The Helena Education Foundation recently awarded $20,000 in grants to Helena School District teachers.

That brings HEF’s total grant funds invested in creative programs for Helena’s public school students very close to $300,000, executive director Lisa Cordingley said.

The Great Ideas Grants program is in its ninth year and has awarded 148 grants.

The grants have affected virtually all of the district’s more than 8,000 students, according to HEF board president Lee Harrison.

The grants are entirely funded by donations from the community to the Helena Education Foundation, which award them on a semi-annual basis.

They are designed to put money directly into the hands of classroom teachers, helping educators take ideas for innovative teaching strategies and make them a reality.

The following teachers and schools received the most recent awards:

- “Going Green” to teachers Joslyn Carney and Helga Stimson at Four Georgians, $1,800.

The Four Georgians Going Green initiative will work with local experts to gain a greater understanding of environmental issues, research from new literature to develop mini-lessons for adults and students in their schools and use creative skills to develop posters and a mural explaining the importance of recycling.

- “iWrite!” to Don Pogreba at Helena High School, $2,670.

The iWrite! student-directed writing center will be equipped with print and electronic resources, giving students the opportunity to write and edit using Apple iPads.

- “Moodle on the Move” to Kevin Cleary and Kelly Elder at C.R.Anderson Middle School, $2,960.

Middle school students will use the wireless iPod Touch to connect to Moodle, the school’s online learning environment, in new and versatile ways. 

- “Project Yellowstone” to Erin Maxwell at Ray Bjork Learning Center, $3,000.

Sixth and seventh grade students from C.R. Anderson and Helena Middle School will work with MSU professors and students, Yellowstone researchers and park rangers, wildlife veterinarians and Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologists to research critical issues in Yellowstone National Park. Student research will be submitted to professional journals and presented at Earth Action at the Capitol.

- “Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Missing Microscope” to Jim Schulz at HHS, $1,149.

Students in CSI, biology, and senior science seminar classes at Helena High will engage in detailed digital microscopic examination, measurement and analysis of subjects ranging from polyolefin fibers to sea urchin gametes using the latest in portable microscopic technology.

- “Smarter with SMART Board” to Reid Christensen at CRA, $1,483.

Smarter with SMART Board will support sixth-grade math students by bringing SMART Board interactive technology into the classroom, allowing for multiple ways of learning. 

- “The Snowshoe Stomp!” to Jennifer Loomis at Capital High School, $1,600.

The Physical Education department at Capital High is introducing students to snowshoeing.

- “Touch Screen Magic” to Jeanne Tweeten and Joan Meyer at CHS, $1,099.

Using a touch screen kiosk, students will have the opportunity to browse library books by genre.

- “A Traditional Buffalo Hide Tanning” to Mike Agostinelli at Smith Elementary, $2,250.

In this project, fourth graders will work through a traditional buffalo hide tanning while live blogging their process. In addition, students will create a video to document the process and teach other elementary students about it.

- “What’s Growing On?” to Claire Pichette at HHS, $1.920.

High school students involved in What’s Growing On will build an indoor hydroponic growing system, grow organic vegetables in the classroom, learn about food production and explore local options for food, cook meals using local ingredients, and present their research at Bryant Elementary School and at a community forum that they will plan and organize themselves.


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