Foundation awards $23,000 in grants
October 29, 2009
The Commerce Schools Educational Enrichment Foundation has awarded over $23,000 to Commerce ISD teachers who proposed initiatives to enhance instruction in math, science, fine arts or technology.

Fourth graders will be traveling to Austin again using funds provided by a Foundation grant. Students travel on chartered buses to visit the State Capitol and the Bob Bullock State History Museum. The trip enriches their study of Texas history, according to A. C. Williams Elementary teacher Julie McLeroy.

Third grade teacher Sondra Feduccia proposed Adventures and Explorations in Science that will take students on a journey to delve into the world of science. A trip to the Nature and Science Museum of Dallas will allow students to experience hands-on all of the classroom science objectives presented throughout the year and will allow them to meet and interact with science professionals, exposing them to opportunities available for careers in science. Interactive technological classroom equipment (go!temps and Intel microscopes) will provide entertaining investigative activities that will have students working together to solve real-world problems and refine their analytical skills.

ACW technology teacher Kelly Cotton’s Pictures tell a Thousand Words project was funded. This project places digital cameras and camcorders into the hands of the students to personalize their learning. Through digital storytelling, students will engage in 21st century technologies to produce dynamic stories that reinforce content-area essential knowledge and skills, as well as model appropriate technology use.  Students will tell stories in their own voices using pictures and video taken with the cameras. The grant will purchase six digital cameras and six digital video camcorders, as well as camera tripods, microphone headsets, a DVD burner and other items for students to create digital stories on the computer. Students will keep a portfolio of their work and record this to DVD at the end of the school year for a personal record of their stories.

At Commerce Middle School, Principal Patrick Just and Sherry Rector, sixth grade reading teacher, proposed a grant to buy books for all of CMS classrooms to begin classroom libraries.  In addition to regular library use, students will have additional opportunities to read throughout the day.  Students who read more generally perform better academically and do better on standardized tests, according to Rector.

Kindergarten teachers and students are excited to receive an iPod Touch with speakers for each classroom.  “Kindergarteners are active learners, and much of what we do revolves around actions, songs, and play,” according to teacher Susan Lampe.  The iPods will allow teachers to seamlessly integrate songs, audio books, etc. into the curriculum.  With this upgrade in technology, teachers hope to increase vocabulary, comprehension and engagement of the young learners.

Elementary music teacher Angela Neal proposed a project to take students on a tour of the globe through music. In Peanut Butter Jammin’, students will attend a world music concert at school by professional musicians and learn about music from other cultures.  Tin Roof Tango will perform for CES students.  A. C. Williams Elementary students will hear Jamal Mohamed perform on a variety of exotic instruments.  Students will then learn and use rhythms typical of Latin America, Middle Eastern countries, Africa, and Asia, playing instruments from around the world in our own classroom with drums purchased with grant money.  The world tour will end with a jam session held by select students for the parents and community at the annual ACW art show featuring art from around the world. 

Commerce High School science teacher Wes Roberts proposed purchasing 15 laptops for student use to enhance instruction in biology, chemistry and physics and update the technology currently. The new technology will enable students to take advantage of the vast number of study resources and research databases required by the Commerce curriculum in the science classrooms instead of the shared computer lab.

The Foundation has awarded over $170,000 since 2005. All proposals received by the Foundation were funded this year. The CSEEF was established by former CISD students to enhance learning opportunities in math, science, fine arts and technology.

The Foundation will host its annual Boots & BBQ fundraiser Saturday, April 17 at 6 p.m. at Commerce High School.     .  

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In partnership with families and community, CISD will provide all students an exemplary education, preparing them to be successful, productive citizens. 

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