Teachers and their students in the Auburn-Washburn Unified School District 437 were surprised on Tuesday by members of the district’s foundation who awarded an estimated $47,000 in classroom grants for the 2017-18 school year.
The Auburn-Washburn Public Schools Foundation’s prize patrol made up of several board members gave a total of 57 grants across the 6,335-student district on Tuesday including 11 grants at Washburn Rural High School.
Jessica Johnson, a reading specialist at the high school, said the $500 she received will go toward the purchase of reading manipulatives for her students.
“I have students with dyslexia or other language disabilities,” Johnson said. “Having those kinaesthetic tools they can use in the classroom can help them improve their reading.”
Another $500 was given to Shelsey Wasserstein, a chemistry teacher at the high school, who said her grant will go toward new equipment for classroom lab experiments.
“A lot of our balances are broken and we haven’t been able to do a full lab with the chemistry students where they can weigh things,” she said. “This will get us our balances so we can start doing those experiments that we need to do to get the kids actually in the lab.”
Angela Davis, foundation president, said “far and away” the best part of giving out the classroom grants is the reactions from teachers and students alike.
“These grants give them the ability to do something new and different or to advance their class to a place they haven’t been to before,” she said. “We love to support new, innovative ideas and technology. The teachers are always very excited, the students are always happy to see new and interesting things that really keep them involved and interacting in class.”
Jared Goehring, a physical education teacher at Washburn Rural High School for the past 13 years, said he will use his grant for hantis tables used for the sport that is similar to table tennis but without the paddles.
“It’s a lot of movement and a lot of the changing sides of the table,” he said. “There’s a lot of hand-eye coordination, a lot of agility, a lot of quickness used. We’re always looking for new activities. We want to incorporate them into the P.E. department.”
Marcy Sandberg, a librarian at the high school, will use her grant for a green screen to go along with the video equipment she received last year. Scott Harvey, a language arts teacher, said he plans to use his grant to enhance his film studies class and eventually shift to a film course that will be offered as part of Washburn Rural High School’s international baccalaureate program.
Contact reporter Angela Deines at (785) 295-1143 or on Twitter @AngelaDeines.