readers for students and magnet boards for phonics instruction.

●  Breakout EDU, from Iris Robinson and teammates Sandra Sistrunk, Jennifer Biamonte and Paula Paez Oviedo for North Chatham Elementary
The school will use the funds to purchase the program Breakout EDU to increase learner-centered classroom experiences. Students work individually or in a team to complete challenges that ask them to solve questions that allow them to “break out” of a specific scenario.

●  Using Technology in the Arts: Stop Motion & Flip Animation with Digital Soundtracks , from Michelle Pinto and teammate Christene Vaughan for Chatham Middle School
CMS is using its grant money to buy a podcast microphone, flipbooks, a light board and other equipment so students can design characters and create flipbooks using light boxes. They will write a brief plot to show the personalities of the characters and then create stop-motion animation using claymation.

●  Breakout EDU Breakout Boxes, by Liz Davis and her teammates Isabel Engelbrekt and Christina Tomlin for Margaret B. Pollard Middle School
Margaret B. Pollard will use the funds to get a yearlong subscription to Breakout EDU and six “Breakout Boxes” that simulate a breakout room. Students must solve a series of clues.

●  Decoding for Upper Elementary Students, by Jessica Wilkie for Pittsboro Elementary Funds will be used to purchase decodable books to help students grow in their fluency and decoding skills.

●  You Must “Bee” Kidding — This Is Learning, by Dana Griffin for Perry Harrison
The grant will enable Perry Harrison to buy Bee Bots, which are small, programmable robots that will introduce students to computer science. They will program sequences and commands.

●  Introduction to Pickleball, by Cameron Vernon and his teammates Matt Brown, Chris Kenan and Jackie Harpham for Northwood High School
The school will use the grant funds to purchase a class set of pickleball resources. Pickleball combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.

●  One Compression at a Time, by Aaron Kivette and teammate Jennifer Sipe for Margaret B. Pollard Middle

The funds will be used to buy CPR mannequins and an automated external defibrillator trainer to teach eighth-grade students CPR.

“We are extraordinarily grateful to have such a strong community partner in the Chatham Education Foundation,” said Superintendent Dr. Anthony Jackson. “The Foundation’s unwavering support for our public school system has expanded opportunities for our students and educators. Through that support, we have been able to provide greater opportunities for our students throughout Chatham County.”

CEF, Creative Teaching Grants, Jaime Detzi