$84,020 awarded to Klein ISD educators

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KLEIN, TX – Christmas came early to students and teachers of the Klein ISD when the Klein ISD Education Foundation traveled the district last week aboard the Celebration Express.

The Foundation gathered together community members, local business owners, district officials, and Foundation directors to help in awarding $84,020 in educator grants. Participants loaded aboard the Celebration Express bus as it headed to its first stop of the day, Klein Forest High School.

Klein Forest High School was awarded $7,500 by Aquilae Management Corporation and AmeriStar Realtors for their “Composing Creativity” project. The Klein Forest Dance Department, Jazz Band, Dance Club, Digital and Theater Departments will collaborate to help prepare students for careers in the creative arts.

“It is such an honor and a privilege to award this grant to my school in honor of their Composing Creativity project,” Thomas Helm of Aquilae Management Corporation and Klein Forest alum said. “It’s a tremendous feeling to give back to the students. All the money raised by the Foundation goes directly back to the classrooms in the form of educator grants. It’s my favorite day of the year to ride the Celebration Express.”

During its second stop of the day, the Foundation awarded Wunderlich Intermediate School with a grant for $24,070 by the American Association of Drilling Engineers for their “Science Discovery Dome.” The interactive “Science Discovery Dome” will provide a planetarium experience for students in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade science classes. The Dome will offer a new and engaging environment so students learn science in an interactive way.

“Our organization is intent on helping the Klein ISD with programs like this,” American Association of Drilling Engineers member Rusty Ritz said. “The excitement and passion the Klein ISD Education Foundation brings when awarding these grants is almost overwhelming. We are just extremely happy to be a part of it.”

Eiland Elementary and Kaiser Elementary received a joint grant from Houston Northwest Medical Center totaling $5,000 for their “AikiSkills—Developing Conflict Resolution Through Movement” project. AikiSkills is a unique project, based on the Japanese concept, which roughly translates as “compassionate energy,” that teaches pro-social conflict response skills through physical activities.

The Celebration Express continued its journey with a stop at Grace England Early Childhood and Pre-Kindergarten Center to award two grants totaling $14,725. The first grant was awarded by Campus Kids, LLC for the school’s “A.B.C.—Architects Building Connections” project. A “hands-on” approach will be used to support curriculum through tactile exploring of concrete objects and creating physical models of students’ homes, communities, and animal habitats in various ecosystems.

The second grant was awarded by Superior Energy Services, Inc. for the “Reading Restaurant—Food For Thought” project in which teachers and students will create a “Reading Restaurant” for parents, grandparents, siblings, special guests and teachers to enjoy reading with students in their classrooms. Students will create menus that include stories, poems and examples of their own writing.

Klein Intermediate was the next stop for the Celebration Express and was awarded $3,325 from Achieve3000, Inc. for their “Music Through Technology” project. Music teachers will use iPad Minis to engage students during class and section practices that take place before and after school. The project will help teachers target instruction in the time they have with students.

“This will really enhance our instruction in the classroom,” Klein Intermediate music teacher Chase DeBord said. “Students will be able to take the iPads into small groups and work on tone production, rhythm, or just playing the right notes. This really helps because a lot of our kids aren’t in private lessons so it’s a way to really help the students while they are in the classroom.”

Doerre Intermediate was awarded $2,000 by PBK, Inc. for their “Edible Car Challenge.” Students will work in teams to design an edible car that will compete in a speed and distance contest. They will utilize skills such as questioning, researching, problem solving and cooperative learning while participating in an exciting and fun hands-on activity. The Edible Car Challenge will provide an authentic STEM learning experience that promotes engineering and is scheduled for Doerre’s first ever STEM day on January 14, 2015.

Zwink Elementary was awarded $3,400 by InvesTex Credit Union for their “It Makes Perfect Sense” project. The goal of “It Makes Perfect Sense” is to use the natural curiosity of children to increase learning through sensory experiences with materials. “Sensory tables” where children can sort groups and classify objects, predict whether materials will sink or float, write in shaving cream or sand, compare earth materials using water, sieves and hand lenses, and identify shapes using touch.

At its last stop of the day, the Celebration Express visited Klein Oak High School to award $24,000 for the “Panther Choice Project.” The grant, which was awarded by Perdue Brandon Fielder Collins & Mott, LLP, will consist of multi-cultural, multi-genre, high interest fiction and nonfiction books for in-class libraries and instructional guides. Students will self-select books, participate in project-based learning, investigate and respond to challenging questions and problems, create writing portfolios, and collaborate with peers to create digital class anthologies. At the end of the year, students will have an opportunity to present digitally enhanced, and visually appealing, presentations of written and creative work at the Panther’s Choice Awards Ceremony.

“We are looking at providing books of choice within our classrooms,” Klein Oak Principal Dr. Brian Greeney said. “Students will be able to read a book of their choosing and study it on their own terms with support. You can cover any literary concept with any book, but the great thing is that the students will be vested in the learning because they are able to choose the book. I’m excited that we have the opportunity to bring the power and inspiration of reading to another group of students. We have a great team of English teachers here at Klein Oak High School that will take this money and really empower students with knowledge.”

Klein Oak High school was also the 300th grant for the Foundation. Since 2001, the Klein ISD Education Foundation has awarded more than $1.24 million in educator grants to teachers of the Klein ISD.

“Just the idea that the Foundation has given 300 grants is amazing,” Greeney said. “The Foundation just does so many wonderful things for children and so do the people who support the Foundation.”

To learn more about the Klein ISD Education Foundation, visit their website at http://kleinisd.net/KEF. Information can also be obtained by contacting Cindy Doyle, Education Foundation Director, at (832) 249-4753 or email cdoyle3@kleinisd.net.