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2019 Teacher Grants

SchoolPower Endowment’s Teacher Grant Program Gives $111,450.14 to Inspired Teachers

LAGUNA BEACH, JUNE 4, 2019 — Great teachers inspire their students, but many times, teachers find themselves inspired by their students. Thurston Middle School Health and PE teacher and Ecology Club mentor Penny Herrick-Dressler is one teacher who recognized a need amongst her students and was inspired to act upon it. “The Healthy Kids Survey shows us that our student body is experiencing stress,” she explains. “That stress is negatively impacting other areas of their lives.” Through a discussion with her Ecology Club students, Herrick-Dressler developed the idea to create the “Away Place,” an outdoor space on the Thurston campus where students can sit by themselves or gather with a few others to have a bit of quiet time, and she explains, “to use the healing properties of nature to address student stress.” She decided the best way to make this idea a reality was to apply for a SchoolPower Endowment Teacher Grant.  Read the full press release

2019 Grants 1

SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark, School Board President Jan Vickers, SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand, Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria, incoming Endowment President Steve Samuelian present a check for $111,450.14 to fund 18 teacher grants for the 2019-20 school year. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Grants 2

Top of the World Elementary Kindergarten team accepts a teacher grant award in the amount of $4,700.00 for Osmo Sets for the kindergarten classrooms. The Osmo set includes a base station and manipulatives that children use to enhance skills in writing, reading, math, engineering, and computer science. Pictured: teacher Rosie Haynes, SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark, SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand, and teachers Megan Bartlett, Brooke Bismack, Erica Rahall, and Jenny Carlson. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Grants 3

SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark presents Penny Herrick-Dressler with a teacher grant award in the amount of $25,000.00 for the creation of an “away place” on the Thurston Middle School campus for students to sit by themselves or gather with a few others. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Grants 4

SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark and SchoolPower Executive Director Sarah Durand present Alexis Karol with a teacher grant award in the amount of $1,254.00 for the purchase of materials and rights for one kids musical for use by all 6th and 7th grade drama students. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Grants 5

SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark presents Heather Hanson with a teacher grant award in the amount of $3,590.00 for funds to travel to seven different important art museums in alignment with the units of study for AP Art History. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Grants 6

Teacher grant winners from Top of the World Elementary School pose with SchoolPower Endowment President Chris Clark, Superintendent Dr. Jason Viloria, and TOW Principal Mike Conlon. (Photo by Anakaren Ureno, courtesy of Laguna Beach Unified School District)

2019 Teacher Grants – $111,450.14 Total


El Morro Elementary

STEAM Lab Materials Including Kind Fur Swatches, Animal Skull Replicas and Alternative Energy Lab Kits
$12,395.27 for 3 grants
Jacquie Cohn & Kathleen Margaretich
Materials to support NGSS across all elementary grade levels.

Outdoor Extension of STEAM Classroom
$1,000.00
Kathleen Margaretich
Authentic exploration activities that students can explore at stations anytime, outside the STEAM classroom.

Greenhouse and Shed for El Morro Learning Garden
$9,030.00
Christine Wagner, Kim Krause, Nicole Stewart, Cama Stevens, Annie Bochenek, Greg Togawa
New, needed structures, coinciding with expansion and redesign of the garden space.


Top of the World Elementary

STEAM Lab Materials Including Kind Fur Swatches, Animal Skull Replicas and Alternative Energy Lab Kits
$12,395.27 for 3 grants
Jacquie Cohn & Kathleen Margaretich
Materials to support NGSS across all elementary grade levels.

STEAM Mobile Magnet Wall & Engineering Blocks for Kindergarten Playground
$7,741.13
Mariah Holliday
Exploration and imaginative play materials for the Kindergarten playground to support problem solving, collaboration, and investigation of engineering, cause/effect, and motion and stability.

Let’s Boogie! Individual LCD Writing Pads
$2,215.00
Katie Dwight, Marie Bammer, Kari Damato & Maryann Thomas
LCD writing pads that will allow students to jot notes and show work, replacing current use of the whiteboards at student desks.

Osmo Sets for Kindergarten Classrooms
$4,700.00
Rosie Haynes, Megan Bartlett, Brooke Bismack, Jenny Carlson, & Lorraine Winokur
Ten Osmo sets for each classroom (to be used with district-provided iPads). The Osmo set includes a base station and manipulatives that children use to enhance skills in writing, reading, math, engineering, and computer science.

Controlled Text Readers for Reading Intervention Program
$5,307.84
Livi Marshall & Pam Howland
Controlled text readers to provide beginning and struggling readers with opportunities to transfer phonics knowledge to meaningful, engaging, and complex fiction, informational texts, and poetry.


Thurston Middle School

50 Garmin Watches
$4,266.90
Mike Bair, Steve Lalim, Wendy Hughes, Carrie Leventhal & Penny Dressler
50 additional Garmin watches to enable PE teachers to have a class set. The watches allow PE students to track their pace and distance, and keep students more active and engaged as they work toward personal goals and are accountable for their own activity level.

Show Kit & Musical Rights for 6th & 7th Grade Drama
$1,254.00
Alexis Karol & Roxanna Ward
Purchase of materials and rights for one kids musical, for the length of one school year for use by all 6th and 7th grade drama students.

Homework, Organization and Planning Skills (HOPS) Intervention Program
$4,500.00
Amanda Vander Veen
Kick off funding for tier 2 intervention program that provides supports and resources for students struggling with organization and time management (including student with deficits in attention).

Two Swift Coding Robots
$1,250.00
Andy Crisp
Two different types of robots that are programmable with Swift to perform a variety of functions. To be used with all 6th grade computer students.

Away Place on Campus
$25,000.00
Penny Herrick-Dressler
Creation of an “Away Place” on campus where students can sit by themselves or gather with a few others to have a bit of quiet time and de-stress.


Laguna Beach High School

Art Museum Field Trips for AP Art History
$3,590.00
Heather Hanson
Funds to travel to seven different important art museums in alignment with the units of study for AP Art History.

Real Deal Blue DNA for Science Classes
$3,000.00
Alonda Hartford & Jennifer Park
Classroom set (10) of Blue Gel electrophoresis and mini-PCR machines for students to use to visualize their own DNA in real time.

Supplemental Yoga Equipment
$1,200.00
Lance Neal & Scott Finn
Supplemental yoga tools to develop a more well-rounded yoga practice that will help with mindfulness, relaxation and concentration.

Sparta Science Force Plate
$25,000.00
Lance Neal
The ability to track and improve the physical body function of all students in LBUSD with appropriate, data-driven exercise prescriptions with the goal of maximizing athletic performance and reducing the risk of sports injury.