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DEF announces grant recipients
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DEF announces grant recipients
DYSART SCHOOLS- The Dysart Education Foundation (DEF) recently announced teacher recipients for the Fall 2018 mini grants.  Focused on projects to enhance learning in the Dysart Unified School District, the competitive mini grants application process is based on originality, professionalism, and how the project benefits students through involvement. This opportunity was made possible by funds from the district United Way campaign, community contributions, and donations from the Estelle Russo Trust.  The Estelle Russo estate provided additional funds to DEF, to be used specifically for teachers of the arts.

Beverly Zwick, K-8 Physical Education (PE) teacher at Dysart Elementary School, received funds for the PE Shoe Loaner program. Research shows that there are many health and academic benefits to students when they are able to participate in physical activities.  The shoe loaner program provides appropriate athletic shoes for students to participate in PE classes.

Nichole Perez, K-8 iExplore teacher from West Point Elementary, will utilize the donated funds towards Design Thinking projects. Students will redesign teacher supplies such as staplers by creating original designs on Tinkercad software and use a 3D printer to produce a replica of their product.  Activities will also include an analysis of the resulting prototype and a marketing campaign for their product.

Liana Gillespie and Kristin Binazeski, K-8 iExplore teachers from Canyon Ridge School, will use the grant for Little Bits Innovations for iExplore/ MakerSpace classes. Little Bits is an open-source library of modules that allow users to learn electronics via prototypes. Students will create circuitry for use in original project creation.

Kelly Potter, teacher for the visually impaired, was awarded funds for the Picture-in-a-Flash Embosser to produce tactile graphics, including tactile pictures, diagrams, maps, and graphs, which are images that use raised surfaces so that a blind or visually impaired person can access them through touch rather than sight.  While braille is available in the district, tactile graphics are more complex. Using the Picture-in-a-Flash Embosser, a printed image, drawing, or photocopy can be scanned and a raised image will result.

Kendra Schroeder, theater teacher at Shadow Ridge High School, will use funds to purchase lighting equipment and a laptop for students to explore and learn lighting techniques.  Students will learn how to mix color, use the lighting design program to create cues, create a plot, run a show, and focus lights.

Diane Richardson, music teacher at Surprise Elementary School, received funds for Piano Schoologists keyboards, stands, and headsets. Students will learn to play a self-selected piano piece on keyboards and record themselves multiple times in order to assess their own progress.

In addition to funding mini grants, DEF funds scholarships for graduating Dysart district seniors.  Pictures and information about current scholarship recipients are available on the Dysart Education Foundation Facebook page.

DEF is currently reaching out to the community for their annual scholarship drive.  Businesses and individuals can now donate funds for a designated, named scholarship for deserving students who demonstrate excellence, community involvement, and are in need of financial assistance. Please visit for more information regarding scholarships and mini grants.