Reynoldsburg City Schools News Article

Reynoldsburg Education Foundation Announces 2023-24 Mini-Grant Recipients

The Reynoldsburg Education Foundation (REF) has announced mini grant awards to support classroom projects at several schools in the district.
Thirteen mini grants totaling $4,550 were selected from a competitive pool of 21 applicants from across the District. Each grant recipient will receive $350 toward their project. The projects range from making non-sew fleece blankets to the design of a prosthetic arm.  
“Our team of 14 reviewers really had their work cut out for them this year,” said REF Chair Debbie Dunlap.   “We were impressed by the quality of the applications, their depth, and the innovative and empathetic approach teachers have taken to providing for their students.  These grants go beyond providing opportunity, but open doors to new experiences that allow our students to achieve academically and with compassion.”
Prior to this new round of grant funding, the REF has awarded a total of $9,700 in mini grants to teachers.
This year’s recipients are:
  • Christopher Au (Reynoldsburg High School-Livingston Campus) – In an effort to diversify curriculum and better reflect the student experience, this project will purchase copies of books that have been both long and shortlisted for the Booker Prize, a prestigious literary award deliberated each year looking for the best novel written in the English language, which was published in the United Kingdom and Ireland. 
  • Abbi Baker (Herbert Mills STEAM Elementary) – This grant aims to support problem solving through multi-sensory engagement using tools that will help young students relax and focus so that better engagement is possible.  Tools will include things like high-quality headphones and math manipulatives, allowing more tactile students to learn in a more engaging environment.
  • Kristi Calkins (Waggoner Road Elementary) – The project “Reconnecting with the Natural World Once Class at a Time” is a hands-on approach consisting of two nature backpacks for grades K-2 and 3-5. These colorful backpacks would be used outdoors by any teacher to help explore areas around school property, allowing students to explore nature through field guides, leaf rubbing plates, binoculars, and other tools without ever leaving their school’s backyard.  
  • Erin Daniels (Rose Hill Elementary) – While a button-maker is a useful tool, this project aims to take it a bit further, promoting creativity, engagement, and learning across various subjects.  Fundraisers, career engagement, and design are all innovative uses for this project which takes a hands-on approach to learning.
  • Jen Garin (French Run Elementary) – Entitled Explore the Invisible, this project will allow students to explore scientific phenomena concerning light, sound waves and magnetism in hands-on, inquiry-based classes during the school’s afternoon innovation/makerspace enrichment times.  Each homeroom will be allowed to visit the interactive space for 35 minutes every two weeks allowing for new and unique learning opportunities.
  • Sarah Gibson (Rose Hill Elementary) – The musical theater is a creative outlet for people of all ages, but this grant will be used to help those in the upper elementary grades by purchasing a musical show kit with all sorts of things needed to put on a production including scripts, director guides, rehearsal vocal tracks, choreography videos, and more.  The ultimate goal?  A springtime musical production!
  • Amy Gochenour (Summit Road Elementary) – This grant aims to help create Heartfest, a day of special activities that will engage students in high-impact stations where they will learn about the importance of maintaining heart health through diet, exercise, and overall wellness.  
  • LaKisha Jefferson (STEM Middle at Baldwin Road) – “Hub to Habitat Conversion,” the grant will help transform the school’s Behavior Focused Learning Center into a more innovative and inspirational learning environment that will boost student morale using an industrial modern design.  
  • Amber Jordan (Reynoldsburg High School-Summit Campus) – Creating the Treats Corner, this grant will begin as a pop-up business at the high school selling handmade dog treats with profits going back to helping students engaged in community-based instruction attend other community-based field trips that will further student engagement and development.  
  • Joseph Knisley (Waggoner Road Junior High) – Using a 3D printer previously purchased with REF grant dollars, this project will add to current philanthropic giving which is allowing students to create functional prosthetic arms for donation to children in need.  
  • Megan Patijarevich (Reynoldsburg High School-Summit Campus) – The art of dance is reaching students in new ways, and this grant will help fund a beginner’s dance and choreography course for high schoolers where students create their own movement, and work collaboratively in groups to problem solve, communicate and productively explore others’ viewpoints.  
  • Melisa Ray (Taylor Road Elementary) – Small town heroes can be very impactful, and this project will allow a group of fifth grade students to take a hands-on approach (making no-sew fleece blankets) to doing just that.  The soft, handmade blankets will be given to young children staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Columbus, and hand-delivered by the students themselves so that they may understand the impact of their kindness.   
  • Chris (Duane) Vasquez (Reynoldsburg High School-Livingston Campus) – Learning a new language is multi-faceted, and this project will allow for the purchase of activities, games and books that will broaden the school’s current Spanish program, provide enhanced learning, and engage students in new ways.  

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