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Teacher Innovation Grants

Teacher Innovation Grants are available to Bethlehem Area School District teachers to implement an innovative project, initiative, teaching strategy, technology application or other effort providing measurable educational outcomes for students. The purpose of this grant program is to enhance student learning and student interest in learning by providing educators an opportunity to exercise their passion for teaching, develop their ideas, partner with colleagues and connect with the wealth of knowledge, expertise and talent within the district and the community.


2022/2023 Teacher Innovation Grant Recipients

“Puma Podcasts,” – Asa Packer Elementary School, Hilari Takacs

Description: Puma Podcasts as an innovative program designed to promote speaking and conversation skills for students that are learning English as a second language. Students who participate in the ESOL program will have an opportunity to produce a series of podcasts on a variety of subjects. The goal of Puma Podcasts is to provide a unique opportunity for students to practice, rehearse, and utilize their newly acquired English.


“Magnetic Levitation Trains: Moving Us Into the 21st Century,” – Broughal Middle School, Kari Bennett

Description: Magnetic levitation trains use electromagnets to life and propel the train forward, and in turn, the magnets take advantage of the low amount of friction at the bottom of the train. With no moving parts, it is a cost effective way to transport people at high speeds. These trains are only available in rural areas, but this project allows students to design, build, and test their own model train.


“The Science of Dog Sledding,” – Broughal Middle School, Lynn Vento

Description: While studying historical and cultural significance of dog sledding to the indigineous people of North America and Canada, students will be able to build prototype sleds and test them for endurance and efficiency on different surfaes and inclines. Afterward, students are visiting Blue Mountain Ski Area for a snow tubing field trip!


“Music Makey Makey Space,” – Broughal Middle School, Amy Putlock

Description: Sixth grade students at Broughal Middle School will have a unit that focuses on music technology and the science of electronic music. Through the use of Makey Makey circuit boards, students would write code and design an original instrument that combines the use of the circuit boards, original code, and conductive materials. All aspects of STEAM are necessary to the project and give every student the chance to be the engineer in a supportive, scaffolded, and student-centered learning environment.


“Project ChapStick a Multidisciplinary STEM Activity,” – Calypso Elementary School, Danielle DosSantos

Description: Second grade students at Calypso will have the opportunity to engage in a STEM project. The students are able to make chapstick! Each child will personalize their label and engineer the final packaging. Instead of purchasing chapstick, students get to make thir own. It gives them a great sense of pride and accomplishment upon completion.


“Out of the Blue CRISPR and Genotyping,” – Freedom High School, Marissa Kvacky

Description: Bio-Rad’s Out of the Blue CRISPR and Genotyping kits provide true gene editing experience to students in geneticks, biotechnology, and biomedical courses. Students will apply the CRISPR-Cas9 technology to disrupt the lacZ gene in E. coli and produce a phenotype that can be readily visualized through blue-white screening. Students will confirm the edit at the molecular level using PCR and agarose gel electrophoresis.


“Freedom Fountain Gallery,” – Freedom High School, Michael Reenock

Description: With these funds, Mr. Reenock and Ms. Ackerman will transform the current gallery into a Freedom Fountain Gallery. It will showcase current students’ art more than before. The space will be professional, both aesthetically and functionally. New showcases will be installed to balance the space out.


“Exploring the Workings of the Human Body at the Body World Rx Exhibit,” – Freedom High School, Graceanne Ruggiero

Description: Freedom students are taking a field trip to the Body Worlds Rx exhibit at the DaVinci Science Center. Students will have the opportunity to view more than 30 specimens preserved through plastination that highlight the intricacies of the human body and demonstrate its physiology.


“Freedom Readers Literacy Initiative,” – Freedom High School, Michael Dunstan

Description: Multiple students approached the Freedom English Department in hopes of starting an afterschool book club. The Freedom Readers are meeting several times a month to function as a non-traditional book club. They read and discuss novel sets that they work through together and would purposely market themseves to the entire school, choosing novels that are engaging, yet approachable and enticing to a wide variety of readers, students, enthnicities, and genders.


“Slumberkins,” – Fountain Hill Elementary School, Victoria Knepp

Description: Slumberkins is a social-emotional leaning brand that was designed to empower children to be caring, confident, and resilient. Selected groups of students will participate in the Slumberkins scope throughout the school year. Lesson topics include routines, calm corners, building connections, classroom culture and community, conflict resolution, self-esteem, self expression, stress relief, gratitude, mindfulness, growth mindset, emotional courage, authenticity, self-acceptance, creativity, and dealing with change.


“Block Printing with Legos,” – Fountain Hill and Governor Wolf Elementary School, Rachel Lynn

Description: A printmaking station will open by being introduced and practiced for all students. They will explore, build skill, and create art throughout the year. Students are familiar with Legos, and it brings a more familiar material to the art project. The printmaking will be used in flyers, cards, and other repeated images.


“Tiger Tales and Dynamic Shelving in the Farmersville Library,” – Farmersville Elementary School, Julie Mueller

Description: Tiger Tales will be a school-wide book of the month club where all classrooms will discuss the same picture book each month. All of the books will explore a topic related to  diversity and inclusion. Alongside this initiative, dynamic shelving will be implemented to make the library more appealing and easy to navigate. Students will see book covers, not just book spines.


“Building Character, One Brick at a Time!,” – Hanover Elementary School, Leah Zimmerman

Description: Student engagement is the key to running effective small group counseling programs. Providing students with meaningful team building exercises is a bonus, especially when working with recognizable toys and games. Through the use of Legos, the goal is to provide students with challenges to enhance verbal and non-verbal communication, collaboration, leadership, and executive functioning skills.


“Peer Tutoring After School Program,” – Hanover Elementary School, Sean Connolly

Description: By creating a new after-school peer tutoring program, struggling readers will be peer tutored by gifted students. The program will be at least two days a week after school, and peer tutors will be trained on their new role. It is the perfect opportunity for students to be together in a situation that will benefit both parties!


“Real Life Geometry through Mini Golf and Manufacturing,” – Liberty High School, Steven Kapral

Description: Students will design a series of scaled mini golf holes – creation of six courses. Mr. Kapral’s Geometry class will determine the measurements for the scale model and create drawings. Mr. Kriner’s Woof Craft and Graphic Art class will manufacture the courses. The geometry class will analyze angles and positions for the best shot at getting the ball in the hole. The wood craft class will creature more structures and implement obstacles in a creative way. It is a fun way to collaborate with two classes for twice the fun!


“Accelerating Literacy Skills in the World Language Classroom,” – Liberty High School, Andrea Bonnet

Description: Funds are being used to purchasebooks in French to create a classroom library. The books will be of varying difficulty levels and cover a wide range of topics that may be of interest to students. Two bookshelves will be purchased to organize the books by content and difficulty level so that students can easily identify a book that meets their needs.


“Northeast Hornet Morning News and Media Club Project,” – Northeast Middle School, Daniel Wynn

Description: An onboard teleprompter completes the studio camera to be a comprehensive tool for a more professional boardcasting experience for students and staff. The Northeast Hornet Morning News is already covering school wide topics and have been a great success. By acquiring the same teleprompter used in Liberty’s Broadcast Journalism course, students will be familiar with it, which will build confidence and further interest in the field.


“Hands On Literacy,” – Spring Garden Elementary School, Jessica Donaldson

Description: The purpose of the program is to increase multisensory literacy opportunities in kindergarten and first grade students. Multisensory instruction combines listening, speaking, and reading. By providing a variety of activities, these resources will be available to all those who are needing extra support.


“Sensory STEM Bins Aligned to Wonders Essential Questions,” – Spring Garden Elementary School, Rebecca Hines

Description: Combining science and social studies exploration bines will be used for small groups of students to explore an have hands-on experiences without any teacher direction required. By providing an educational resource for students who finish their work early, it provides deeper level thinking into a cross curricular world.


“Experiencing Electricity,” – Thomas Jefferson Elementary School, Ashley Mease

Description: This project will use Foss Science Kits to allow a hands-on learning activity to manipulate electrcity in a safe way. Students will learn what a circuit is before being introduced to snap circuit boxes. After learning the basics of how to handle circuits, they will experiment with open and closed circuits. Problem solving is key to determine why some circuits work and how it can be fixed!


2021/2022 Teacher Innovation Grant Recipients

“Conversation through Collaboration,” – Asa Packer Elementary School, Hilari Takacs

Description: Conversation through Collaboration is an initiative to promote authentic and meaningful conversation through the use of activities, projects, and games. Students who participate in the ESOL program will have an opportunity to invite a friend to participate in activities with them in order to learn, explore, and use the English language in a fun, engaging environment. Students are offered the opportunity to learn and practice new vocabulary.  


“Broughal Rockets Bottle Rockets,” – Broughal Middle School, Kari Bennett

Description: Students involved in the Engineering course at Broughal Middle School will be able to follow the steps of The Technological Design Loop to design and build their own “Broughal Rocket,” a water-propelled rocket. Hands-on learning is a foundation for engineering education and allows students to use fundamental fine motor skills and challenges them to think outside the box. This activity produces a tangible outcome that students keep.


 “Re-Write Boogie Board Writing Tablets!,” – Calypso Elementary School, Danielle DosSantos

Description: The Re-Write Boogie Board Writing Tablets are designed to be an individual student whiteboard replacement. Year after year, the second grade students at Calypso Elementary School will be actively engaged in the curriculum lessons. The quick responses allow students to interact with the teacher in a new way that provides additional opportunities for participation. The writing tablets are a helpful tool to accommodate students who are tactile and/or visual learners.


 “Lights, Camera, READ!,” – Donegan Elementary School, Jamie-Lynn Carrodo

Description: This project focuses on using technology and student lead learning to reinforce automaticity with High Frequency Words. Kindergarteners are introduced to HFWs through videos, and they are tasked with creating their own video that states the HFW, spells the HFW, uses it in a sentence, and restates the HFW. All of the HFW videos are rewatched every week, since repetition is key to learning. The students are able to create connections with their HFWs and will use multisensory tools to master trickier words.


 “Circuit Playground Express,” – All BASD Middle Schools, Tammy McDonald

Description: As a part of the enrichment curriculum for gifted seminar students, a coding unit is explored as an extension to their encore class and as a communication skill. To enhance this unit, this project introduces the four Circuit Playground Express Educators’ Pack. The pack allows students to explore computer science through programming physical computing and problem-solving. Students will learn how to use circuits by programming the boards and innovate their own designs


 “Classroom Calming Areas,” – Freedom High School, Karla Erdman

Description: This project provides students with a small, semi-quiet space in which to promote emotional and behavioral self-regulation in students. The space will focus on social-emotional learning, centralized on mindfulness, empowerment, de-escalation techniques, and executive functioning. The area(s) will be located in the small alcove of each classroom and includes a desk, chair, flexible seat, fidget box, and educational posters focused on social-emotional learning. These areas don’t isolate the students in the classroom, instead, it gives them ample opportunity to manage feelings in an environment that is monitored by the teacher.


 “Trebuchet Day,” – Freedom High School, Jennifer McCauley

Description: STEM courses at all levels study concepts to support the understanding of projectile motion. Teachers will develop lessons and activities that support the projectile motion of the trebuchet, adding specifics after its completed creation. With the help of the wood shop class and/or focus groups, students will build a large trebuchet capable of launching objects up to the length of the football field. Toward the end of the school year, students will host a Trebuchet Day to view all of the creations, launch objects, and study projectile behavior.


“Who’s taking care of YOU?,” – Governor Wolf Elementary School, Tracy Correll

Description: This program partners fifth grade students with kindergarteners to create a buddy program. The fifth grade students will have bi-weekly classroom sessions and use take-home self-care kits to demonstrate their understanding of emotional well being to their family and community members. After practicing at home, fifth graders will share their knowledge to teach kindergarteners how to handle their emotions. Fifth graders become the role models for their peers and practice handling emotions themselves.


“Breathe Like a Bear Book Blast,” – James Buchanan Elementary School, Holly Pasko

Description: James Buchanan is implementing a school-wide mindfulness programming to help address students’ increased levels of anxiety, depression, and other behavioral extremes. This program creates a mindfulness toolbox for all students in James Buchanan which includes regular guidance lessons. The purpose of this program is to teach students four major techniques that enable them to increase their focus, decrease their anxiety and depression, and improve academic achievement.


“Leader In Me Mosaic Series Part 1: I Can See the Leader In Me,” – James Buchanan Elementary School, Elizabeth Rega

Description: The purpose of this project is to engage students with their community by creating a mosaic to celebrate students at the entrance of James Buchanan. The students will learn about The Five Leader in Me Paradigms to promote students’ confidence.


“100th Anniversary Scale Model of Liberty High School,” – Liberty High School, Kristin Stuby

Description: With the 100th anniversary of Liberty High School, several classes at Liberty will determine measurements, create drawings, build the model, and embellish the model. Students participating will keep a team journal to communicate with one another and to ensure all aspects of the project are completed and perfected. Hobbyists within the community will help review how models are created and what materials and techniques are best. With the completion of the model by April 2022, students will celebrate the accomplishment during the Art Show at Liberty High School.


“The Marvine Musical Experience,” – Marvine Elementary School, Tiffany Tarleton

Description: Students will have access to a new musical playground at Marvine Elementary School. All students and their families will be able to create music outdoors, specifically with a hand-made chime wall. Being nearly four feet tall, it is a beautiful piece that creates a lovely sound. This allows students to participate in outside curricular activity, during recess as self-expression, and during out-of-school hours for entertainment.


“The Marvine Mustang Film Festival,” – Marvine Elementary School, Elizabeth Rega

Description: By utilizing the students’ creative brainstorming ideas, they will be partnered with graphic organizers to create their own original narratives that reflect the students’ culture, identity, and/or community. Students will capture original footage, add transitions, sounds, and text to create their project. After peer edits and critiques, the final video will be created to submit to this new film festival. It will be enjoyed by the school and community as a celebration for the 5th grade graduates at the end of the school year.


“Felting for All,” – All BASD Elementary Schools, Jayne Preletz

Description: Felting lessons will be incorporated into the BASD Elementary Art curriculum by giving elementary art teachers access to the tools and resources to teach felting lessons. Through a curriculum writing approach, art teachers will have the flexibility and creativity to introduce students to a new art medium.


“Northeast Hornets Journalism & TV Studio Project,” – Northeast Middle School, Daniel Wynn

Description: Due to an extreme interest in the current Journalism Schoology group, Northeast Middle School is in the process of expanding the TV Studio and morning announcements that are necessary to relay important daily information to the students. This student-led project will foster collaboration and communication between the members of the club and the school community. The creation of their own news studio and production team will engage the population with the latest “buzz”.


“BASD Choral Music Workshop: Together We Sing!,” – BASD K-12 Vocal Music Department, Denise Parker

Description: Through collaboration, mentorship, and performance, all the members of the vocal music programs across kindergarten through high school will benefit from the workshop. A venue will be designed to accommodate all social distancing practices that still allows necessary collaboration and a comfortable environment. In honor of Music in Our Schools Month, the workshop will take place in March 2022 which includes video tutorials, rehearsal tracks, and supportive resources. The final piece performed will include grades 4-12 for the celebration.


2020/2021 Teacher Innovation Grant Recipients

“Who I Am,” – Broughal Middle School, Brittany Reese

Description: A social studies project where the students paint on canvas to express their heritage and culture. This project showcases the diversity of Broughal and helps the students to connect who they are with the content of the curriculum. 


 “Leaders Speaking and Listening Safely – Spring Garden Elementary, Nicole Spirk

Description: Providing this classroom with an IPEVO document camera will give the students the opportunity to share their thoughts and opinions with their classmates.  The mask wearing and social distancing have presented a challenge for student participation in the classroom. They are quieter and more apprehensive to express themselves freely. This piece of equipment would empower them to present their school work to their classmates safely from their desk. Portable desks and yoga mats would be purchased for when the class moves outside for learning opportunities.


 “Comfortable Seating,”  – William Penn Elementary School, Alexa DeRaymond

Description: This grant would provide comfortable seating options (i.e. Ergo Bounce cantilever chair, balance ball seat, and Wobble chair) for a K-2 Emotional Support classroom. These seating options will help the students to learn how to cope and manage their frustrations so they are able to focus on learning. 


 “Creating a Culturally Responsive Classroom,” – Northeast Middle School,  Mary Roehrenbeck

Description: This applicant would like to create a literature-based program for her minority students and create an environment that builds understanding and empathy as well as recognizes and celebrates cultural differences. 


 “Furthering Science Research from the High School Level,” –  Freedom High School, Liam Browne

Description: This grant application is for the purchase of a portable fume hood for the chemistry lab at Freedom High School. A portable fume hood would allow the students to safely work on research projects without disrupting the rest of the class.


 “Take-home Lab Kits for AP & Honors Chemistry Virtual Learners,” – Freedom High School, Carla Krieger

Description: This grant would help to solve a challenge created by COVID-19 by providing E-learners with take-home chemistry lab kits.


“Applied Neuroscience in the World Language Classroom,” – Liberty High School, Andrea Bonnet

Description: This grant applicant would like to make changes, based on neuroscience research, to enhance the learning process for students studying French and Spanish. This grant would fund the purchase of tools for the classroom such as balance discs, portable pedal exercisers, food props, and children’s books in French and Spanish. 


We Still Can STEAM During COVID-19!” – Freemansburg Elementary,  Mary Gruber

Description: The grant will support the purchase of new equipment to enable K-5 students in the hybrid and e-school learning environment to be able to have a complete learning experience in their Digital Literacy classes. The equipment that will be purchased is the Breakout EDU platform, MERGE cubes, CoSpaces with MERGE cube add-on platform access, green screen fabric, and iRoot robots.