Twice a year, fall and spring, MTEF disburses contributions from area businesses and individuals to implement educational programs that are applied for by school district educators. The projects selected are targeted towards enhancing the existing curriculum in ways that excite students and broaden their experiences in the arts, athletics or academics. MTEF is celebrating its 23rd anniversary and has distributed nearly $1 million dollars since its establishment in 1993.

Brecht Summer Reading Kick-Off

The summer months are critical for a student’s development, however, many students do not read during these months.  This gap of learning causes the loss of up to three months of reading progress.  Summer reading is the common attempt to counteract this trend.  At an end-of-year celebration called “Summer Reading Kick-Off” Brecht Elementary provides each student with an age-appropriate book to read over the summer.  Students choose their book, allowing them to feel more engaged and responsible for their learning.  During the event, each student makes a special door hanger to remind them to read every day while at home over the summer months.  This grant is made possible through the Louise Engle Memorial Fund established through MTEF.

Digital Portfolio Initiative

Students thinking about post-secondary education in any visual communication field, such as art, will most likely need to submit a digital portfolio.  Through this grant, every student enrolled in a two-dimensional art course at MTHS will be involved in preparing their own digital portfolio.  The incorporation of digital formatting and digital submission of images will bridge the gap for students who currently receive a formal and traditional art education so that they will be proficient in the skills needed in 21st century visual communication programs. 

James L & Jane L Wertz Memorial Award

The James L. and Jane Louise Wertz Memorial Award is presented at the end of each school year to a deserving male and female student in 9th grade.  Teachers nominate two students that have shown improvement throughout the school year in all areas including academics, athletics, community service, and citizenship.  This award, made possible by an established memorial fund, is presented by MTEF to the selected students each spring.

Junior Achievement BizTown Program

The JA BizTown program combines in-class learning with a day-long visit to an interactive simulated town facility.  To prepare, students engage in daily, hands-on lessons teaching authentic skills and essential content.  These lessons add to the curriculum in social studies, reading, writing, mathematics and science.  At JA BizTown, students use their understanding of citizenship, business practice, and government to “run” the city.  All students have an important and necessary job in BizTown where citizens must complete their work for the town to run successfully.  JA Biztown provides students with a foundation in business, economics, citizenship, and financial literacy as well as an understanding of the relationship between what they learn in the classroom and their successful participation in the local economy. 

Incubator for Chicks

The kindergarten students at Nitrauer Elementary study life cycles as part of their science curriculum.  In one classroom, they teach life cycles through the study of embryology.  The students study how the embryos grow and change each day.  They enjoy being able to observe the eggs and watch them hatch.  While the incubator is in one kindergarten classroom, the entire elementary school is involved in the project by monitoring the life cycle of the chick.  This new incubator should allow for more chicks to hatch.  The long term goal of the project is to engage students so they are encouraged to continue to pursue other scientific endeavors.  This grant is made possible through the Jean Hoadley Peterson Memorial Fund established through MTEF.

Knowledge Matters – Virtual Business Accounting Sim-Based Education

This project will give students in MTHS Accounting and Business classes the ability to see how their financial and accounting decisions can affect a business through the use of an online accounting simulation tool.  The Virtual Business Accounting Online Simulation will bring the subject of accounting to life.  Students will be able to put their accounting and business knowledge into action and visualize how their decisions affect the business world.  This program allows for more student flexibility, illustrating that there can be more than one correct choice for a good business decision.  This grant was made possible by an institutional grant awarded to MTEF.

Mock Trial Team

Mock Trial is an opportunity for students to compete in Moot Courts in front of judges and juries.  Students role play as attorneys and witnesses using cases provided by the Pennsylvania Bar Association.  Mock trial complements the high school curriculum while also allowing students to hone their oral and written presentation skills.  This grant covers the registration fees for the MTHS Mock Trial team to compete at the district level.

Mobile Learning Lab: iPads in the Elementary Classroom

Mobile learning and handheld devices engage students through the use of a simple touch screen interface that allows them to easily manipulate content through rich multimedia and data visualization techniques.  When presented with this new technology, students are more eager to learn and are highly engaged in the process.  This program provides students at Bucher Elementary School an innovative way of learning that inspires creativity and offers opportunity for hands-on learning using iPad® technology.

Model UN Team

Model UN is a worldwide organization that allows students the opportunity to discuss and debate real world issues.  The Model UN program complements the high school history and global perspective course curriculums.  During the upcoming school year, the MTHS Model UN will attend five Susquehanna Valley Model UN (SVMUN) Conferences.  The project will allow students to explore various real-world issues while considering perspectives of other countries, cultures, and people.  This grant is being funded through the Artie Shirk Memorial Fund established through MTEF.

Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) Discovery Lab

Through the funds provided by MTEF, a classroom in at Neff Elementary will be transformed into a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics (STEAM) discovery lab.  Using the underlying ideas of STEAM, the space will be designed to be adaptable, flexible, mobile, ergonomic, and include the latest technology to support collaboration and research.  This specially designed classroom will enable teachers to integrate science across the curriculum areas using specially designed STEM activities, with the unique implementation of the Arts.  The room will provide students a chance to collaborate, problem-solve, and demonstrate leadership skills among their peers.   

In the STEAM lab, students will learn there are multiple correct answers to a problem and that failure is a necessary part of discovery and learning.  They will experience real-life connections to science and mathematics and develop perseverance in tough tasks.  Through professional development, teachers will learn how to structure a discovery-based activity, how to encourage creative thinking and collaboration, how to provide feedback through questioning rather than directing, and how to assess the students in a discovery lab situation.  

The STEAM classroom created through this grant will serve as a model for the district and can be implemented in the other elementary buildings to ensure these STEAM lessons can eventually be provided to all of our elementary students in Manheim Township.  Overall, Neff and the community of Manheim Township will have a specially designed discovery-based classroom that provides life experiences, collaboration, exploration, intrigue, excitement, perseverance, and a culture of innovation.

Sprouting Readers

Headsprout provides extra literacy support to students.  It is a phonics-based reading program that reinforces and reteaches the concepts and skills outlined in the reading and language arts curriculum.  Headsprout uses a patented adaptive instructional technology that can be utilized both in the classroom and at home instilling the knowledge and habits of learning necessary for future years.  This program has been expanded over the past 10 years and is now in place in the Kindergarten classrooms at all 6 elementary schools in the district.