Westerville Education Foundation Grant Recipients Announced

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The Westerville Education Foundation has announced that six grants totaling $5,950.73 will be funded as follows:

• $1,000 to Tom Markle, Walnut Springs Middle School, for the Walnut Springs Middle School Mentorship Program. This will not only connect 6th grade boys and girls with positive, adult/college-age (called “near peer”) role-models/mentors, but will also serve as a training program for these same middle school students to become mentors to younger students in the future. This will be accomplished through educational, enjoyable and experiential mentoring activities, experiences, and training and supportive relationships with mentors throughout the students’ middle school years (and during the summer months when possible.)

• $600 to Lisa Huelskamp, Janice Hill and Jean Trimble, Walnut Springs Middle School, for Interdisciplinary Advanced Language Arts Service Learning: Public Service Announcement Project for 8th Graders. Over the course of the school year, advanced language arts classes will be creating Public Service Announcements. The objective of these ads is education and awareness of significant social issues in an effort to change the public’s attitudes and behaviors and to stimulate positive social change. It is important, in a very hyper-stimulated society, that students do not lose these messages but have the opportunity to watch, reflect, research, write, create and produce their own PSAs.

• $500 to Lyndsey Manzo, Westerville North High School, for Zero Waste at Home Plate. In 2011, as part of The Ohio State University’s efforts to demonstrate commitment to sustainability, Ohio Stadium became the largest stadium in the country to attempt zero waste, which refers to diverting 90% of materials from landfills by recycling and composting (the intentional and managed decomposition of organic materials). In its inaugural year, the initiative resulted in a 61% reduction in trash with the highest diversion rate being 82.4%. As part of an environmental improvement project (one component of the AP Environmental Science curriculum) this year’s students would like to implement their own zero waste program during home games of the upcoming spring 2013 baseball season. The project will be modeled after The Ohio State University’s Zero Waste initiative at Ohio Stadium.

• $1,000 to Leslie Baumann, Westerville high schools, for the Westerville Wild Warbots, High School Robotics Club. The Westerville Wild Warbots Robotics team, founded in 2010, competes in the FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) Robotics Competition (FRC) for grades 9-12. It is an annual contest that helps young people discover the rewards and excitement of education and careers in science, engineering, and technology. In January, all FRC teams are presented with the challenge. Then they have six weeks to design, build, and program a robot that will complete this challenge. The high intensity competition rewards the effectiveness of each robot, the power of team strategy and collaboration, and the determination of students. Our team of 30 students represents all three Westerville high schools. For the past two years, the Westerville Wild Warbots have competed at the Buckeye Regional Competition held at Cleveland State University.

• $731.73 to Leah Schulte, Genoa Middle School, for Jaguar Update: TV Announcements for Genoa Middle School. At the beginning of the school year, a school news program was started which involves a video recording of two student anchors reading the day’s announcements. It is played for the entire school. Schulte and the students have been using a flip camera and free video editing software to create each day’s show, but this produces less than ideal results. Funding is needed to improve the project technologically so it’s easier to see and hear each broadcast, while giving students the freedom to come up with new and exciting ideas and segments and enriching their experience.

• $1,119 to Kenny Lee, Westerville City School District, for Camtasia Software for Enhanced Digital Learning. This grant request will provide the Camtasia Studio software package that will become part of five digital learning studios in the Westerville City School District. In the first quarter of 2013, the Early Learning Center and Academic Enrichment Center would be the initial sites to use the Camtasia Studio software with program roll out branching out to the three high schools in the third quarter of 2013. Elementary and middle school teachers could access Camtasia Studio at any of the five designated sites as well.

• $1,000 to Dr. Rebecca Berkowitz, Early Learning Center, for Using Pedometers as a Means to Monitor Physical Activity for Use in Cross Curricula Learning. This project is designed to help students enrolled in Westerville City Schools High School Multiple Disability (MD) units to understand the importance of monitoring one’s physical activity as well as to use the data collected to enhance math, science and social studies skills. This project proposes to supply each student with a pedometer to be used during the school day to track physical activity, with the goal of achieving 10,000 steps per day. There is a growing body of research focused on the association between school-based physical activity and academic performance. The use of pedometers as a mileage tool for an educational walking program brings additional learning to the special education classroom.

Recipients will be recognized at an awards ceremony on December 7 at the Westerville Public Library.