Penn Manor teachers have added a variety of teaching materials – from projectile launchers and African percussion instruments to an online reading library and a new kiln – for their students this winter, thanks to Penn Manor Education Foundation.
The nonprofit foundation recently awarded more than $16,000 in Venture Grants for 18 projects designed to enhance learning for students at all levels at district schools. The grants are in addition to the nearly $21,000 awarded for 27 projects in the fall.
Marticville Middle School will get a new kiln to replace a cantankerous, 25-year-old machine that was notorious for ruining students’ clay projects – if it ran at all. Without the $3,400 award, the art department could not have purchased the equipment, which will be used by more than 350 students a year.
“I use my kiln constantly,” art teacher Cindy Shieber said. “It will be a blessing to be able to efficiently teach my curriculum, deliver projects intact to all students and spend my budget money on supplies instead of kiln repairs.”
Central Manor Elementary School used its $219 grant to buy a set of Whisper Phones that enable students to practice their oral reading skills without disrupting their classmates. Teacher Becca Eichler said the gear has helped build confidence in her fourth-graders who are reluctant to read out loud, helping them become better independent readers.
Penn Manor High School received $875 to purchase bongos, djembes, dununs and other West African instruments to create an African percussion student ensemble. In high school science classes, Venture Grants paid for soil sensors for the agriculture science lab and an accelerometer, projectile launcher and roller coaster kit to enhance discussion of Newton’s Laws in physics classes.
Other grants were used to bring a children’s author to district elementary schools and introduce middle school students to Aevidum, a student-led effort to raise awareness among students about depression and suicide. A grant in the fall started the program at Penn Manor High School.
The Education Foundation has been awarding the grants since 2000 and has distributed more than $600,000 to Penn Manor teachers to help enhance education programs at district schools. The next round of grants will be awarded in the fall.