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UW-Green Bay Institute for Learning Partnership awards nearly $35,000 in grants

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The Institute for Learning Partnership at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay is pleased to announce the award of nearly $35,000 in Grants to Improve Teaching and Learning for the 2012-13 academic year.

Awarded annually for small and large projects for educators in the CESA 7 and 8 districts, these grants help fund a variety of endeavors ranging from technological improvements to serving at-risk students and closing the achievement gap. Eight grants are being awarded for 2012-13, ranging in size from $2,485 to $7,500. The recipients are as follows, along with an excerpt from their grant application:

Bonduel Public School District, Bonduel Elementary School teacher Jill Giesler — Building Bridges Between Home and School ($4,671): “In an old African proverb, it says, ‘It takes a village to raise a child.’ Our project is based around this proverb. The staff of Bonduel Elementary would like to work on strengthening the partnership between our school and families in order to increase student achievement. We want to create a friendly, non-threatening learning environment for parents as well as students. We feel strengthening this partnership will increase parent involvement, create a positive atmosphere, open communication between school and home, and increase student success. This will be achieved by offering workshops, extending invitations to families to come into school to participate in planned events, and creating a friendly and inviting atmosphere.”

Bowler Public School District, Bowler Elementary School teacher Lori Mueller — Promoting Literacy via Culturally Authentic Resources ($3,493.55): “We would like to set up a culturally appropriate and authentic Native American resource library for third and fourth grade students so that they can improve their reading skills and narrow the achievement gap between Native American and Non-Native students. We are in the first year of implementing a guided reading program and the intent is to integrate guided reading into this project so students can be successful. To do this, we need books, portable storage units, and opportunities for teachers to learn more about the diverse culture that we have at Bowler School and the positive impact it can have on student learning. As part of this project, we plan to have parents and guardians come in and read with their child for “Book of the Month Day.” Also, we are planning weekly student book talks, done via podcast and/or morning announcements. Another vital component of this project is that students will be able to check out books from the resource library to bring home and read with their families. We hope this project, along with what we are currently doing, will guide all of our students to improve their reading skills and narrow the achievement gap.”

Howard-Suamico Public School District, Bay View Middle School teacher Oksana Kobzar-Schweiner — Increasing Reading Motivation among ELL Students ($3,809.70): “This intent of this program is to bridge the academic gap between ELL students and mainstream monolingual students at Bay View Middle School. It can also be the starting foundation for a program that might be implemented in other schools in the Howard-Suamico School District. The goal of the project is to provide extra support in developing essential reading and language skills that ELL students need to be successful learners and lifelong readers. ELL students will be given an opportunity to check out Kindle Fires from the ELL room with the purpose of providing students with access to interesting and comprehensible reading material. Students will also have exposure to a rich variety of books and magazines, which hopefully will motivate students to read more at home and will increase their reading comprehension. The purpose of this study is to examine whether using Kindle Fires with middle school ELL students will increase their vocabulary development as well as reading comprehension and academic English language proficiency.”

Howards Grove Public School District, Northview Elementary School teacher Lori Carstens — Inquiry-based Science Curriculum ($4,964): “We are implementing an inquiry-based science curriculum consistent with the National Science Education Standards. Through the use of “Science and Technology Concepts” resource kits, students will learn about the unifying concepts and processes of science. Utilizing the scientific method, students will conduct hands-on investigations. Math, reading and writing will be integrated into their science curriculum. This approach to teaching science will enable students to observe and think critically about the world around them, learn scientific concepts through investigative explorations, collect and analyze data to draw conclusions based on scientific evidence, and communicate their results. They will learn the processes involved in the scientific method and gain valuable science content knowledge.”

Laona Public School District, Robinson Elementary School teacher Cara Shepherd — iPads for Differentiated Instruction Part II ($7,500): “The iPads for Differentiated Instruction Part II will be a continued collaboration between regular and special education teachers and staff. Usage will continue in Grades K-2 and be expanded to include Grades 3-6 as well as an after school tutoring/intervention program. This project will maintain and expand learning through the use of iPads in differentiated instruction for regular education students as well as special education students. Students gain access to leveled-learning in reading and math along with providing a more green/paperless education. This project will improve progress towards implementation of RtI. Teachers will improve on instruction using technology to advance reading and math skills as evidenced by the data collected over a two year time period.”

Oconto Falls Public School District, Abrams Elementary School teachers Danielle Baade and Shana Pociask — FIREd Up About Reading ($2,485.83): “Through new innovations and action research based teaching methods, we want to close the achievement gap for our fourth grade readers. To achieve our goal, we will support reluctant readers with Kindle Fires loaded with appropriate leveled books and applications. To further insure our success, we will meet with the students throughout the summer and school year to monitor and support reading skills.”

Pulaski Community School District, Lannoye Elementary School teacher Sharon Ellner — Enhancing Literacy Through Writer’s Notebooks ($4,550): “This grant provides training and support for 20 teachers in a collaborative effort between Pulaski Community School District and Howard-Suamico School District. Elementary teachers and students will be trained to use writer’s notebooks to enhance the engagement and writing skills of students to narrow the achievement gap between subgroups of students. Teachers will be involved in face-to-face and online collaboration to learn together and share resources. Students will be paired with another classroom to share writing projects and strategies across districts.”

Sturgeon Bay Public School District teacher Deb Doyle — Literacy: A Key Piece in the Autism Puzzle ($2,975): “This project focuses on increasing the rate of academic development for five severely autistic kindergarten students through the integration of visual and verbal strategies specifically designed to facilitate the development of mental connections in their learning. If we are successful, the benefits of this project will extend to all the staff and students at the primary level as the information and resources we discover, develop and implement are shared with staff and applied with other at-risk students.”

The Institute for Learning partnership enhances professional development for educators to improve academic achievement for all learners. More information is available at www.uwgb.edu/learnpart/.

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