The Aledo Education Foundation awarded 47 grants to Aledo ISD teachers for the 2018-19 school year for an amount more than $127,000.

“Applications were down a little bit — we didn’t have quite as many as we have had in the past — but the overall requests were far more. I think one of the really neat things in the evolution of the process is that the teachers are looking for more sustainable ways to change their classroom,” Aledo Education Foundation Executive Director Shawn Callaway said. “In the beginning they were looking for a cool, creative activity for a one-time group, but now they’re thinking about long-term ways they can change the way their kids learn and make a difference and I think that has a lot to do with the district leadership coming into play and making some changes there. I’m really excited about the quality of the grants.”

Callaway said teachers are showing great innovation with their grants and the funding comes from private donors, parents and corporations that may want to grow their workforce and that are trying to figure out how to best impact the community and change the business force in the future.

“We’re doing really neat things from drones for the middle school students to learning opportunities for our law enforcement group at the high school, along with our forensics classes that are actually going to simulate a crime scene investigation,” Callaway said. “So it’s pretty cool.”

Some of the grants were awarded in the fall and went to Korie Kiser of Aledo High School, $1,000 for Flexible Seating for Success; Tiffany Hollan of AHS, $2,353.69 for Floral Design Mobile Demonstration Table with Mirror; David Caruso of AHS, $2,184 for Advanced Laboratory Inquiry into Thermodynamics; David Caruso of AHS, $2,480 for Advanced Laboratory Studies in Electrostatics; Korie Kiser of AHS, $1,500 for Phase 2: Flexible Seating for Success; Roy Burns of AHS, $2,500 for S.W.A.T. - Students Working Together At Team Building; Stacy Andrews of Coder Elementary, $2,030 for Handchimes for the Music Classroom; Nicki Dover of McAnally Intermediate, $700 for The Brew Crew; Patti Faulkner of McAnally, $1,400 for Lightbox Interactive Digital Learning; and Catharine Clay of Vandagriff Elementary, $2,483.91 for The Quest for One to One.

The rest of the grants were awarded this week to Krysti Kelley of AHS, $7,326 for Putting the Science into Aledo Agriculture Science Department; Tiffany Holland of AHS, $2742.26 for Wildlife Management Technique Replica Package; Kori Kiser of AHS, $7,470.25 for A Forensic Fairytale; Kristopher Grgurich of AHS, $6,500 for It’s Getting Hot in Here; Kody Knight of AHS, $7,500 for engine driven welding machine and welding trailer set up; Brooks Smith of Aledo Middle School, $1,985 for Genes in Space; Marla Jones of AMS, $902.80 for Book Tasting - sampling great books; Keegan Roady of AMS, $7,482 for Digging up the Past with History Alive; Lynda Wright of AMS, $7,499 for Living in a Virtual World; Juanita Britton of the Daniel Ninth Grade Center, $7,466 for Morning Lark or Night Owl? A miniPCR Sleep Lab; Nicki Dover of McAnally, $1,844.90 for iLearn with iPads; Shannon Reynolds of McCall Elementary, $2,594.14 for Bearcats Getting CENTERED with Social-Emotional Learning; Crystal Mehrhoff of McCall, $2,038.73 for Escape the Classroom Fun; Debbie Bennett of McCall, $7,397.60 for Listen Up! Audiobooks for All; Lara Decker of McCall, $606.19 for Ready, Set, Transform; Kimberly Martin of Stuard Elementary, $412.75 for There’s Another New Chick in Aledo; Tracey Haggard of Stuard, $2,360.62 for Interactive Library: We’ve Got the “Write Stuff”; Rebekah Getz of Stuard, $4,669 for Making the Connection; Emily Mooney of Stuard, $1,324.95 for Shake, Wobble & Learn; Jayne Wood of Stuard, $879.19 for Knick-Knack Paddy Whack…Give a Note a Name; Della Reed of Stuard, $3,582.50 for Wiggle It Just a Little Bit; Susan Simpson of Stuard, $1,750 for Butt…Where Will I Sit?; Stephanie Smith of Vandagriff, $3,698.88 for Lego Land Learning; Catharine Clay of Vandagriff, $1,083.62 for New Learning Spaces; Hannah Parsley of Walsh Elementary, $3,900 for Around the World in an Unlimited Number of Days; and Samantha Hatton of Walsh, $4,057 for Growing Greatness Through Discovery, Design and Development with 3D Printing.

“I tell people all the time that Aledo ISD is the chocolate cake and the [Education] Foundation is a great icing on top of that cake,” Callaway said. “It’s what takes it to the next level and takes learning to the next step where it’s really hands-on and experiential.”

The AEF went around to schools surprising teachers with their grants through the prize posse.

“It’s an honor to work in a district that not only states students come first, but prove it in their actions,” Aledo High School teacher Roy Burns — who received a grant for Students Working Together At Team Building — said. “The grants that were given to the Law program will help us reach students and challenge them by using critical thinking and writing skills. The students learn about real world situations in law, courts, corrections and security. The equipment we were able to purchase will not only be used for learning, but is also a huge attraction to get students interested in the class.”

Since it’s inception in 2013, the Aledo Education Foundation has awarded more than $1 million in grants. Teachers can fill out applications on the AEF website and the grants must enhance student academic performance and support the objectives, goals and initiatives of the campus and district improvement plans.

“The Aledo Education Foundation’s prize posse and grant distribution for our teachers is one of the best days of the year in Aledo ISD,” AISD Superintendent Dr. Susan K. Bohn said. “We are so grateful for the foundation’s support of our teachers and students and it is extremely rewarding to see the excitement this event brings for everyone involved. AEF is an incredible organization that provides opportunities and resources for our teachers that enrich the learning environment and inspires our students.”

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