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Teacher Grant Testimonials

Kendra Tatsch-Theater Department

The grant was for 6 Google Chromebooks for the students and teachers in the theatre department. In theatre, we much often do extensive research in order to get the set, props, & costumes to fit the time period and location of the setting of the play. The Chromebooks have helped our classroom students as well as our extracurricular students. Additionally, in the classroom, these Chromebooks have help theatre students report research findings, create videos/films, & play music to sing & dance performances. The possibilities of future use are endless.

Thank you so much, CSISD Education Foundation! Your help and support since this organization began have been so helpful to so many!

Melissa Vaughn- 1st-grade teacher

First of all, thank you for the opportunities you have provided my students through the grant that you awarded for my project to enable more STEM learning in my classroom. My goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for their future, so I feel hands-on creative learning is the best way to foster the creativity and flexible thinking that leads to success in the long run.

We have used the Osmo materials to help build skills in reading, math, and even the basics of coding. These have been our most frequently used items and are such an easy way to teach skills in an interactive way. The Osmo makes learning like a game, which makes learning and taking risks less threatening since they can learn from mistakes within the activities.

Another great item we’ve been using quite a bit is the Snap Circuits. I took the baseplates and purchased a coffee table to store and serve as a base for building. These are such a great learning tool because they come with manuals for projects that the children can read and follow step by step. They can also use their creativity and build their own circuit. Children learn quickly about electrical circuits because unless they have a complete circuit their creation will not work. It also helps to teach patience and the importance of checking your work. Eventually, the children can start writing directions for their own circuit creations. 

Recently my reading groups have started book clubs. The clay items and stop motion camera will be used if book clubs choose to represent their book in video form for their final project. I am excited once we start using these tools what the children will create.

Again, thank you for providing these unique learning experiences for my current students and students in years to come. You’ve impacted over forty students this year and will impact forty more students each school year. This is just a little sample of what we’ve done in my classroom this year, we’ve received amazing support to make genuine learning happen. I feel that STEM and cross-curricular learning helps us to prepare our students for what they will experience once they are out of the educational system and building their own futures.

Theresa Kimbrough and Kerry Williams- PreK

PreK received the STEAM Park let of Legos with our grant. This has been a wonderful addition to our fine motor and center time activities. The students have really enjoyed the moveable parts they are able to build with this set. Ramps, swings, gears, are all implemented within center time. The students also enjoy the force and motion pieces to use with cars and the Lego people. They are already beginning to follow the instruction cards to make some of the more difficult park items. The cards are marked from green for easy to blue for the more difficult pieces. We have seen creativity, problem-solving and even improvising when pieces are already begin used by another student. We are seeing teamwork in action! Our Legos STEAM Park will be used for many years to come. We truly appreciate your generosity and investment into our littlest learners. 

Miranda Brown, Melissa Cain, Suzanne Frazier, Shannon Roberts, and Gina Taylor- Annex

A grant was awarded to the China Spring Annex in order to purchase 10 new calculators. The calculators are used by the students to assist them in completing lessons and preparing for the Algebra STAAR test. Graphing calculators have been updated and improved over the years. The updates have made the calculators more user-friendly. The grant has allowed us to replace some of the older calculators that have bad screens and/or have quit working. We are able to issue calculators to each student in the DAEP program as well as the TAG program to use while they are at school. The calculators enable students to easily evaluate functions by using graphs and tables. Students are able to solve systems of equations graphically as well as by using matrices. Students can graph equations to compare changes in the parameters and make decisions on the type of translation. The students can use the calculators to create tables for functions, answer questions, and make predictions on functions. The graphing calculators have enabled students to complete the courses needed for graduation such as Algebra I and II, Math Models, Geometry, and Pre- Calculus.

Johnny Day- FFA

Our Education Foundation grant was used to purchase a Bovine Breeder. This tool has allowed students to get hands-on applications in animal husbandry. So far 30 students have worked with this equipment and have had a more well-rounded learning experience than in the past when all we could do was watch videos and discuss the materials. The students and I are excited to continue to use the Bovine Breeder and add to our curriculum.

Jenny Hoffman, Alicia Pulcine, and Esther Boateng- Spanish Department

Opening a world of opportunity for a lifetime of communication.

--Jenny Hoffman

● Purchased 6 class sets of Spanish readers with teacher support materials for $1331.00.

● Students in all levels of Spanish have access to reading material that is appropriate for their needs. Some students have read novels as a class, and others have participated in SSR-style reading (LEER--selecting a novel or reading material and reading at their own pace).

● All Spanish teachers have access to leveled readers that are appropriate for each level of Spanish that is offered at China Spring High School.

● Mrs. Hoffman has compiled a Spanish reading library. 

Acting out a scene from Bianca Nieve

Atricia Biesterfeld- 3rd-grade teacher

Last school year, 2017-18, I was a proud recipient of an OSMO classroom kit and I couldn’t have been more thrilled. It came with 4 sets of OSMO’s that allow students to practice spelling, math facts, tangram shapes, and coding. All of these activities help students to become problem solvers while reinforcing skills needed to be successful in classroom lessons. Bonus: They love playing with OSMO!

Since I received 4 sets, I shared two of them with my teaching partner, Katy Bajer, so that all of our kids can use them in both classroom settings. They love using them in stations on occasion and even during WIN time when they have the option. I noticed some students learning to problem solve as they work through the levels in numbers and also with coding. (those are the two I use most being in a math setting). It is great for my STARS kids who come see us as well. They need help with math fluency at various levels, which OSMO numbers allow.

Thank you so much for providing the low tech enhancement to my classroom. My students and I love them! It helps me provide innovative and student-led lessons, which in turn allows me to work with students on intervention/enrichment needs.

Deborah Billeaud- Middle School Dyslexia

The CSEF Grant monies provided the older dyslexia students Phonics Based Chapter Book Sets. The book sets allowed a class/group of dyslexia students the opportunity to read age/grade level appropriate stories.

As part of the Dyslexia curriculum, students are to read books as a group. Prior to receiving and reading these books in the Dyslexia classes, students felt as if all they could read were “baby” or “children’s” books. These sets gave them a sense of accomplishment while reading high- interest stories; some of these students have not read, enjoyed, and understood a book in their life. 

Suzanne Thurman- 6th-grade teacher

The grant I received from the China Spring Education Foundation gave the 6th-grade social studies teachers the ability to offer all China Spring Intermediate 6th-grade students a valuable teaching tool that can be used before, during and after social studies lesson. The students really enjoy building background knowledge with Nearpod. Many of our students come from low socioeconomic backgrounds. Those students may never travel outside of their neighborhood. To expose them to virtual reality (VR) travel to foreign countries introduces them to new and different places. Nearpod also offers engaging lessons that can be easily tailored to the students’ and/or teacher’s needs. The grant also afforded the ability for all 6th-grade teachers to implement some form of Nearpod in every subject. Unfortunately, I transferred to the Science teacher’s role from years of teaching English Language Arts and Social Studies. I have been able to use the Science component to great success; however, the Social Studies teachers have used the program a great deal. The Social Studies curriculum is very lacking due to either nonexistent or outdated materials. Nearpod’s information and VR are up to date and relevant to today. I want to thank the China Spring Education Foundation for funding this innovative software. I am quite proud that the 6th-grade Social Studies teachers have seen student engagement up, grades up and participation as well. Nearpod gives a good base on which to build inquiry-based thinking, engagement, and the ability for students to “see” past their home area.

Nearpod has been and I hope will continue to be a “big” component in the 6th-grade curriculum. I have to admit that I am quite proud that our Instructional Technologists, Melissa Adams, took interest in the program and brought it to others in the district. I have heard a great deal of positive feedback from others in the district. Again, thank you so much for this beneficial grant.

Kelli Perry- High School Science

I would like to thank the Education Foundation for the Education Grant that my department was awarded last year. I was very excited to get the new models for the Anatomy class. It has already dramatically increased the learning of my students. The ability for them to use HANDS ON materials was uplifting. I feel that this will better prepare them to take advanced medical classes in college. They have been able to study the full system and not just ones pieced together. I have been able to increase their exposure and visualization to bones and muscles, not just pictures and paper. I was able to increase my rigor in the lab with more models that are a new concept to the students. Practical tests are also a new concept of testing to students when they go to college and I want them to not have anxiety of this testing format that first year. I have seen an increase in the students coming in to study the new models on their own time to prepare for the tests. They are also working together during this time quizzing each other. I could still use more materials to bring the class up to standard and am working on that slowly. The materials for anatomy are not cheap, but I know in time I can get the reference materials that will put our students above the others.

Vanessa Hopkins- 7th Grade Math

I was lucky enough to receive two grants from the China Spring Education Foundation. I am so thankful for the alternative seating tables you provided to my classroom last year. The students have enjoyed them greatly. We have worked collaboratively, individually, used them to present, and give them something to work on. I love having them in my classroom. I am attaching some of the pictures I had of students getting full utilization of this amazing seating. Thank you for taking the time and effort to help me create an inviting atmosphere in my class. The second grant was a classroom set of headphones for our 7th and 8th-grade classes. We have put them to work on many occasions and they are a valuable asset for testing and making sure we have the opportunity to change up the lesson. Thank you for helping my classroom run smoother! 

Mrs. Begesse - Elementary Technology

Jackie Bauman - Intermediate Reading Intervention

On behalf of the Reading Intervention Program and our Literacy Library, we thank you for your generous grant. The grant has provided us with an abundance of multi-leveled readers used by our reading intervention groups as well as our entire reading team at the intermediate campus. It is rewarding to know that when teachers come to me looking for the perfect book to teach a specific skill, on various grade levels that I have the resources to share. The multi-leveled readers have been utilized by teachers in guided reading groups, during class read alouds, and by the student during independent practice. Thank you for supporting our efforts to grow our students into reading gurus. We are so grateful to reap the rewards from your notable act of kindness.

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