WEP Funds Minigrants for School Projects

“Thanks for being a catalyst for our potential success!”   How’s that for a memorable thank-you to WEP and our community partners and financial supporters! This sentiment was expressed by a student in a classroom where the WEP Minigrant Prize Patrol recently made a surprise visit to award the teacher with a grant.

Fourteen school grants were selected for funding with 2016-17 WEP Minigrants. Grants were awarded on a competitive basis for worthy projects which show promise of benefiting students. The total amount awarded in the Minigrants program is $12,861.20.

Two schools were selected to receive Merck Health and Wellness Minigrants, thanks to funding from a Merck Neighbor of Choice Grant received by WEP. Other grants focus on expanding opportunities for more students to gain access to college and to prepare for careers.


At Darden Middle School, Karen Bessey and Renee Olivieri will guide students to develop a new weekly segment to the morning news show. Grant funds will purchase production equipment to allow students to create shows that include interviews with community guests who will discuss health and wellness topics. Enhanced programming capabilities will allow students in all grades to experience “Wellness Wednesdays”.


At Vinson-Bynum Elementary School, Demetrius Smith will use grant funds to provide opportunities for student members of the after-school running club to participate in multiple sanctioned community runs, including those sponsored by the school district.


Jumela Bullock and Takwanda Lawrence received funding to purchase Apple TVs to expand the use of IPads at Barnes Elementary to better serve all students in the school. More hands-on technology can be integrated into instructions with the addition of this equipment,


At New Hope Elementary, Carey Heiniger and Lisa May will collaborate with the music teacher and science teachers to use Dot and Dash Xylophones and Sphero Robots to encourage students to become problem-solvers.


Hunter Summerlin, Elm City Middle School, will purchase a research-based math intervention program to help special needs students improve their math skills.


Also at Elm City Middle, Care Patterson and Tammy Lamm will create hands-on makerspace stations in the media center where students can explore and make real-world connections between science, math, arts and technology. Grant funds will provide resources including Lego’s education kits and Sphero Robots.


Students at Springfield Middle School will also benefit from a new makerspace area created in the media center under the leadership of Sherry Edwards. Students will design projects to be highlighted at a Maker Day event are the end of the school year.


The entire Forest Hills Middle school family will come together to read a book during an all-school read over the course of several weeks.   Media coordinator Katherine Taylor will collaborate with teachers in all curriculum areas to provide a variety of activities, with a focus on writing, to engage all school groups. Grant funds will supplement other funding to purchase 600+ copies of the selected book.


Cougar Career Clubs at Speight Middle School will complete project-based learning activities using supplies purchased with grant funds. During project implementation, emphasis will be on leadership, cooperation, flexibility and other soft skills that are keys to finding and maintaining employment. Assistance Principal Angela Norris will provide leadership to the grant implementation.


Dana Lee and members of the guidance department at Fike High School will use grant funds to promote college access to students and parents through implementation of a variety of activities and marketing strategies.


The media center at Fike High School will soon house a new FAB LAB. Media center director Joy Edwards will collaborate with all teachers to create project-based learning experiences where students will use a 3D printer, giving them practical 21st century contact with the same technology used by many professionals in careers.


At Beddingfield High School, Joseph Hayes and Karen Pike will use grant funds to purchase Sphero coding robots. Problem-solving, troubleshooting errors, writing code and testing programs will help students learn about the need for highly skilled computer programmers in the work force.


Students in Hope Lucas and Betty Greene’s biology, chemistry, physical science and physics classes at Beddingfield will learn about the sun as a source of renewable energy with hands-on activities using solar resources purchased with grant funds. Students will learn about future employment opportunities in the energy sector.


Carrie Mavari will purchase a classroom set of novels written in Spanish for advanced-level Spanish students at Beddingfield. The goal is to build a library of book sets covering a range of skill levels to help students make meaningful lasting gains in language acquisition, which can enhance their future employability.