Local teachers receive excellent awards for classrooms | SierraSun.com

Local teachers receive excellent awards for classrooms

Christine Stanley
Sierra Sun

Courtesy photoTahoe Truckee High School students participate in a physics project.

Local schools are about to take another step forward thanks to more that $85,500 in grants from the Tahoe Truckee Excellence in Education Foundation.

Throughout the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District this fall, the foundation awarded 37 grants, which included everything from books and digital cameras at Truckee Elementary, to meteorology tools at Glenshire Elementary and habitat restoration materials at Alder Creek Middle School.

“We were thrilled with the variety and quality of grant (applications) that we got,” said Ann Delforge, Excellence in Education chairwoman for allocations. “We try to do things that enhance education and promote educational opportunities. We think it’s important to look at all aspects of education, not just math and English, but performing arts, physical education.”

Since its inception in 1991, the foundation has awarded 644 grants in excess of $1.2 million.

Disabilities to Possibilities, Alder Creek Middle School, $1,642 grant:

Disabilities to Possibilities, a program that promotes respect and tolerance for people with differences, has already made an impact on one seventh grade classroom at Alder Creek Middle School.

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Now, with funding provided by Excellence in Education, all seventh grade teachers at the middle school will be able to use the materials in their own classrooms.

“The message is wonderful, but the reaction from the kids is absolutely phenomenal,” said Jan Brittain, a seventh-grade teacher at Alder Creek Middle School who wrote the grant for the Disabilities to Possibilities program.

The idea to institute a permanent program was sparked after motivational speaker and world-class disabled athlete Candace Cable presented a two-day program to Brittain’s class. Students participated in such challenges as learning how to write their names without the use of their arms, and teaching poems to their peers without using words.

“In the 27 years I have been teaching, the two days that we put on the program were my two most rewarding days,” Brittain said. “It’s a fantastic program.”

Physics Equipment, Tahoe Truckee High School, $5,306.08 grant

Physics and chemistry teacher Sue Lowder is continuing to build her physics laboratory at the high school, but the process is taking time.

“Excellence in Education has pretty much supplied the physics department here,” Lowder said. “The price of equipment is so expensive, that Ex in Ed is really our only way of getting our stuff paid for, otherwise you have to put it away for a few years.”

Lowder will be receiving tools to supplement the equipment she received with last year’s grant money, including her requested gliding pendulum to study momentum, projectile launcher to study arcs, and a vibration machine to study sound and waves.

“Our equipment now is pieced together and not easy to use; I do very simple experiments and demonstrations,” Lowder said. “(The new materials) will help me cover some of the science standards by being able to do more experiments and not just lecturing. This equip is just beautiful stuff.”