Forest Hills — When her students must plank on their living room floors and pump iron in the basement rather than the weight room, Eastern High School physical education teacher Jacquie Brown says a one-year subscription to PLT4M means she knows her students’ activities are hitting the necessary marks while they learn from home.
Brown’s was one of 15 requests for funding that were recently approved by the Forest Hills Public Schools Foundation. The fall round of approved grants totaled $28,285.
“This fantastic resource allows students to have a high-quality physical education lesson that helps hold them accountable when working in a virtual setting,” Brown said.
Other grants include virtual reality headsets that will allow Eastern High School students to “travel” to various locations and experience art and art venues in a simulated 3D space, resistance loop bands for Northern Hills Middle students to better focus while in class and an online collaboration bulletin board for third-grade classrooms at Pine Ridge Elementary.
Michele Wallace and Anne Rothenthaler, English language arts teachers at Central Middle, received a grant to purchase books for a new unit of study for eighth-graders of contemporary fiction with a focus on social issues.
“The idea of choice and peer engagement appeals to students, which has been shown to create more willing and engaged readers,” Wallace said. “Our hope is that we can capture reluctant readers before they move on to high school. We want all CMS students to leave having developed strong, independent reading habits.”
Kristy Butler, a science teacher at Central High School, received a grant to purchase blue light DNA transilluminators that will help students analyze data and run experiments more efficiently.
“I can honestly say that the foundation has been essential in allowing our students to become scientists in our classrooms,” Butler said. “We know that science is a verb and that to learn it best, students have to do science.”
The foundation grants funds for creative, unique programs and activities that promote academic and artistic excellence, and are beyond normal school budgetary and operational scope.
“We are super-excited to support the fabulous educators within Forest Hills and look forward to seeing these grant dollars at work in the classroom,” said foundation President Jana Siminski. Additionally, the foundation’s annual gala — held online this year — raised another $94,875 in a single evening to fund dozens more efforts, including the purchase of culturally responsive reading materials in several buildings, a new chicken coop at Goodwillie School, and remote and project-based learning resources at Central High.