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WASD Education Foundation Grants $24K to District Programs, Initiatives

The Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation (WASDEF) announced it recently awarded $24,009 in grants to support six programs and initiatives across the district.

Those awarded were among the foundation’s first round of grants this school year with the potential to impact thousands of students this year and beyond.

Three programs were funded through the foundation’s annual Teacher Mini-Grant Program, which allows teachers to apply for up to $1,500 to support an innovative project or program.

Curtin and Lycoming Valley Intermediate schools: Music teachers Jeff Smith and Don Fisher were each awarded $1,500 to purchase equipment to support the installation of recording studios in practice rooms at each of their buildings. In addition to other capabilities, the studios will allow students to use professional software to record individual, small group or large-group performances. The equipment also will allow students to create high-quality online performance portfolios using YouTube.

Williamsport Area Middle School: Teachers Dustin Brouse and Kelly Taormina-Keller were awarded $1,499 to support a shared program they developed that combines seventh- and eighth-grade English Language Arts and technology using the gaming industry as its platform. The program will allow participating students to play school-appropriate video games to review for their peers, using the conventions of argumentative and persuasive writing and storytelling. Using the building’s new FutureLab, a technology education hub in the school’s library, students also will be able to get hands-on experience in studying careers related to the gaming.

In addition to its Teacher Mini-Grant program, WASDEF also awarded three grants through its general funding request process:

Curtin and Lycoming Valley Intermediate schools: The intermediate school music program was granted $16,340 to support the implementation of a new digital music curriculum from the foundation’s Violet Compton Estate Fund. The new curriculum will form a foundation for digital music education, such as how to create ringtones and remixes/mash-ups, for fifth- and sixth-grade students. It ultimately will connect them with the more advanced curricula already in place at the middle and high school levels.

Williamsport Area Middle and High schools: As part of a district-led effort to attract and retain teachers in a “grow your own” strategy, $1,000 was granted to the district in start-up funds for a new club called Educators Rising (formerly known as Future Teachers of America). The clubs allows advisors to “cultivate highly skilled educators by guiding young people on a path to becoming accomplished teachers … extending through college and into the profession.”

The WASD music department: To support a special invitation to perform at the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s annual holiday party, $2,170 was granted to the WASD music program to fund the cost of the trip. About 90 students from the district’s Millionaire Singers, Strolling Strings and Lycoming Valley will perform at the event on Dec. 20.

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