The Beaumont Public Schools Foundation (BPSF) visited several Beaumont Independent School District (BISD) campuses Friday, May 2, to dispense grants awarded to educators pursuant to their separate quests toward a singular goal — to better educate BISD students.
The mission of BPSF is “to fund grants for projects to enhance teaching and learning in the BISD and to receive and administer gifts for other educational purposes for BISD students.” The BPSF primarily gives grants to staff and students for innovative classroom projects, and distributes those grants twice a year during the fall and spring grant caravan events. According to information provided by the group, BPSF has awarded 308 grants totaling more than $200,000 and 84 scholarships amounting to more than $56,000. The organization also administers two memorial scholarships, the Joan Nathan Gross Graphic Arts Scholarship and the John Hodges Memorial Scholarship.
May 2, the caravan visited Smith Middle School, West Brook High School, Bingman Head Start and Guess Elementary to award a total of $4,933.14 in grants to BISD staff.
At Smith Middle School, two teachers received grants. Cori Coburn-Shiflet received a grant for $985.93 in Photoshop software for the project “3-D: Dynamically Demonstrating Dimensions,” a project meant to teach students to make two-dimensional (2-D) pictures into three-dimensional (3-D) images, challenging students to explain how 3-D works and how to create 3-D images. The students must use math skills to measure scale, angles and distances in the new images, according to the teacher.
Aisha Davis, also of Smith, received a grant of $994.98 in software for the project “Sensoring Scientific Investigations,” an endeavor meant to help students better understand data on and assist in the creation of graphs. The graphing software reportedly utilizes wireless probes downloaded onto student iPads that will measure temperature, light, relative humidity and other information included on earth, environmental, physical and life science graphs. Students will have the ability to create graphs based on the information provided.
Rogelio Cardona, a teacher at West Brook High School, received a grant of $952.23 in equipment to aid in pursuit of his project “Inquiry Study of Agricultural and Environmental Buffers on Beaumont Water.” Grant funds provided Cardona with a Venier LabQuest 2, equipment to be used by 11th- and 12th-grade students to collect and test data pertaining to the quality of Beaumont water and soil samples.
At Bingman Head Start, teacher Valencia Greenwood received a grant for $1,000 for hands-on learning materials for 50 students for her project “Pre-schoolers’ STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Hands-on Learning.” In her application, Greenwood asserted that pre-school students learn best by using hands-on materials. STEM learning labs provided by the BPSF grant include science kits, binoculars, microscopes and a variety of other science equipment and specially designed student notebooks meant to stimulate critical thinking, improve hand-eye coordination and promote higher level thinking skills intended for students and parents.
Sally Hopkins of Guess Elementary received a grant totaling $1,000 for supplies for her project “Talking Hands, Hearing Eyes.” Hopkins requested learning materials to benefit hearing impaired students in her class including sign language dictionaries, “multiple meanings” posters, metaphor and idiom workbooks, “Street Speak” guide series, and other related resources meant to increase the oral, signed and written language of deaf students. Hopkins believes the project will assist parents as well as students.
At the BPSF caravan surprise presentation May 2, Hopkins and three of her students, Brianna Artmore, Camron Collins and Andrea Ramos, were present to accept the awarded materials. She said she was grateful her project was chosen.
“I am very honored,” Hopkins said addressing the group. “I’m happy for the kids.”
She said she believes the books will encourage parent participation and help her teach sign language. She said the school would have access to the materials in perpetuity to benefit students now and in the future.
BISD Superintendent Dr. Timothy Chargois was at the event. He congratulated Hopkins and asked the teacher to show him how to say “good morning” in sign language. She readily complied and he imitated her motions, signing “good morning” to the children and others gathered for the brief presentation.
“Thank you for your passion for our children,” Chargois said to Hopkins. “And thanks to the Beaumont Public Schools Foundation.”
Guess Principal Debra Oge said she is thrilled Hopkins was chosen as a grant recipient. “She will use it to reach all students, deaf and hearing,” Oge said.
As Hopkins opened the boxes revealing the books and other items, her three students excitedly approached and sifted through the materials, exploring to see what future learning endeavors await them thanks to Hopkins and BPSF.