Foundation awards $31K to Topeka schools for innovative teaching concepts

As dozens of students watched, McEachron Elementary School teachers seeking to give their students innovative, hands-on knowledge about science and music received two grants Thursday totaling $1,488.

 

McEachron teachers were in the first of three Topeka public schools to receive over-sized checks, as members of the Topeka Public Schools Foundation “grant patrol” walked into classrooms on Thursday morning.

Foundation members awarded a total of $31,312 in 35 grants. At McEachron, two grants from the foundation were awarded to six teachers.

“Thank you for doing what you do,” foundation executive director Pamela Johnson-Betts told Kathleen Huffman, general music teacher for pre-school through fifth-grade students. “We try to do something to provide that extra thing.”

The $488 grant that Huffman’s class received will pay for the learning curriculum to teach students to play recorders, a flute-like instrument, and hand chimes.

Huffman has been a teacher for nine years in Topeka schools, six of them at McEachron.

In the second McEachron grant, second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade students will learn about boats, hot air balloons, cars and rockets, the design process and writing a log to record their work on their projects. Five teachers submitted the grant request for $1,000.

Principal Victor Williams told students that fifth-graders would launch rockets, fourth-graders would race carbon dioxide-powered cars, third graders would launch hot-air balloons, and second-graders would build boats to see how many pennies each boat can hold.

Williams has been the principal at McEachron for 18 years.

The grants were distributed between 20 individual schools, the Topeka Public Schools music department and one submitted on behalf of eight schools to study how plastics are made.

Grants were distributed for classroom, school and district-wide creative projects providing new learning opportunities for students, a statement issued by the school district said.

“The Foundation annually distributes educational grant dollars to Topeka Public Schools because grant dollars provide needed support to the district, endorse educator creativeness and benefit students with expanded educational experiences,” foundation executive director Pamela Johnson-Betts said.

The event in Topeka was conducted on World Teachers’ Day.

On Oct. 5, 1994, UNESCO proclaimed Oct. 5 to be World Teachers’ Day, celebrating the step made for teachers on Oct. 5, 1966, when a special intergovernmental conference convened by UNESCO in Paris adopted the UNESCO/ILO recommendation concerning the status of teachers, in cooperation with the ILO.

UNESCO is the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, and ILO is the International Labor Organization.

Contact reporter Steve Fry at (785) 295-1206 or @TCJCourtsNCrime on Twitter.

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