At its November 2023 meeting, the Manheim Township Educational Foundation Board of Directors voted to approve the Grant Committee’s recommendation to fund 16 grants, awarding more than $86,000 to benefit Manheim Township students. These grants are made possible though EITC donations, memorial funds, institutional grants, general donations and contributions from MTEF Community Partners.

After School Drama Club K-2nd Grade (Brecht) – Brecht PTO/ $4,000

This after school drama club will offer students the opportunity to learn about the basic aspects of theatre from performing to making their own props and costumes. The club will incorporate family-friendly shows for students to learn songs and movements. Students will be invited to attend a local theatre performance and then put on their own production to showcase their talents for their school and families. A new screen backdrop for the stage will be used in the showcase as well as other school assemblies and presentations.

All Are Reading (Nitrauer) – Allyson Weitzel, Shannon Wright, Madison Gillman, Jill Milton/ $528

Access to RazKids online reading resource will be extended to all first-grade students at Nitrauer Elementary. RazKids provides a variety of leveled books that contain different genres and interests, matching books to students’ reading development level so they are able to gain confidence in their reading abilities as they practice fluency and comprehension skills each day.

Artist in Residence with Steven Courtney (Reidenbaugh) – Lindsay Capoferri/ $3,500

During Fall 2023, singer, song-writer Steven Courtney will work with each grade level of students at Reidenbaugh Elementary to write and produce a school song. The new song will be sung during quarterly celebration assemblies and other special events, helping to build a stronger school culture and sense of belonging.

Author Visit – Omar Mohamed (Middle School) – Laura Houghton/ $500

Omar Mohamed, author of the graphic novel When Stars are Scattered, will give a presentation to the seventh-grade class as well as the Middle School’s English Language Learners. Mr. Mohamed will share his story of perseverance growing up as an orphan in a refugee camp and caring for his special needs brother, Hassan. He will also share about how he and his brother came to live in the United States and about the process of writing a graphic novel to share his story.

Bucher’s Environmental Science and Arts Investigations (Bucher) – Kristen Rychener/ $2,182

Approximately 250 Bucher Elementary students will have the opportunity to learn about the environment through hands-on, expert-led environmental science lessons. Second, third, and fourth grade students will learn about animals and the environment including the school’s backyard stream. Third graders will also learn about writing and sketching in nature journals.

Build a House (Landis Run) – Mark Jordan/ $455

This culminating project for fifth-grade Excel students invites students to apply concepts learned in math class, as well as critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving as they work together to build a house. Along the way, students will complete surveys and analyze the data to make design decisions, measure and calculate materials needed for their design, and construct the house. The final product is expected to be on display during the school’s annual Arts Night.

Cafeteria to Compost (Nitrauer) – Nitrauer PTO/ $2,500

An outdoor, on-site composting site will be created at Nitrauer Elementary providing students with the opportunity to collect and compost food waste and brown material. Students will gain hands-on experience outside of the classroom as they participate in and facilitate the compost lifecycle.

Conducting Science with Space Tomatoes (High School) – Ashley Sutton/ $395

Biology students will participate in the TomatoSphere Project from the First the Seed Foundation. Students will compare the germination rates of tomato seeds that have spent 5 weeks on the International Space Station to standard earth tomato seeds. After germination, students will transplant them into the Vevor Hydroponic System for further growth and observation. Students will gather, analyze, and report on quantitative and qualitative data as they participate in this realistic plant-based research experiment.

Core STEAM Programming through Snapology (Bucher) – JoEllen Castronova/ $7,110

This grant supports a weekly after-school program of STEAM enrichment for English Language Learners and at-risk students at Bucher Elementary. Utilizing the resources of Snapology, a community provider of STEAM education, this project will provide students will opportunities to explore science, technology, engineering, art, and math through hands-on building and engineering challenges. Students will practice problem-solving, creativity, and communication skills while working together and having fun.

High School Library Creative Commons (High School) – Karen Leisey, Brandi Swavely/ $25,000

Renovations to the current library space will make way for the Creative Commons, a space for students to hone their creative skills in a variety of ways independently or as part of curricular coursework. The space will be filled with moveable workspace tables, flexible seating, and items for creative expression such as robotics, video creation equipment, 3D printers, blocks, beads, and art supplies.

Honesty in Songwriting: A Bluegrass Experience (Middle School) – Laura Gingerich, Rachel Bucher Swank/ $7,800

During the 2024-2025 school year, Colebrook Road, a nationally recognized, locally based bluegrass band, will be the artist-in-residence for the Middle School’s general music department. Colebrook Road will lead a bluegrass-inspired songwriting workshop day once each marking period. Seventh and eighth grade students will explore the history of bluegrass, experiment playing traditional bluegrass instruments, use GarageBand technology to accompany one of Colebrook Road’s hit songs, work in groups to write lyrics inspired by some of the band’s songs, experience a live bluegrass performance, and participate in a question-and-answer session with the band.

Kindergarten Welcome Bags (All Elementary) – Elizabeth Edwards, Lindsay Capoferri, Barbara Kurtz, Noelle Duscha, Donna Buckwalter, Lynn Longridge/ $11,750

Kindergarten Welcome Bags will be created for the 2024-2025 incoming Kindergarten students and distributed during Kindergarten registration. Kindergarten is a very important time for transition especially if the student is the family’s first school-age child. The bags will serve as a welcome to the school district promoting a sense of belonging while also providing resources related to early literacy skills, number identification, STEM, music, science, art, fine and gross motor skills, and social bonding with family or peers.

Math Fact Mastery Made Fun: Empowering Students with Reflex (All Elementary) – Gregory Seiger, Allison Zell, Meghan Nephin, Shelby Wright, Ashley Keath/ $15,390

This grant provides for the purchase of a district-level license for all students in grades two through four to use Reflex Math, a highly engaging program that help students develop math fact fluency. The program starts students at their individualized skill level and provides mini-lessons and games to help them build confidence as they master basic facts. Reflex Math also provides teachers with significant student data to guide their math instruction and differentiate for student needs.

Phonics Kits (Reidenbaugh) – Noelle Duscha, Barbara Kurtz, Laura Maranan/ $3,200

Phonics kits come with a variety of magnetic tiles that allow for basic letter and sound identification and have added tiles to introduce digraphs, vowel teams, and r-controlled words. The kits will be used with small groups in the kindergarten classes and for Tier 2 instruction to provide a more hands-on way for students to practice the orthographic mapping skills needed to be successful readers.

Quiz Bowl 2023-2024 (High School) – Zach Mussmon/$2,500

This grant will help to support the High School Quiz Bowl team’s participation in regional and possibly even national competitions. Quiz Bowl provides students with opportunities to apply their study skills and academic prowess in a team setting where success requires problem-solving, teamwork, and collaboration.

Student Impact Grant: Students’ Journal of Engineering (High School) – Vraj Parikh/ $180

Led by Manheim Township High School senior Vraj Parikh, this project seeks to create a fully student-run, open-access journal to showcase the engineering and control-system ideas and innovations created by fellow students. The journal will be fully online and will be applicable for an ISSN-DOAJ journal accreditation once its first issue is published. The goal is to publish the journal bi-annually with an issue consisting of a minimum of five papers.