Teachers receive GEF grants to better classroom opportunities

The GHS community truly does care about its students.

The Greenwood Education Foundation is a non-profit organization that awards grants to teachers in order to enhance learning experiences at all Greenwood schools. So far, the foundation has raised and distributed approximately $105,000 in grant money.

The GEF was Dr. Kent DeKoninck’s brainchild when he first became superintendent, and it has grown through the hard work of people serving on the GEF board of director.

“It’s designed to get teachers to think out of the box and try out some different things,” Dr. DeKoninck said.

In December, four GHS teachers received grants along with several middle school and elementary school teachers.

One was Mrs. Sun-Young Gullery, an art teacher.

“I named my grant Art Students Stand Up for Art because my plan is to use the money to buy stand-up easels,” she said.

With stand up easels, art students will havemore opportunities to create their best work with fewer limitations.

“What inspired me to apply was that my advanced students are limited because of the fact we have to work at horizontal surfaces all the time. When I think of a professional artist, I think of them working at a studio or at an easel and having the opportunity to do large-scale art. Right now, my students don’t have that possibility, so with something like easels, they will have more options to do bigger and personal art.”

Mrs. Gullery did not anticipate she would receive the grant, but it turns out her idea was exactly what the GEF was looking for.

“I was surprised because I felt like they were probably looking for teachers who were doing something really extravagant. I felt like my grant was kind of a simple thing. But when I received it, one of the presenters said they loved this grant because it’s really real. I think I was just surprised they thought mine was good enough, and it made me feel good,”she said.

Another teacher who received a grant was Mr. James Brown, industrial technology teacher.

“I applied for engineering kits that you can build three different types of robots with. They bring out things like control systems, programing, logic, vectors and a lot of the mechanics that you find in engineering,” Mr. Brown said.

His grant will allow students to have a more hands-on experiences in his engineering class.

“The kids get tired of just doing the book work and math around engineering and want hands-on, so I want them to be able to get their hands on stuff, and do it on paper and do the math and do the actual mechanical devices, logic, programming and see it work and make it come to life,” he said.

Ms. Denise Roberts, journalism and photography teacher, received a unique grant called My Home Town for her digital photography classes that will allow her students to give back to the community.

“They are going to pick businesses that have been around for decades and are cornerstones of the community. They are going to do a little bit of research, and then they are going to go spend the day with those people and take documentary photographs,” Ms. Roberts said.

The money Ms. Roberts received will go towards purchasing display boards and enlargements of the photos students take.

“The biggest part of my grant is going to go to buy display boards. These are glass, six-foot boards they are each going to use to create a display,” she said. “Their boards will first be on display here at the high school. Then hopefully be on display at Greenwood Public Library followed by display at the Johnson County Museum. That’s pretty cool.”

She is hoping they will practice their photography skills while gaining a new appreciation for the community.

“We have a wonderful community, and the kids don’t really know that right now,” Ms. Roberts said. “Our students are going to have a new appreciation for where they live and how wonderful this community is. It’s kind of funny because I hear students — I’ve heard them for 25 years — complaining about how they want to get away and that there’s nothing to do here. My children were the same way. Now, both want to come back to Central Indiana to raise their children here because they realize how unique where we live is. I’m kind of hoping this will be a little bit of an eye opener.”

Mr. Christian Cruze received a grant for his Math Department work.

“I applied for a grant to purchase statistical technology known as FATHOM so that we can use it stimulate probability type questions and sampling distributions and other sorts of statistical things,” he said.

This grant will enable students to incorporate technology into their work, which will allow them to do math work more accurately and efficiently.

“I took a course in college and I’ve recently been going to workshops where the increasing focus is on using technology to teach statistics. Often times, we used to use dice and things you could do by hand but would take too long. With technology, you can do 10,000 stimulations of a coin flip instantly,” Mr. Cruze said.

This technology should have a positive impact on students’ performances.

“I hope that it will improve the AP exam scores. Hopefully, more students will understand what probability means, what it is, and the fact that you can actually stimulate your results opposed to using some complicated math formula,” he said.

These grants are awarded with money that the foundation raises through fundraisers and donations. One major fundraiser is the upcoming Monte Carlo Night. Attendees must be at least 21 years old.

“The major fundraiser is the Monte Carlo night in February. It’s totally a fundraiser that goes towards the grants. We usually get enough money in one night, along with some other donations, to support that,” Dr. DeKoninck said.

Tickets for the Monte Carlo Night on Feb. 23 can be purchased through Jan. 31 for $60 per person. After Jan. 31, tickets will be $70. The event will take place at the Sycamore at Mallow Run from 6-11 p.m. There will be a live auction, silent auction, music, dinner and casino games.

For more information GEF fundraisers, refer to http://www.gws.k12.in.us/district-home/greenwood-education-foundation


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