Classroom Projects Addressing Racial Equity and Community Impact Funded With Academic Enrichment and Teacher Development Grants

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Over $167K in funding awarded by McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation this school year

....these innovative projects are investments in both students and educators; we find them particularly relevant this year.

With educators facing a year of pandemic related challenges, from remote learning to socially distanced hybrid schedules, it’s exciting to celebrate exceptional educators improving the experiences of their students. Despite the constraints on educators in 2020, classroom innovation continues in the new year. Educators are tackling important topics and integrating real world themes as evidenced in the latest awardees of projects funded by the McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation (MDEF) for this school year.

Whether it’s connecting real world experiences to science, or developing culturally relevant learning experiences, educators supported by MDEF are invested in projects that give students opportunities to learn by doing and highlight meaningful ways for teachers to reduce racism and increase critical thinking.

“These projects reflect the thoughtful approaches of educators who are interested in preparing students for an uncertain future. We are confident these projects will impact individual students while also informing teaching communities,” said Sarah J. McCarthey, President of the Foundation which awarded over $167,000 in grants and scholarships for the 2020-21 academic year.

While the projects take a variety of forms, their focus on enriching the lives of each student is evident.

The project “Children with Incarcerated Parents,” based in Oxford, MS, bridges the challenges of imprisonment for female inmates and their children to provide weekly literacy activities where they can work with their children to develop technical and creative reading and writing skills. In “Where the Light Travels” at Ibarra Elementary School in San Diego, CA, serves refugee childrento bridge the cultural and language gaps facing youth and families through multimedia and arts integration.

Immersing students in “hands on” inquiry is also a key focus of these projects. Students at the Academy of Math and Science Desert Sky in Glendale, Arizona will investigate the impact of composting at their school campus as it relates to greenhouse gas emissions; they will use sensors, 3D modeling and data modeling to discover how they can reduce waste at their school. At Cesar E. Chavez Middle School in San Bernardino, California an after-school technology club will explore animatronics and programming and share what they learn with elementary school students.

Teacher development is also an area of focus in the grants awarded by the Foundation. Educators at Bard Early College DC in Baltimore, Maryland will provide teachers a ten week training program to support them in affirming Black identities throughout their teaching and curriculum as part of the Black Excellence Project. Teachers in Milwaukee, Wisconsin will challenge systemic racism participating in monthly workshops to support them in facilitating conversations within their schools as part of the project “Brave Space to Talk about Race.”

To increase teacher confidence and effectiveness in teaching science, DeKalb Middle School, in DeKalb, Texas, will offer “Inside Out: Linking Experiential Learning within Classroom Science to the Real World.” Participating educators will explore best practices in inquiry-based learning, hands-on manipulatives and interactive outdoor education strategies to make an impact on their students’ awareness of real world science.

For the 2020-21 academic year, the Foundation has funded four new Academic Enrichment Grants at schools serving minority and economically disadvantaged students; three Teacher Development grants with similar demographics; and four student teacher scholarships. Recipients include:

Academic Enrichment Recipients
Dr. Louis Bourgeois, Children With Incarcerated Parents Wellness Program – Oxford, MS
Jana Mcbeath, Where The Light Travels – San Diego, CA
Leon Tynes, AMS Campus Sustainability Project – Glendale, AZ
Gina Baragone, STEAM Powered Community – San Bernardino, CA

Teacher Development Recipients
Dr. Cassandra St. Vil, The Black Excellence Project – Publishing Program For Young Authors – Baltimore, MD
Jon Jagemann, Brave Space To Talk About Race – Milwaukee, WI
Joshua Sciara, Inside Out: Linking Experiential Learning Within Classroom Science To The Real World – DeKalb, TX

Scholarship Recipients
Elizabet Montoya, Stephen F. Austin State University
Austin De Rubira, University of California, Santa Cruz
Payam Gregory Etemadzadeh, University of California, Santa Cruz
Lani Alameda Almand, University of California, Santa Cruz

The mission of McCarthey Dressman Education Foundation (mccartheydressman.org) is to serve as a catalyst in maximizing the skills and creativity of educators at the K-12 levels and in cultivating pioneering approaches to teaching that result in dynamic student learning. The Foundation sponsors proposals that enhance student learning and educational quality, paying particular attention to those that best serve under-funded schools. Only 200 applications will be accepted this year. The application deadline is April 15 of each year for proposals with significant potential to enrich the educational experiences for youth, but the application will close before that date if 200 submissions have been received.

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Gail Gudell, Controller
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