Due to the changing needs of the school district during the pandemic of 2020, MTEF postponed their spring grant cycle and moved the up the fall deadline. This allowed the district to modify their requests and apply for grants that met their current needs. The MTEF Board of Directors met in September and voted to approve the Grant Committee’s recommendation to award 12 grants totaling nearly $120,000. These grants are made possible through EITC donations, memorial funds, institutional grants, general donations, and contributions from MTEF Community Partners. Grants were awarded across the district and include early learning initiatives, new and innovative learning spaces, technology enhancements, and more.
Bucher Outdoor Classroom (Bucher) Marybeth Hendrick and Bucher PTO / $10,517.00
This grant will fund two outdoor classrooms which will be available for teachers to reserve for outdoor classroom time. Each classroom will allow for social distancing while in group learning and play space with limited touch points. These outdoor classrooms are especially beneficial for this year as students can be outdoors, social distance, and have a mask break in a safe environment. Studies show that students who experience an outdoor learning environment tend to be more attentive and recall what they learned. In addition, exposure to nature and the outdoors decreases stress and anxiety and inspires children to be more physically active. A team of teachers will participate in a training session on how to facilitate learning outdoors and fourth graders will make sit-upons for students to share.
Design + Build Lab (MTHS) Aaron Krause and Rich Nolt / $25,000.00
Through a grant received from the BB&T now Truist Economic Growth Fund, which is administered by the Lancaster County Community Foundation, MTEF is able to provide direct support of STEM initiatives for Manheim Township students by funding a Design + Build Lab. The Design + Build Lab at the high school will be a space that is functional, relevant, and attractive with the intent of preparing as many students as possible for technical and creative design careers of the future. This space will include task furniture, project storage, and equipment for three unique lab zone work areas. The Design + Build Lab will offer opportunities for those who are college-bound, those pursuing a two-year degree, and those who may seek employment immediately after graduation. MTEF is grateful to BB&T / Truist for their extraordinary generosity and community-minded work.
Early Childhood Initiative – STEM Starts Now (MTSD – All) Sharon Schaefer / $1,000.00
STEM Starts Now is a subscription-based software that offers parents/guardians information on physical, intellectual, social-emotional, and language development as well as early learning benchmarks. Through this grant, the district will provide subscriptions to area families with children ages birth to 5. Supporting, educating, and empowering caretakers with this unique program will help to prepare future students for kindergarten and will provide families with additional tools to introduce and reinforce critical concepts at home. Emails will include articles, tips sheets, printable materials, videos, original children’s music, and STEM activities written by over 20 child development experts. This program supports several goals set forth in the district strategic plan. This is an EITC approved grant.
MT Skylab Observatory Phase 4 (MTHS) David Farina / $50,480.00
The Skylab Observatory is a long-term project that would provide the opportunity to engage in STEAM learning activities for students in grades K-12, the staff, and the community. It will provide a “home” for observational astronomy where equipment can be permanently mounted reducing set up time, protecting equipment, and allowing more time for observation and discussion. In partnership with the planetarium program, the MT SkyLab Observatory will provide countless amazing experiences for our students and the community. Phase 4 will put the final major components in place including electricity, fiber optics and HVAC equipment.
One School One Book (Bucher) Jessica Siedman / $3,163.75
The goal of this grant is to reach every student at Bucher Elementary school with this literacy initiative. The entire student body will receive a copy of the same book which they will read at home and discuss during school. The program is designed to improve listening comprehension, increase vocabulary, lengthen attention spans, and create a positive attitude toward books and reading. The educators also hope the program will encourage families to engage in family reading time while also bolstering the home and school connection. This program supports the school’s comprehensive plan.
Recording Studio for Music Production Course (MTHS) Erik Schlosser / $4,000.00
This grant will help transform the keyboard lab into a place where students can learn skills to prepare for music careers in the 21st century job market. The school has designed a course that will introduce students to various music technology topics including basic audio system operation, digital audio, MIDI, music sequencing, and music notation. This grant is made possible through the Jo Zwally Memorial Fund established through MTEF, Music For Everyone, and the Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program.
Sphero BOLT Power Pack (MTHS) Ryan Novak, Nathaniel Bair, Rachel Perez / $2,499.99
Sphero BOLT robots are about the size of a tennis ball and are programmed using a range of apps. After utilizing the set provided to the school library last year through a previously awarded MTEF grant, members of the science department saw the value of incorporating these robots into the MTHS Science Curriculum and are receiving an additional set of Sphero BOLT devices to share within the science department. By using Sphero BOLT robots, students can apply the concepts they are learning and think about how to apply their knowledge in a different way. These tools give students the opportunity to learn the basics of coding while also allowing those with advanced skills to create programs of their own. This grant is made possible through the James Livengood Memorial Fund established through MTEF.
Sprouting Learners (Brecht) Christina Deitrich and Tess Wales / $1,680.00
Through this grant, district students and families will be able to participate in parent-child workshops which will help prepare students for school. The workshops will promote early literacy and math skills as well as social and emotional growth. Each workshop will encourage parent involvement and education. Students will receive a take-home bag with early learning materials to foster at-home literacy, math, and fine motor skills. Leaders will also discuss available community resources and help families connect with local community organizations.
Ultimate SLP Subscription (MTSD – All) Megan Maurer / $756.00
All Manheim Township students receiving speech-language support services will benefit from Ultimate SLP. This grant will provide the speech-language pathologists with a membership to the Ultimate SLP website which includes access to activities, games, and materials to engage students learning both synchronously and asynchronously. Students can manipulate materials virtually from their iPads instead of using hands-on manipulatives thus reducing the spread of coronavirus. SLP’s can tailor lessons for each of their students whether they are attending school or working remotely.
Virtual Math Fact Practice (Bucher) Cristiana Means / $1,360.00
This grant will provide 430 licenses for the Arcademics Plus website. The software provides game-based practice for basic math facts. The program is customizable for each learner’s skill set. It also provides teachers with various reports to monitor student progress. Moving from a pencil and paper model to an online tool will give equal access to students working remotely. Data analysis will be done to see if this tool increases student engagement and mastery of math facts.
What The Health? Patients R Waiting Health Equity Book Club (MTHS) Vivian Ealy, Zayn Syed, Hannah Broich / $6,300.00
Patients R Waiting is a nonprofit whose mission is to eliminate health disparities by increasing diversity in medicine. They would like to extend the What The Health? book club to the high school to improve student and community understanding of health equity. Each month, students will read a book and participate in an online discussion with other book club members which include area physicians, midwives, professors, residents, and other interested community members This grant will fund the cost of the books as well as marketing materials to promote the book club at the high school.
Wireless Lapel Microphones for Remote Instruction (MTSD – All) Dan Lyons / $13,000.00
Due to the realities of COVID-19, teachers and staff will be wearing masks during the school day. They will be instructing students that are in school and those learning remotely. MTEF is partnering with the district to partially fund the purchase of microphones. These microphones will be provided to all 5-12 grade teachers as well as K-4 teachers serving remote learning students. When they are no longer necessary for COVID-19 they will be used various ways by students and staff.