BPSF grant caravan surprises staff, student

BPSF grant caravan  surprises staff, student

The Beaumont Public Schools Foundation delivered happy surprises to select Beaumont Independent School District staff and one student Thursday, Dec. 19, during the foundation’s fall grant caravan. Seven grant winners for fall 2013 received more than $6,600 in requested materials necessary for innovative classroom projects.

Vincent Middle School teacher Cindy Ashcroft received materials amounting to a $998.33 grant for an herb garden for her students. Ashcroft requested a greenhouse, tiller, gardening tools and herb seeds for about 200 Family Consumer Science and Agriculture students who will be growing the herbs for utilization in laboratory experiments. The cross-curriculum “Cultivating Minds” project is to show students how to use scientific and mathematical methods and vocabulary in relation to successful herb growth.

Marshall Middle School teacher Michael Black received $999.20 in materials for magnifying eye-loupes and a digital microscope for his students. With “Project Magnify!” close to 260 seventh-grade Life Science students will be able to observe and capture images of microscopic objects in their environment and, using the “Private Eye” curriculum, will be able to record their observations.

Sharon Yee, a teacher at Regina Howell Elementary, received materials totaling $969.02 for a “Wormwatcher Indoor Composting System” project. Students will use an indoor composting kit that uses red wiggler worms to create compost from leftover fruits and veggies, newspaper and other items often discarded. The system includes acrylic worm bins to allow for observation of the squiggly wigglers in action. The compost is to be used for outdoor box gardens at the campus, and students will grow seedlings in the classroom.

Charla Bergeron received materials totaling $998.75 for her Lucas Pre-K project “Jump & Jive Gym Time.” Bergeron requested educational gym equipment including a basketball hoop, hula-hoops and alphabet and number jumping mats for the entire campus, approximately 250 students, to help the children learn words and learn to count while developing their motor skills. Bergeron received her surprise grants during a student Christmas assembly at Lucas Pre-K. She thanked the BPSF board and staff and told the children gathered all about the new equipment. The Lucas Pre-K choir performed with custodian Rudy Patnett playing horn and librarian Alfreda George backing them up on keyboard.

“I am so excited!” Bergeron said when presented with the new gym equipment. “This is so fun! Thank you Beaumont Public Schools Foundation.”

Student Shanquaishia Edwards received the Bennie Hickman Math & Science Award and a grant totaling $761.99 for equipment for his project “Investigating Sustainability through Environmental Interactions.” Edwards plans to investigate the interactions of organisms in ecosystems utilizing equipment including air, weather and water systems. Materials for the ecosystems include gravel, soil and sand. Organisms such as fish, red belly toads and crickets will live in the habitats.

Teacher Gina Martin of Ozen High School received a grant for specialized character masks for her project “Mask-erade: Commedia dell’Arte in the Classroom.” Ozen drama students will use the masks from Italian theater for character development for years to come.

Odom Academy middle school teacher Will Humber won a grant from BPSF for gardening equipment for his “Gardens Galore” project. Humber previously received a grant for equipment including an incubator used to hatch baby chicks, a shelter for the birds and a shelter for the goats they planned to get in May 2013 at the time of the BPSF Spring caravan. Now, they have the goats and have expanded the gardens at the campus by approximately six times, so the Humber is in need of gardening equipment for his students. He received supplies including shovels, rakes, wheelbarrows, water hoses, all-natural fertilizers and insecticides, potting soil and seed trays.

Since 1993, BPSF has distributed more than $195,000 in grants to certified staff and students of BISD.