Teaching Grants

Teaching Grants

The Northwest ISD Education Foundation takes pride in providing Teaching Grants to hard working educators in our district, looking to open new doors for their students! To date, NEF has funded more than $1.8 million in grants.

Congratulations to the 2019-20 Teaching Grant Recipients! 

This year, thanks to the generosity of our supporters, NEF awarded 45 teaching grants across 21 campuses totaling more than $110,000! We are grateful for our grant reading committee, volunteers and donors who made this year's grant brigade such a success. Special thanks to FastSigns at Alliance for printing all of our recipient checks!

Click here for Grant Brigade photos.

Let's Put the TEAM in STEAM! – Peterson Elementary, $4,392.13

Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

Let's Put the TEAM in STEAM! joins the hearts and minds of students as they learn to problem solve and work collaboratively to find solutions to thought-provoking challenges involving coding and academics. The goal of the grant is to provide resources for a Junior Robotics program at Peterson Elementary to meet the needs of students in the primary grades. The Dash Robot Kits will be used for second and third grade classrooms, while the Cubetto Robot Kits will be used for pre-kindergarten through first grade classrooms. The Junior Robotics program is about more than just robots though; it is about what the children are doing with the robots to build relationship skills and grow as learners. Solving social and emotional challenges is a very similar process to that of the engineering design process. Through coding lessons, students will need to try new approaches, evaluate their effectiveness, adjust their plan, and try again and again. This grant will provide students with an opportunity to collaborate and practice Social and Emotional Learning skills in a low-stakes, highly engaging environment - a place where they feel safe to make mistakes, challenge themselves, and learn from each other. This grant will help students build competencies in self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision-making skills that will not only benefit them in the classroom today, but in the workplace tomorrow. 

Blankets With Sew Much Compassion – Adams Middle School, $3,788.59
Sponsored by: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance and the Eaton Family

Blankets With Sew Much Compassion combines creativity and charitable giving in an effort to teach life skills to students through quilted gifts for individuals in hospice care. The grant provides equipment and supplies for seventh and eighth grade Family and Consumer Science students at Adams Middle School to learn to design, measure, cut, piece, and sew fabric into lap quilts, walker caddies and adult bibs. The classes will partner with Solaris Hospice Care to bring cheer and comfort to their patients, and students will practice their writing skills by including handwritten notes of thanks for caregivers. The project will hone practical and technical skills, develop creativity, improve collaboration and give students an opportunity to help those in need. Their vision is to create a school culture of kindness, where students are ready to address real-world needs in our community and learn new skills while making useful gifts for others. 

Propel the Next Pixar – Eaton High School, $2,519.95
Sponsored by: The Eaton Family

In the field of 3-D animation, there is a growing number of job opportunities for creative professionals with technical skill and one of the greatest demands is for virtual 3-D sculptors. With Propel the Next Pixar, fine arts teachers at Eaton High School hope to inspire students to learn about virtual programming and offer training that is not currently available in the district. The grant purchases an iPad Pro, iPad pens and ZBrush software, which is the tool most used in the professional sculpting and animation field. Students will learn virtual sculpting and animation skills to create original works. The project allows students to express thoughts and ideas creatively while challenging the imagination, fostering reflective thinking, and developing disciplined effort and progressive problem-solving skills. Their hope is to expand the program to be accessible to students across the high school campus, and ultimately, the district. 

Illoominating Learning! – Justin Elementary, $1,394.19
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance

Illoominating Learning! funds a class set of weaving looms and various textures of yarns for the art program supporting kindergarten through fifth grade at Justin Elementary School. This grant introduces and immerses students to a relevant global learning opportunity that many would not otherwise have the chance to. Through this tangible creative expression, the grant strives to build students perseverance during productive struggle while improving the motor skills tied to reading, writing and coding. Learning to weave on a weaving loom can improve fine and gross motor skills of all students, especially students receiving special education services, which is about 15% of the campus population. Weaving requires students to cross the midline of their brains and bodies, a skill where the left and right hemispheres of the brain are openly communicating. Through the improvement of this skill, students also improve in areas like auditory acquisition, motor planning, sensory input, reading, writing and organizational skills used for math. 

We've Got Your Back(drop) – Tidwell Middle School, $999.00
Sponsored by: Huckabee

We've Got Your Back(drop) helps Tidwell Middle School fine arts teachers invest in their students and theatre department by purchasing QLab software and license. The QLab technology allows the theatre department to create digital backdrops instead of physical, painted backdrops, which is a long term money saver for the campus and a meaningful learning experience for students. Students will develop artistic merit and technical skill while they learn to create digital backdrops, utilize timing techniques to change backdrops during specific cues, and implement the use of their skills during a live theatre performance. This is the same program used by NISD high schools for use in their large-scale musicals and by many professional theatre shows so students will benefit from the experience in middle school, high school and beyond. 

Band-Aid Instruments! – Chisholm Trail Middle School, $4,818.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

At Chisholm Trail Middle School, 45% of their students are socioeconomically disadvantaged and 35% are considered an at-risk population, which can create unique challenges when it comes to providing equitable access to opportunities and services. With Band-Aid Instruments!, fine arts teachers will purchase two clarinets, two saxophones and two flutes for students who want to participate, but are unable to because of the cost to rent or purchase these instruments. With a goal to continue to grow the band program at CTMS, these school-owned instruments will be provided to socioeconomically disadvantaged students. The students effected by this grant will be able to participate in concerns, competitions, All-District and All-Region auditions/bands, Solo and Ensemble contests, fine arts showcases and community performances. Learning the fundamentals of music and performance allows these students to not only participate in full band ensemble, but to be competitive, successful young musicians. 

iPads for Music Literacy – Wilson Middle School, $3,538.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

When a person is learning a language, learning to speak the language is only the first hurdle. In order to be fluent, a person also needs to learn how to read and write in that language. Learning to play an instrument is just like learning a new language. In order to be truly fluent in the language of music, students must also be able to read and comprehend the symbols and notes on the sheet music in front of them. This is a process for all students, but there are many students for whom learning to read music is very difficult. This is the case for students who struggle with dyslexia, dyscalculia, ADHD or other challenges that educators often help students overcome. This year, the fine arts teachers at Wilson Middle School are implementing small group sessions in a once a week rotation with beginner band students to help target these skills and make all students stronger music readers. There are many applications available for the iPad that are intuitive and fun for students, but they are not available on district issued Chromebooks. iPads for Music Literacy funds an individual iPad for each student to use during their session, giving them a fun and engaging way to help them in the music language acquisition process! The goal of this project is to enhance the education of all beginner musicians by giving them a weekly deep dive into individual music literacy reinforcement and practice so that every child can feel successful on their instrument. Because of the pathways that are created in the brain during their musical training, their success in band can and does translate to success in other classes, too. 

Takin' It to the Streets – Gene Pike Middle School, $750.95
Sponsored by: EECU

Takin' It to the Streets supports the fine arts department at Pike Middle School by funding a portable sound system. Choir students are often asked to perform in the community, but without a PA system and the necessary portable equipment, they have had to decline some of these invitations. With their new system, fine arts teachers hope to perform more frequently for the community, lower the number of issues related to technology, and support students by providing them with the equipment they need to perform their best. This grant creates more opportunity for students to perform and helps the campus collaborate with families and the greater community. They plan to perform at local nursing and assisted living facilities, along with community events like Justin Lion's Club Pancakes with Santa and the Harriett Creek Christmas Tree lighting. 

Music Theory Madness! – Gene Pike Middle School, $1,854.00
Sponsored by: Huckabee

Many young musicians consider music theory concepts difficult to grasp. Using technology, this grant will increase the musical literacy of band members at Pike Middle School and provide differentiated instruction to empower each student to succeed. Music Theory Madness! purchases six iPads to serve more than 200 students in their campus band. The iPads will be used to provide digital resources to students through lessons available with the campus NinGenius subscription. In a world of digital learners, this project provides an interactive way to approach music theory and engages students in a variety of lessons. Much like playing a game,  students will earn "belts" through each level and challenge themselves to improve weekly. This activity will reinforce current teaching materials, as well as help current and future band students improve music theory knowledge and music literacy. Cooperative learning games are a proven technique to build self-confidence and classroom community, along with its ability to provide differentiation for students through multiple levels of difficulty and self-paced learning. Teachers will be able to view all student scores, track individual progress and see class patterns. 

Sewing and Design Club – Northwest High School, $3,019.95
Sponsored by: NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 for NISD

Sewing and Design Club provides equipment and supplies to enable members of the Sewing/Design Club at Northwest High School to fully participate and build projects that demonstrate the mastery of skills acquired through membership in the organization. Students will learn to develop the skills necessary to take a clothing project from the design stage to the completed, wearable garment and learn to incorporate previous learning in math, geometry, art and design into building these new skills. The grant provides each student with a basic sewing kit, including sewing scissors, measuring and marking tools, pins, needles, and a seam ripper, as well as the fabric to complete their chosen project. In addition, every student will have the opportunity to learn on a well-functioning sewing machine and serger. One goal of the project is to help students acquire basic skills and build confidence as they learn to take ownership of their own apparel and to be more responsible consumers. The project also hopes to provide a meaningful learning experience for students who have an interest in gaining the necessary skills to enter a career in the industry.

Buzzing with Code – Justin Elementary, $1,899.55
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) says that today's students must be prepared to thrive in a constantly evolving technological landscape. The ISTE standards help teachers at Justin Elementary develop technology rich environments that empower student voice and ensure student-driven processes. Buzzing with Code provides students and teachers the ability to evolve in their technological thinking skills. The library will model the integration of technology through coding with grade level curriculum standards; such as patterns in math and story retell in reading. For example, students will practice story retell skills while learning beginning code to get the Bee-Bot to move through the parts of the story on the floor grid. The ultimate goal is for the library to model the integration of robotics in meaningful learning experiences, which will in turn encourage teachers to plan future lessons using the Bee-Bots with their grade level curriculum. The grant purchases 16 Bee-Bot robots and 4 activity kits to add to the school library to support students in pre-kindergarten, kindergarten and first grade. These resources will create engaging reading and math instruction for all students to work on problem solving skills, collaboration skills and social emotional learning skills. 

Wizards of Ozobots – Justin Elementary, $3,598.00
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

According to the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) students must be prepared to thrive in our technology rich world. Wizards of Ozobots provides students at Justin Elementary with the opportunity to work on computational thinking in the digital world. Teachers will be able to develop lessons for students that provide opportunities to work in collaborative teams while solving coding problems with traditional academic concepts as the backdrop for the new technology experiences. The grant funds two class sets of Ozobots for third through fifth grade teachers to integrate coding into their regular instruction. Working with Ozobots will help students learn how automation works and how to use algorithmic thinking to develop a sequence of steps to create and test automated solutions. The activities help students work on problem solving, collaboration and social emotional learning skills with the goal of increasing cognitive demand and increasing student performance on grade-level specific math and science activities. 

Diversify the Diversity – Medlin Middle School, $752.10
Sponsored by: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance

Diversify the Diversity aims to provide seventh grade students at Medlin Middle School with an opportunity to discover Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) traits through new and diverse literature sets. Some of the novels include Ghost, The Fault in Our Stars, Does My Head Look Big in This, The Secret Keepers, and more. First, students will choose their novel and divide into self-selected groups. Within their groups, students will read, discuss and take meaningful notes to solidify their understanding of the novel and its theme. Following a deep discussion with all students, they will complete the lesson with a community project. Members of the community will be invited to give input on the areas of need before students put their new SEL framework to work for the benefit of others in the school community. 

You've Been Book'd! – Cox Elementary, $1,460.15
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance

You've Been Book'd! is an innovative badge challenge to engage students in reading and celebrate literacy in classrooms at Cox Elementary. Kindergarten through fifth grade classes will receive a badge for each book that students read and it will be displayed on an engaging poster outside the classroom. By creating excitement and suspense through a badge challenge to read five of the "You've Been Book'd" titles, this project will offer an innovative approach to making reading an enjoyable activity and support meet their campus goal of increasing student literacy engagement The project goal is to encourage community-building through classroom reading, create friendly competition between classrooms, and establish a love of reading for all students. 

Student Voice and Choice in the Classroom Library – Steele Accelerated High School, $1,479.45
Sponsored by: Huckabee

Research shows that accessibility to engaging literature and opportunities to read stories that are relevant to students' lives increases literacy, reading comprehension, reading stamina, vocabulary, writing fluency and empathy. Most importantly, finding book titles that are relevant to students' lives demonstrates that their lives, stories and experiences are meritorious and valuable to the learning community and society. Student Voice and Choice in the Classroom Library provides funds to introduce 30 new book titles to English I, English II and Practical Writing students at Steele Accelerated High School. The goal is to provide a diverse set of books to give students a "voice and choice" of what they read - both individually and in literary groups. The book selection will include stories of students struggling with mental health, students who immigrated to the U.S., students who learn in different ways, students who are homeless, students who have diverse backgrounds, and more. Because the campus does not have an on-site library, the books will also be available for all Steele students to check out for independent reading throughout the year. 

Energizing Our Reading with Lightbox – Haslet Elementary, $1,730.00
Sponsored by: NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 for NISD

Energizing Our Reading with Lightbox purchases a collection of interactive Lightbox books that will digitally modernize the existing library collection at Haslet Elementary School, support a wide variety of learning objectives, provide point-of-need reading at any time, and increase students' enthusiasm for reading and discovery. Lightbox books will be available through the campus' digital library for pre-kindergarten through fifth grade students, which allows students to access from school or home. Unlike traditional print books, these interactive e-books provide support tools for all levels of readers including audio, video, activities, web links, slideshows, transparencies interactive maps, quizzes and keywords; therefore, the multifaceted platform ensures every student can successfully comprehend and learn the content. Lightbox books also offer unlimited access, which allows multiple students to view the same book at the same time and provides a new opportunity for teachers to introduce or extend learning concepts in the classroom. Each book was carefully chosen to open up experiences for every student to energize their reading and discovery. The varied collection enables students to strengthen their competencies in the areas of basic social emotional learning skills, career exploration, space exploration, weather conditions, national holidays, STEM related topics and more. 

A Step in the Right Reading Direction – Hatfield Elementary, $3,197.25
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

The goal of A Step in the Right Reading Direction is to help students at Hatfield Elementary School become confident, accurate, fluent and independent readers. The grant purchases two Literacy Footprints kits to expand the leveled book resources available on their campus. The fourth grade kit will support fourth and fifth grade readers and the Compass Collection kit will support students who are acquiring English. The book kits follow a guided reading format and include pre-planned lessons for each title, which allows teachers to provide every student with the kind of quality, sequential instruction that is important for struggling readers. The engaging and varied titles benefit all students by giving them the skills to read on or above grade level, and to enjoy the learning journey as they go!

Publish Book of High School Students Creative Writing and Conferences – Northwest High School, $2,732.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

Creative Writing students work hard throughout the year to go through all steps of the writing process. However, the step that usually is slighted during this process is the publishing piece. With Publish Book of High School Students Creative Writing and Conferences, teachers at Northwest High School hope to inspire the next generation of great writers by helping them experience the pay off, success and pride of achieving a published piece of writing! Publishing a piece of their own may be the extra push that some students need in order to build confidence in their writing abilities, which is a life skill that they can take with them beyond the four walls of the high school classrooms. All students on campus will be invited to submit work and participate in the published book, which will include poetry, short stories, song lyrics, and other written work. The grant also provides funding to host a Creative Writers' Conference for the entire school with professional speakers. Once published, the book will be sold for fundraising purposes to provide for future conference and publishing needs.

'All is Fair in Love & Books' – Clara Love Elementary, $2,500.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

Research shows that representation matters. It is important for schools and libraries to be filled with books that serve as mirrors of the student's lives and identities, but also windows into parts of the world they have not yet ventured. 'All is Fair in Love & Books' provides funding for diverse literature so that every child at Clara Love Elementary School can see themselves in a variety of ways, foster a positive self-image, and raise cultural awareness. The grant will allow the campus to buy hundreds of book titles that have been carefully selected to represent their student population and bring social awareness to all students. In partnership with the Clara Love PTA, the campus will host "All is Fair in Love & Books" night to immerse students in art, flags, food, music, storytelling and presentations from the various cultures represented in these books. Their vision is to foster a sense of belonging and a culture of acceptance across the campus, which will support the Social and Emotional Learning core competencies and strengthen relationships between all stakeholders. In addition to books, the grant provides materials needed to successfully execute the culture night.

Listen, Learn, Read On with Audiobooks – Granger Elementary, $1,506.38
Sponsored by: NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 for NISD 

Research shows that the benefits of reading are tremendous including vocabulary advancement, development of critical thinking skills, reduced stress, and increased knowledge of the world. The purpose of Listen, Learn, Read On with Audiobooks is to purchase a collection of fifty audio books to allow teachers at Granger Elementary to offer a listening library that will increase students’ enthusiasm for reading and their reading achievement. They will achieve this goal by supplying access to digital content with enhance features to provide a multi-sensory experience when reading and give students additional resources for reading success. Each book has been carefully selected based on the criteria of outstanding professional reviews, quality content, and representation of a wide range of genres and varied interest levels. Thirty-eight titles will support third through sixth grade reading levels and twelve titles will support kindergarten through second grade. These recorded texts help bridge the gap for struggling readers and offer built in digital support tools such as the ability to adjust reading speed, which enables students to enjoy books above their independent reading level. Follett Digital Audio books are accessible from any computer or mobile device with current browser settings so reading can happen in the classroom, car or home.

Listen-Up with Interactive Reading – Seven Hills Elementary, $4,564.35
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

Good readers become great leaders! In order to be successful, kids today need to learn to read independently, think critically, and reflect universally on how reading impacts them. The purpose of Listen-Up with Interactive Reading is to provide books in a variety of formats so that every student at Seven Hills Elementary School is supported by resources and reading material in their primary learning style. This grant enhances the campus library to include various fiction and non-fiction titles in print, audio and interactive formats. The book titles were carefully chosen to support topics that are grade-appropriate and they range from Social and Emotional Learning traits to gardening and recipe books. By providing high interest text in a variety of formats, this grant engages all students in reading, promotes the importance of literacy, and helps struggling readers build their fundamental skills in a new way. 

Free Little Library – Cox Elementary, $1,291.08
Sponsored by: FastSigns Alliance

Little Free Libraries is a grass-roots initiative that has spread across the country with the goal of providing a creative solution to the book access problem. School libraries may not be available twenty-four hours a day, but by offering a well-maintained Little Library with a variety of books, the school, teachers and community can provide the next best thing for all students. Free Little Library funds the start-up of three "libraries" to serve the needs of students at Cox Elementary: one for kindergarten and first grade, one for second and third grade, and one for fourth and fifth grade students. This is an important step in providing equal access to books for at-risk and struggling students. Each library will have a designated location outside of the school and will hold a variety of grade-level appropriate books. Three starter sets will provide a number of books to jump-start the program; however, the project will be sustainable as teachers encourage students to "take a book and leave a book."

The Bookworm Vending Machine – Peterson Elementary, $4,020.00
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

This year, teachers at Peterson Elementary School are focused on using Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) with fidelity. PBIS is a way for schools to teach students about behavior, just as they would teach subjects like reading or math, and an opportunity to celebrate students who make good choices and work toward extraordinary character! Teachers have implemented a "money" system and students have the opportunity to earn a gold coin when they are following the character expectations. The goal is to improve overall behavior and lower discipline referrals by setting character expectations and allowing students to work toward a reward, a positive note from their teacher and a positive phone call home. In addition, the campus is promoting literacy across all grade levels so that students develop a love of reading and improve fundamental skills. The Bookworm Vending Machine combines these two focuses by purchasing a book vending machine for all students to use during the school year. Each class will recognize one student per month for being a "Kid with Character!" and they will get to use their gold coin to choose a new book. As an ongoing initiative, this grant will positively impact 35 students each month and distribute more than 300 books per school year.

Math RTI Curriculum – Seven Hills Elementary, $2,092.15
Sponsored by: Pinnacle Bank and NEF Employee Giving Campaign

Fifth grade math is one of the most crucial years in education for immediate and future success. The goal of Math RTI Curriculum is to close achievement gaps for students struggling in mathematics and provide extensions for students who are on an advanced level at Seven Hills Elementary School. Seven Hills has a high ELL, ECD and at-risk population, and unfortunately, many students will not have the opportunity to be exposed to an interactive curriculum like this one. The intensive Response to Intervention (RTI) curriculum and math manipulatives purchased will be used daily during small groups or lead time. Each day students will learn through a "CRA" approach, which stands for Concrete, Representational and Abstract. The manipulatives used during lessons develops conceptual understanding and helps students self-discover the mathematical world through a hands-on approach. Since the program is designed for fifth and sixth grade, educators will also have the opportunity to support students who are on or above grade level. The sixth grade lessons will help set a baseline for any students interested in pre-AP math next school year. 

Got a Knack for Speed Stacks – Justin Elementary, $1,150.00
Sponsored by: AllianceTexas Corporate Challenge

Got a Knack for Speed Stacks funds 60 sets of Speed Stack cups to support every student in kindergarten through fifth grade at Justin Elementary through their physical education classes. Cup stacking is a unique sport that levels the playing field in PE and closes achievement gaps because students of all skill levels can participate. When you cup stack, both hemispheres of the brain are activated and the movements promote hand-eye coordination, ambidexterity, quickness, concentration and bilateral proficiency. Students will begin by learning foundation skills and combinations before moving on to cup stacking games like relays and partner stacks when they are ready to increase the rigor. In addition to enhancing physical fitness, the patterns of cup stacking imitate patterns needed for reading and writing by activating the same parts of the brain and following the right-to-left sequence, which helps support academic achievement.

You Can 'Count on Me' – Thompson Elementary, $3,695.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

Studies have shown that exercise decreases chronic disease and promotes psychological well-being by decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety. Additionally, exercise may help improve academic performance leading to better grades and achievement, improved academic behavior, and increased concentration and attentiveness in students. You Can 'Count on Me' is a grant aimed at teaching Thompson Elementary School students how exercise can positively impact their lives, and providing those students with the tools needed to improve their physical fitness and nutrition decisions. Using pedometers, students will monitor their activity levels to understand how much physical activity they get during the day and to set goals for increased movement based on their own past performance. An optic hub will allow the data to be available for PE teachers to track student progress over time and encourage students who show improvement. The project also encourages students to share what they learn with their family to empower students and the community as a whole to lead an active, healthy lifestyle!

Ready, Set, Regulate – Peterson Elementary, $1,156.57
Sponsored by: Huckabee

Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) is the process through which children and adults acquire and effectively apply the knowledge, attitudes and skills necessary to understand and manage emotions; set and achieve positive goals; feel and show empathy for others; establish and maintain positive relationships; and make responsible decisions. CASEL defines these as some of the most imperative skills that should be mastered in order to develop successful relationships and become contributing members of society. Ready, Set, Regulate aims to teach students at Peterson Elementary School about "zones of regulation" and help them learn SEL strategies to self-regulate their emotions in and out of the classroom, leading to more positive student interactions, less time out of the classroom and eventually more effective learning. In addition to books and resource materials, the grant provides each classroom with a "calm down" kit filled with sensory tools (breathing tools, fidgets, glitter jars, busy blocks, writing and drawing) for students to use to "get in the green" zone and be ready to learn! 

Courage, Confidence, Kindness: Change Starts with Me – Prairie View Elementary, $751.38
Sponsored by: Pinnacle Bank

Educators begin the foundation of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) and literacy in pre-kindergarten and kindergarten classrooms. By introducing SEL skills early-on, students will be equipped with the appropriate resources and tools to not only recognize their emotions and behaviors, but also grow positive relationships and become successful learners. Courage, Confidence, Kindness: Change Starts with Me provides pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students at Prairie View Elementary School with a balanced educational and emotional support system as teachers work to show them the importance of literacy and SEL. The grant allows teachers to create a shared grade-level cart packed with English and Spanish books, SEL games, and literacy resources. The books and resources will be implemented into the everyday schedule to teach students about self-awareness and social awareness so they can learn to identify emotions, manage and use emotions positively, recognize strengths and weaknesses, and develop a growth mindset. Ultimately, their vision is for every student to leave the classroom with the building blocks of courage, confidence and kindness... and with the knowledge that they are worthy. 

Shake, Rattle, and Roll to Self-Regulation – Clara Love Elementary, $4,828.34
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

The ability to practice self-awareness, self-management, responsible decision making, and personal well-being are essential for success in school. For students who lack these skills, school can be difficult. Shake, Rattle and Roll to Self-Regulation funds an outdoor sensory motor lab in the enclosed courtyard at Clara Love Elementary School. The outdoor sensory lab will provide learning opportunities for students in pre-kindergarten through fifth grade who need assistance with self-regulation, calming, and pro-social behavior. In the lab, students will be able to access specific equipment and activities designed to provide an appropriate sensory "diet" to help them focus and prepare for learning. Students will have access to the lab as part of scheduled activities or as needed for sensory breaks if they become overwhelmed in the classroom.

An Exercise in Education and Empathy – Medlin Middle School, $1,983.15
Sponsored by: Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance

An Exercise in Education and Empathy is a grant that combines physical movement with two important areas of focus in Northwest ISD; literacy and Social Emotional Learning (SEL). The funds purchase five FitDesk exercise bikes for the Medlin Middle School library to give students the ability to be physically active while they are reading or working on assignments. Middle school students are only required to take two semesters of Physical Education following their year in sixth grade, and because there is not an option for recess, this can result in a decrease of daily physical activity for many seventh and eighth grade students. For many students, physical activity provides a means of energy outlet that cannot be addressed well in an academic classroom and for students with focusing difficulties or emotional issues, the addition of physical activity can give them the ability to focus more on their school work. The goal is to provide a space for students to add physical movement to their academic tasks, which can result in improved focus, higher academic performance and positive mental health development in youth.  

Social Emotional Reading – Gene Pike Middle School, $783.23
Sponsored by: In Memory of Junko Stanley: NEF Employee Giving Campaign and SPED

The Committee for Children defines Social Emotional Learning (SEL) as “the process of developing the self-awareness, self-control, and interpersonal skills that are vital for school, work and life success.” Social Emotional Reading provides literature-based SEL resources to support each grade level at Pike Middle School. The lessons teach SEL strategies to all students, and enhance the individual and group therapy sessions for at-risk students who work with the Communities and Schools social worker and the campuses counseling department. Through reading texts that illustrate SEL strategies, the grant aims to help students understand and manage emotions, set and achieve positive goals, feel and show empathy for others, establish and maintain positive relationships and make responsible decisions. The campus plans to engage at-risk students with the new materials in its first year and then implement the resources school wide for teachers to use during their advisory time with all students.

iCommunicate: AAC Immersion for Students with Complex Speech and Cognitive Delays – Nance Elementary, $1,516.94
Sponsored by: GPD Foundation

Language and therefore, communication is the foundation by which all academic and educational practices are based. Verbal speech is used throughout the entire school day for teaching purposes including processes and procedures, new concepts, giving directions, basic conversation and socializing.  Yet, verbal speech is a mode of communication that students with cognitive differences and complex speech impairments do not have the ability to utilize. The goal of iCommunicate is to immerse students in a dual-symbol based Augmentative Alternative Communication (AAC) to develop language and communication. At Nance Elementary School, the Structured Learning Classroom teacher and speech-language pathologist will engage nonverbal and low-verbal students by modeling the use of an alternate language and communication system throughout the day. This will allow non- and low-verbal students to learn how to communicate effectively using symbols coupled with voice output technology so that their voices can be heard, even if they cannot communicate using verbal speech. By using the AAC application, students will have an opportunity to develop language and communication skills to their highest potential in school, the community and beyond.

Coffee Shop – Eaton High School, $1,487.51
Sponsored by: The Eaton Family and GPD Foundation

Special education students often need help and reinforcement with skills that can be taken for granted by general education students. Things like counting money, making change and socializing with customers are important skills that students will need when they graduate. Coffee Shop, as the grant title suggests, funds the implementation of a student-led coffee shop at Eaton High School. Special education students will manage the business and assume responsibility for regular operations. All campus employees will be able to order through a Google form for once a week delivery. Students will prepare the coffee order, including brewing, adding sweeteners and creamers, and affixing correct labels. They will deliver the coffee to the correct employee, collect money and make change, and interact with their customers. Once the shop has closed for the day, students will deposit profits, take inventory and clean the shop. This grant is an opportunity for special education students to learn crucial skills for the workforce and the world, to take pride and ownership in a service they provide, and to be seen doing great work in their campus community. It also allows general education students and campus employees to witness their capabilities and support their efforts.  

Everything is Awesome, Everything is cool when you're part of STEM club – Peterson Elementary, $488.59
Sponsored by: Joeris General Contractors, Ltd.

STEM clubs offers unique learning opportunities for students that are not always part of the traditional classroom curriculum and allows students to expand on concepts they've learned in a fun and engaging way. Everything is Awesome, Everything is cool when you're part of STEM club provides resources for a second grade club at Peterson Elementary to help promote science, technology, engineering and math. Students will develop a passion for STEM, learn to collaborate in a team environment, and gain the communication skills necessary to problem solve with others. Each week, students will be presented with a different challenge where they must work together to design, build and test their creations. 

Medlin Robotics Team – Medlin Middle School, $4,825.63
Sponsored by: CoServ Charitable Foundation

In January, teachers at Medlin Middle School started an after school robotics team for students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. Their vision was to create an engaging student-centered extra-curricular organization for all students interested in robotics and coding, and to provide them with opportunities to learn and develop new skills. The response from students was so great that they didn't have enough equipment for each student to work with the hands-on activities. Medlin Robotics Team funds three VEX V5 Competition Super Kits and the supplies needed for storage on campus. With the long term goal of helping students prepare for and compete in the regional VEX robotics competitions, this grant ensures every student is able to join and develop skills through unique experiences with robotics, problem solving, communication and collaboration, and team-building skills. 

Let's Breakout! – Hatfield Elementary, $2,000.00
Sponsored by: Facebook Fort Worth Data Center

Let’s Breakout! purchases 12 BreakoutEDU bundles to teachers at Hatfield Elementary School so that every classroom can create and implement an escape room to help students develop new skills and solidify their understanding of the content being taught through the experience. The kits allow teachers to access an online database of pre-created escape room activities or they can create their own set of challenges! Each bundle includes all supplies needed for set up and implementation, including locks, an invisible ink pen, UV light and a hasp. The goal is for students to practice critical-thinking skills and collaboration to solve clues with their team. To be successful, students will put their communication skills to the test as they work together to solve rigorous and higher-order thinking questions. Following an activity, teachers can use the results to show that students understand the content and use this as a formative assessment to guide their teaching. In addition to regular classroom use, the kits can be utilized for gifted and talented, special education, and fine arts classes, as well as staff team building activities.

Engineering Happier Endings – Justin Elementary, $1,112.52
Sponsored by: Facebook Fort Worth Data Center

Over the last few years, first through fifth grade students at Justin Elementary School have been engaged in MakerSpace problem-solving challenges on a weekly basis. When PPCD and pre-kindergarten students joined in on the learning fun this year, they realized they needed supplies and materials to develop the space for MakerSpace opportunities that can support all students. Engineering Happier Endings provides resources and materials to help early elementary students discover STEM through fairy tale literature and inspire them to explore each challenge by working together to find a solution! The kits purchased include the building materials, story cards, and teacher resources to implement into the MakerSpace challenges. Through this grant, students will learn and develop important skills, including creativity, problem solving, critical thinking and collaboration, development of positive self-image, and literacy.

STEM Backpacks to Go – Thompson Elementary, Granger Elementary, Sendera Ranch Elementary, Haslet Elementary, $3,168.96
Sponsored by: Facebook Fort Worth Data Center

STEM Backpacks to Go provides four elementary campuses with the resources to create circulating backpacks filled with STEM challenges and all of the materials needed to reinforce the learning concepts and higher-order thinking. Teachers at Thompson Elementary, Granger Elementary, Sendera Ranch Elementary, and Haslet Elementary worked together on the project, which aims to enhance education by providing new tools to develop and enrich student learning beyond the traditional classroom setting. Each campus will have twelve backpacks available for students to check out and take home for the purpose of engaging in STEM related project with their families. The resources provided in STEM backpacks cultivate reading, listening, problem solving, collaboration and writing skills, as well as give students a means to explore and share their learning with the school communities. With STEM Backpacks to Go, STEM creations can happen anywhere, anytime and with anyone.

We Heart Science: Lab Investigation Celebration – Northwest High School, $2,170.47
Sponsored by: Devon Energy

We Heart Science: Lab Investigation Celebration is an event designed to give students an exciting day of scientific exploration, hands-on investigation, and the opportunity to learn and share advanced science knowledge with multiple grade-level students. Northwest High School will host sixth grade students from across the district and participating students from each grade level will  lead them in explorations of biology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, technology and engineering. The goal of the grant is to generate interest and excitement for the study of upper level science among middle school students, and to provide high school students with an opportunity to serve as experts and strengthen their knowledge as they teach learned content.

Where's the Confusion? – Northwest High School, $1,299.96
Sponsored by: Pogue Construction

Where’s the Confusion? provides three large mobile whiteboards for freshman and sophomore biology students at Northwest High School with the goal of helping students focus on their personalized learning. The whiteboards will have many uses, including differentiated assignments, small peer groups for student-led reviews, class presentations where each group is able to complete one piece of a larger project, and stations to work through points of confusion when students need clarity on a lesson. Their vision for the grant is to create an environment that benefits all students at different levels of learning, promotes collaboration and critical thinking, allows students to work through productive struggle and areas of confusion, and supports AVID strategies across the campus. By adding these resources, students can collaborate with each other and work on different parts of a lesson of different types of lessons, which allows the teacher to reach and meet more students at their current level of knowledge.

SATPAC articulation therapy program – Cox Elementary (supports all speech pathologists across the district), $4,375.00
Sponsored by: NEF Employee Giving Campaign

Remediation of the /r/ and /s/ sounds in children's speech is one of the trickiest therapies for Speech Pathologists. Progress is typically slow and students are in therapy for extended periods of time. SATPAC articulation therapy program funds 25 licenses for SATPAC, which is a systematic approach to the problem that facilitates success in therapy in a shorter amount of time. The program uses nonsense words so the student does not revert to old habits when using real words in order to establish the target sound. Following those therapy sessions, it moves to contexts (phrases and sentences) that help generalize this ability to real speech. The grant allows every Speech Pathologist in the district to receive a license so that students in need on every NISD campus will benefit from the resources. SATPAC helps to correct articulation disorders, improves student communication skills, boosts confidence in public speaking, and increases the amount of time that students with speech disorders are in the general education classroom. The program also allows for individualized lists to be created and used in therapy or at home and gives therapists a way to keep accurate data on student progress.

Kore Wobble Stools – Cox Elementary, $642.46
Sponsored by: Jeff Dearing, New York Life Insurance

Kore Wobble Stools purchases ten active seating chairs for fourth grade students at Cox Elementary as a way to help students release their energy while completing work in the classroom. The chairs encourage continuous movement as they rock and spin on a domed base, providing a flexible seating option that promotes natural posture and increased secondary focus. The chairs give students a choice of how and where they learn best. In addition, the wobble stools are a great tool for students with ADHD and sensory processing disorders because it allows them to move while sitting (Active Sitting) and get their wiggles out during instruction. The extra support from these stools would help all of my students to reach their full potential and keep them engaged in their learning.

Don't Stop Beleafing in our Smarty Plants! – Thompson Elementary, $3,371.17
Sponsored by: Facebook Fort Worth Data Center

Psychologist Albert Bandura defined self-efficacy as the ability to exert control over one's own motivation, behavior and environment. One's sense of self-efficacy can play a major role in how one approaches goals, tasks and challenges. The goal of Don't Stop Beleafing in our Smarty Plants! is to establish and sustain a school garden at Thompson Elementary School so every student can enrich Social Emotional Learning; specifically self-efficacy. School gardens have many benefits, including social emotional awareness, improved mental and physical health, and responsible academic and environmental learners. The grant purchases eight raised cedar beds, soil, cement stepping stones, seeds, live plants, plants signs, water buckets, a class set of gardening gloves, various garden tools, storage containers, and garden rock. The Thompson teachers have already discussed their plans to maintain and enhance the garden each school year. With the campus budget, they plan to ensure its sustainability by proactively budgeting for three years to replace and trade plants due to seasonal weather changes and partnered with their PTA to The project also has support from community organizations and volunteers, including a resident expert who  sponsored the club for the past three years and will continue to be the campus leader. 

The GROW LAB – Peterson Elementary, $4,846.54
Sponsored by: Facebook Fort Worth Data Center

Welcome to The GROW LAB – a Great Room of Wonder for students at Peterson Elementary School! In the GROW LAB, students will cultivate their natural sense of curiosity through hands-on, meaningful learning opportunities. The lab will “sprout” in the campus library and transform the space into a collaborative, multi-faceted learning hub. Students from every grade will be able to use the resources and activities provided by this grant to learn through inquiry, exploration and iteration. While the library’s focus will still be cultivating literacy skills and engaging students in reading, the purpose of the grant is to expand their learning to incorporate math, science, language and social studies. The new resources include a 3D printer, STEM kits and Little Bits coding packs, a magnetic marble run, a mobile LEGO magnetic wall, LEGO sets and more. With the new flexible space and resources, teachers and students will be able to work together to build knowledge, personalize learning to meet the needs of each student, and engage the whole campus on a path to academic excellence.  

The Outdoor Learning and Social Space – Special Programs Center, $4,491.55
Sponsored by: Huckabee

The Outdoor Learning and Social Space creates a space at the Special Programs Center (SPC) that allows students to enjoy learning opportunities and social activities in a natural setting that is comparable to other campuses across the district. The grant funds three 72-inch hexagonal picnic tables and two 96-inch benches to furnish the campus green spaces and provide students with an alternate view during the school day as opposed to a one-hallway perspective. The space will be used in three ways; for all campus staff to teach classes as weather permits, for counselors to use during the delivery of lessons that help students improve social and emotional skills, and as a privilege for students to use during lunch. SPC teachers believe this multi-use approach will maximize the benefits for their students, who are 100% at-risk and stand to benefit greatly from the additions. Outdoor learning taps into a research-proven strategy to enhance their learning process, and subsequently improve school culture byway of improved class engagement and less frequent redirects. Students should also see improvements in their social and communication skills through participation in enrichment activities. The goal of the grant is to provide students with opportunities to contribute to their class and school, while creating an environment where they can experience the satisfaction, sense of belonging, and enhanced motivation that comes from experiences in an outdoor setting.  

Thank you!

Special thank you to the NEF grant-reading committee, volunteers and donors who made this year’s grant brigade such a success!

2019-20 Grant Sponsors: 

  • NISD Education Foundation
  • 2019-20 NISD Employee Giving Campaign
  • AllianceTexas Corporate Challenge
  • CoServ Charitable Foundation
  • Devon Energy
  • Eaton Family 
  • EECU
  • Facebook Fort Worth Data Center
  • FastSigns Alliance
  • GPD Foundation
  • Huckabee
  • Jeff Dearing, New York Life Insurance
  • Joeris General Contractors
  • NTE Mobility Partners Segments 3 for NISD
  • Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Alliance
  • Pinnacle Bank
  • Pogue Construction

 

If you have questions about teaching grants or how to sponsor a grant for the 2020-21 academic school year, please contact Alyssa Edstrom at alyssa.edstrom@nisdtx.org.