DB school district striving for excellence

Published 12:00 am Sunday, November 6, 2011

COAL GROVE — Supporting teachers across the region and promoting science and technology in the classroom.

That is the goal of the Walmart Foundation Strive for Excellence Mini-Grant Initiative.

The grant, offered by the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, has allowed three teachers in the Dawson-Bryant School District to purchase new teaching equipment and fund field trips to universities.

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Teacher Julie Payne at the elementary school and teachers Tyler Waller and Megan Frasure at the high school all received the grants and have already begun reaping the benefits.

Payne, a fourth-grade science teacher, received $2,000 which she used to purchase supplies incorporating technology with science and math skills through hands-on activities in earth, life and physical science units of study. Payne said the items are already in-house and her class, as well as third and fifth-grade classes, has begun using them.

“This has impacted about 700 kids,” Payne said of the grants effect on the school.

Most recently, she said her class used some new fossil molds. She also purchases a weather station and measurement manipulatives and more.

“Kids love science anyway,” Payne said. “It just makes my job more fun.”

Payne said the new teaching materials allow each student to be hands on and helps them learn the scientific process

“It gives them more exposure,” she said.

Half of the grant will also be used to have COSI visit the school. Payne said this will be the first time COSI has visited this generation of students.

When the hand-on science center visits the school on Nov. 29, the students will participate in chemistry experiments.

Tyler Waller, high school computer networking teacher, received $2,500 for the purchase of 25 Flip Video cameras. Waller said he is hoping for his students to film and produce a full-length movie about bullying and how to cope with it.

Like the supplies at the elementary school, Waller said other classes have been able to use the cameras for their own project.

“Several teachers have used them for their classes,” Waller said. “And some students are making a video for the Veteran’s Day assembly.”

Waller said this was the first grant he had written and received. Since applying for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio grant, he has also received a $750 grant from DonorsChoose.org, which allowed him to buy iPod Touches for his class.

Waller said he uses the iPods as well as iPads to create question and answer banks. The students can answer questions using the wireless devices.

“It breaks the monotony of assessment and keeps the kids engaged,” Waller said. “I try to keep up with all the new technology in my class. Obviously they are in my class because they like technology.”

Waller said added technology in the classroom has increased test scores by 10-15 percent and has also allowed shy students to participate in the classroom without fear.

Megan Frasure, freshman English and college readiness course teacher received a $1,100 grant to fund field trips to STEMM oriented colleges and universities.

STEMM stands for science, technology, engineering, math and medicine.

On Friday, Frasure took a group of about 30 students to Marshall University for a general tour.

“The trips are open to any junior or senior in the district,” Frasure said. “For many of the students, it is the first time they have been on a college campus for something other than sports.”

The next trip is scheduled for Morehead State University to visit the planetarium. The students will also visit the University of Cincinnati’s engineering department and also take an overnight trip to the University of Tennessee and Berea College in Kentucky.

Frasure said the trips would have gone on without the grant, but not on as large of a scale.

“(The trips) are to show them how many opportunities are close to home,” she said.