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Public Spirit Willow Grove Guide: Sunday, June 05, 2011

The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation has awarded $100,395 in Innovative Learning Grants for the 2011-12 school year, providing equipment, material or programs for 13 projects designed to enhance the classroom experience of students in the Hatboro-Horsham School District.

As it has for the past four years, HHEF also will provide $20,000 to support programs at the Jarrett Nature Center, the district’s “outdoor classroom,” located off Babylon Road in Horsham between the Hatboro-Horsham High School and Simmons Elementary School.

Following a competitive grant application and review process, the HHEF board of directors approved the 13 projects from 25 proposals submitted by Hatboro-Horsham teachers, principals and staff. Among them are:

The purchase of SMART (Self-Monitoring Analysis and Reporting Tool) Interactive Response System computer software for all K-5 classrooms, including special education students, that will allow teachers to create quizzes and get instant feedback on the students’ understanding of the material presented. If students think they understand the concept, but their responses indicate otherwise, teachers can immediately correct any misconceptions and re-quiz to determine if the students have grasped the material.

The purchase of a Tablet PC and interactive projector for use in physics and earth science-based classes at Hatboro-Horsham High School. Replacing whiteboards, the equipment provides a much larger display area, removes barriers presented by the height of the user or position of the viewer in the room, and allows the teacher to move about the room, interacting with students at their desks instead of having to stand at a screen in the front of the room.

Funding for materials for the Hatboro-Horsham High School robotics team which each year, using advanced math and physics skills — and with the help of its corporate sponsors — designs and builds a 120-pound robot which competes against robots from around the world.

The purchase of videoconferencing equipment for Pennypack and Crooked Billet elementary schools that will allow students to interact with students at other Hatboro-Horsham schools, as well as their counterparts from diverse communities and backgrounds across the nation and the world.

Last year HHEF funded the purchase of videoconferencing equipment for Hallowell and Blair Mill elementary schools through an Innovative Learning Grant.

Funding for a reading incentive program at Blair Mill Elementary School that encourages students to read for one million minutes, with opportunities to examine literature about different time periods through audio books. Includes a visit from Gary Lloyd, an award winning storyteller and member of the National Storytelling Network.

In conjunction with the social studies curriculum, the program will utilize a document camera to display artifacts from history, including the school’s time capsule. To capture life at Blair Mill in 2012, student writing pieces will be bound in a book and placed in a new school time capsule to be opened in 20 years. A copy also will be placed in the school library.

The purchase of computer mini tablets for use in grades three,four and five at Blair Mill Elementary School, giving students instant access to library e-books, the ability to research information, take notes, as well as highlight text and have it read aloud if needed for comprehension. They can be used for outdoor observation projects at the Jarrett Nature Center.

The purchase of large monitors with speakers to help enhance the presentation/communication skills of students at Hatboro-Horsham High School. Through use of the equipment, students will gain the confidence they need to make effective presentations in the classroom, in post-secondary learning environments, on the job and in their communities.

The purchase of iPads for use by special needs students at Simmons Elementary School. This project will provide the students, particularly those in life skills classes, to further develop academic, fine motor, and speech and language skills with an interactive approach. It is meant to encourage the students to become engrossed in technology and learn by using a hands-on and visual format within the classrooms, speech rooms and occupational therapy rooms.

Continuation of funding to give students and teachers in all the district’s elementary schools access to web-based resources dealing with “The Leader in Me” themes presented in district workshops in 2009 by Sean Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids,” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens,” (also funded by HHEF) and Muriel Summers, principal of A.B. Combs Elementary School in Raleigh, N.C., who put Covey’s principles into action in her school. Students will be encouraged to use these resources to set goals, track individual progress, develop deep understandings of content, and work collaboratively with others.

Purchase of iPads for use by students at Crooked Billet and Simmons elementary schools. Using the devices for interdisciplinary projects will allow students to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate information and messages in a variety of formats, utilizing multi-sensory approaches.

Purchase of electronic data notebooks for use by students in grades 3 and 5 at Hallowell Elementary School for activities related to “The Leader in Me” – developing student leaders and 21st Century Skills. The students now use hardcopy data notebooks making it difficult for them to continually update their information and review progress in key academic areas. They also will use the notebooks for an outdoor observation project.

Funding for artist-in-residence presentations at Hallowell, Blair Mill, Pennypack and Crooked Billet elementary schools by the music duo “Two of a Kind.” (A similar program this year at Simmons Elementary School was funded by the school’s home and school association). Through a group creative process, third and fourth-grade students will learn about cooperation, creativity, compromise, and accomplishment as well as specific skills and information related to songwriting – both lyrics and music – including brainstorming, organizing, analyzing, editing and critiquing. The students will write songs around the theme of student leadership and “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids.”

The Hatboro-Horsham Educational Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization whose mission is to enhance and enrich the learning opportunities of the students in the Hatboro-Horsham School District. One of the oldest educational foundations in the commonwealth, HHEF has, since it was founded in 1987, funded classroom-based projects and school programs, and has brought cultural and entertainment events to the community through the support of individual and business contributions.

In the past four years alone, it has awarded more than $500,000 in Innovative Learning Grants. The dramatic growth in funding is due to corporate partnerships made possible through Pennsylvania’s Educational Improvement Tax Credit program. However, Pennsylvania’s EITC program has been reduced over the past few years, said HHEF Executive Director Laurie Rosard, making “donations from individuals and businesses in our community even more critical to maintain a funding stream that allows us to continue to offer high quality programming.”

Among the 2011-12 HHEF Innovative Learning Grants is a continuation of funding to give students and teachers in all district elementary schools access to web-based resources dealing with “The Leader in Me” themes presented in HHEF-funded district workshops in 2009 by Sean Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Happy Kids,” and “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.” HHEF’s board of directors met at Hallowell Elementary School in Horsham to see how the concepts are being put into action. Here, Principal Steve Glaize shows board members student artwork done in connection with the program.

Members of the HHEF Board of Directors view, with delight, the artwork of Hallowell students.

Photography by Nancy Tirrell Paravano