At its May 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 $66,000 to benefit Manheim Township students in the coming year. These grants are made possible though EITC donations, memorial funds, institutional grants, general donations and contributions from MTEF Community Partners.

Outdoor Classroom – Phase 2 (Schaeffer) Elizabeth Edwards, Schaeffer PTO / $5,000

This grant provides additional support for the establishment of Schaeffer’s Outdoor Classroom in an existing courtyard area. The goal of the project is to create an ADA accessible learning area that will accommodate an entire class. The outdoor learning classroom will provide a nurturing environment that stimulates curiosity and creativity by offering students the opportunity to immerse themselves in an outdoor space while studying topics related to science, nature, and more. Improved health and social emotional-mental focus will be an outcome for all stakeholders. Experiential learning provides a deeper connection to natural surroundings and the curricular outcomes.

The Herren Project (Middle School & High School) Jacqueline Phillips, Christine Resh, David Rilatt / $17,000

Made possible through the EITC contribution of APR Supply Co., this grant will bring former professional basketball and substance-use prevention advocate Chris Herren to speak to 7th, 8th, and 9th graders about his personal experience with substance abuse and overcoming addiction. Designed by clinicians and school counselors to empower students to live substance-free lives, this program also provides support for the development of peer networks within schools that encourage wellness and focus on development of coping and leadership skills.

Spring/Summer Garden Lessons and Maintenance (Brecht) Brecht PTO / $1,000

The Brecht Garden provides students an opportunity to learn hands-on with real plants. To create a more inviting environment and offer an extension of learning, this grant supports maintenance and enhancements for the garden including bilingual and visual signage, seeds, flowers and supplies. Through garden camp lessons, students will discover pollinators, herb gardening and more.  These summer opportunities will provide a steppingstone for outgoing 4th graders, foster a more connected school community, and generate interest in a mentorship program and possible after-school garden club in the coming school year.

Calming Corner (Reidenbaugh) Heatherann Paul / $1,100

This project will create the Calming Corner, a designated sensory area for students experiencing dysregulation. The space will include materials proven effective in supporting social, emotional, behavioral or sensory needs, enabling students to regulate themselves and get back on track for learning.  A safe space out of view of peers, the Calming Corner will be available for any student needing to regulate themselves due to a variety of factors or circumstances.

Decodable Books Do Wonders for Our Students (Schaeffer) Betty Jo Reinhart, Elizabeth Edwards / $2,920

Decoding skills, turning print into speech by matching letters to sounds, are the building blocks for reading success. This grant provides students in kindergarten through second grade with practices texts specifically designed to promote the foundational skills of reading: phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, comprehension and vocabulary. These additional resources will enable teachers to meet more diverse needs within the classroom, and the visually appealing and interesting stories engage students, while allowing them to practice book handling.


The Power of Play (High School) Brandi Swavely / $14,250

Designed to empower student learning through gamification, this project will harness the power of play to increase student motivation and engagement. Gamified learning (using game mechanics to engage users in a non-game setting) and game-based learning (using a game to consume content) helps students build creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. This grant couples the creation of a toolbox of materials, available through library loan for teachers to use with students in the school library or their classroom, with professional development resources to support educators as they incorporate these strategies into their instruction.

Time Capsule Project (MTSD) ShaiQuana Mitchell / $2,000

This grant supports the creation of a time capsule in celebration of Manheim Township School District’s 175th anniversary.  Learning and creativity will be incorporated in each school’s collective decision about items to submit. An opportunity for district-wide engagement and collaboration, the time capsule project will bring together students, faculty and staff in an activity that can build community pride through a shared history.

Sensory Space (Middle School) MTMS PTO / $2,200

This grant will create a pop-up sensory space for middle school students.  The experience will be launched as part of the 8th grade end-of-year celebration and subsequently available for ongoing use during activities and events and incorporated into regular school day use.  The grant will fund elements of a space including manipulatives and tactile experiences that reduce stress and anxiety and improve focus and productivity to support the evolving needs and emotions of middle school students.

Interactive Demonstrative Table and Innovative Small Appliance Ware (High School) Melissa Diehm / $12,134.07

By adding tiered seating and converting an existing kitchen island into a demonstration table, allowing students to view “real time” lessons in Basic and Advanced Food Science courses, this project will create an innovative teaching facility, designed to increase student engagement in food chemistry and current technology. A fully equipped demonstration table for teacher use during lectures will enhance curriculum, offer opportunities for student interaction and immediate feedback, and provides experiences for students who require instructional adaptations. Funding also supports cookware to equip the demonstration table and new small appliances.

STEM for ALL Students (Landis Run) Cathy Patterson, Jackie Druck / $4,965

This project will provide accessible STEM robotics and technology for students with special needs.

Students in the autistic support, and life skills support/multiple disabilities support classrooms are working toward IEP goals that involve basic academics (colors, numbers, sight words, shapes, etc.), problem solving, developing independence, social skills, and following directions. Students with special needs will be able to practice these skills through highly engaging, hands-on activities with specially selected, accessible STEM materials.

Functional Learning Lab (Landis Run) Cathy Patterson $1,011.61

This grant will create a functional skills instruction area at Landis Run. A functional learning lab offers a natural environment for students with developmental or intellectual disabilities to receive modeled instruction connected to skills in academic curriculums.  Functional academics help students with significant disabilities learn to respond appropriately in order to perform employment, community, and independent living skills.  Students in the life skills support, multiple disabilities support and autistic support programs will be able to practice hands-on skills such as a simple cooking, making a bed, folding laundry, and basic cleaning.

Tower Garden (Reidenbaugh) Sugely Reyes / $1,405.56

Through this grant, students will explore gardening through aeroponics. Tower Gardens will allow students to plant seeds, observe growth, harvest – and even eat – crops throughout the year. An innovative way for children to learn about 21st century farming and a demonstration of the vertical farming concept taught in the first-grade science curriculum, this project will provide students first-hand experience of plant growth, farming and a deeper understanding of where food comes from.

Start Up Club Shark Tank Event (Student Impact Grant) / $600

Chess Team Summer Program (Student Impact Grant) / $120

James L and Jane L Wertz Memorial Scholarship (MTHS) / $200

Sally Hawthorne Art Education Scholarship (MTHS) / $1,000