Dialing for Dollars on Behalf of Carmel Teachers and Students
Writer // Janelle Morrison Photography // Courtesy of Carmel Education Foundation
Carmel Education Foundation (CEF) would like you to answer your phones and consider donating during its 33rd Annual Telethon this February 19-21. Each donation given will enable CEF to support the 16,000 Carmel Clay students in academic achievement and lifelong learning by funding educational teacher grants.
Stephanie McDonald and Barbara Danquist, co-directors at CEF, spoke about why the community’s support of the telethon is critical in helping CEF meet its annual goals so that it can continue to make a difference in the lives of our teachers and students. As long as Carmel Clay Schools (CCS) remain the second lowest funded school district in the state, the grants awarded by CEF to CCS teachers will be necessary to help fund programs and equipment that the classrooms would otherwise go without.
In addition to pledging over the phone during the upcoming telethon, folks can donate in a variety of ways.
“You can always send a check to Carmel Education Foundation,” McDonald said. “You can also go to our website. There is a donation button immediately on our website, and there is a section that you can click on that tells about our annual telethon.”
Both McDonald and Danquist expressed their genuine appreciation for all that the Carmel community has given over the last half of a century and for the support that it continues to give CEF.
“We would like to say thank you to our community for supporting our telethon for 32 years, but what does thank you mean?”, Danquist said. “Picture a collage of CCS teachers and students. It means ‘Mrs. Smith’ at Prairie Trace Elementary, it means ‘Johnny’ at Cherry Tree Elementary, it means the Culinary Department at the high school and it means so many more teachers and specific grants that continue to advance our classrooms despite the state funding deficit. We (CEF) have been supporting CCS for 53 years. We are still here, and we are still doing what we do. And we need you [the community] to continue to help us.”
A handful of recent CEF grant recipients shared how their grants have benefitted their respective classrooms.
Instructional Coach/Interventionist Lauren Dunlap at Woodbrook Elementary shared, “We received our CEF grant to help fund new equipment for the live morning broadcast each day. Receiving the CEF grant has made SUCH a positive impact on both the broadcast team members as well as the rest of the WBE student and staff community. First and foremost, adding new equipment from the money we received from this grant has allowed us to add positions, which in turn allows more students to be included on the team. Regardless of the position (audio/video crew or an on-air position), all students feel a sense of ownership with each broadcast. Without CEF, none of this would have been made possible. And for that, we are truly grateful!”
Computer Education/AVID Teacher Evan L. Snyder at Clay Middle School received a grant for the gaming and computer programming club. “EliteGamingLIVE was the spark that allowed us to launch such a program for our students at Clay Middle School,” Snyder shared. “The money went toward startup costs, which mostly consisted of the subscription fee for EGL, a STEM platform that focuses on competitive video gaming, a growing field in the industry. The students thrive in an arena where they can participate on a team, show off their hidden skills and compete against each other and other schools. We are so thankful at Clay for the graciousness CEF has shown us and look forward to more fruitful partnerships in the future!”
Grades 6-8 Art Teacher Jenny Tucker said, “After receiving the $500 grant from CEF for my ‘Exceptional Children, Exceptional Art’ program at Creekside Middle School, I was able to purchase tools and materials designed specifically for my students with different needs. This made it much easier for them to be successful and more independent as they created art, and I was able to introduce a more varied creative curriculum for them because I knew I had access to the supplies and books I needed. I am very thankful to CEF and the donors who support this grant program.”
Social Studies Teacher Will Ellery at CHS was awarded a grant for a recording device, Swivl, that allows a teacher to record class activities using a cell phone, iPad or similar device, a technology that brings numerous benefits to the classroom.
“The impact of the availability of the Swivl has been substantial, and it is used in ways that I did not foresee,” Ellery explained. “I can record anything that happens in class. At its most elemental level, it allows for kids who missed class to view the class later on Canvas. Similarly, when a student feels that he or she needs clarification, that student can view the class again as many times as desired. It has allowed for peer evaluations of presentations where students can watch their peers’ presentations, and most importantly, it allows for the teacher to record a class and then review it, looking for strengths and for areas in which to improve. And because it does, as the name suggests, swivel, it follows the teacher around. It is a much more meaningful way to self-assess instructional methods.”
Lastly, CHS Culinary Instructor Nick Carter shared what his grant did for his department.
“Our Culinary curriculum includes taking the ServSafe Manager exam,” he said. “This exam is a nationally recognized food safety and sanitation exam critical for success in the hospitality industry. The exam is updated on a five-year cycle, which matches the cycle of the release of the U.S. Food Code by the FDA. The Foundation’s support has allowed us to update some of our instructional materials for this National level certification outside of the normal book adoption schedule … giving our students the most up-to-date information and the best chance at success!”
For more information on CEF and on how to donate, visit ccs.k12.in.us/foundation.