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2015 cohort of grantees

Cindy Apley-rose

8th Grade, Couch Middle School

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Project: Couch Middle School Community Math Nights

As a teacher of mathematics, Ms. Apley-Rose was concerned with the number of parents every year that complained at registration that they are not “good” at math and this attitude was often seen transferred to their children. This project sought to use student leaders to help parents overcome ‘math phobia’ by providing resources for parents to use with their children.

Every month, student leaders came together and designed a series of tasks and stations

for parents to experience the activities that students use on a daily basis in school. Student leaders were fluid in that they could choose the concept that was their strength. The following week, the student leaders worked one on one with parents to introduce them to the current technology that was used in the classroom as well as devoting time to explain the misconceptions parents might have had about the concepts. According to the data, parents reacted very positively not only about the experience but their impression of the student leaders.

Cindy Apley-Rose

Kara cowdrick

5th Grade, Charles Brant Chesney Elementary School

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Project: Chesney Champion Book Mobile

When most individuals think of summer, they picture kids swimming, spending time at enriching summer camps, participating in local community library summer reading programs, and enjoying a joyful time when “kids can be kids.” Many Chesney Elementary students do not engage in this same kind of summer. When the school doors close at the end of May, many of Chesney’s students do not have access to summer camps, educational opportunities, and adequate adult supervision. This leads to kids not balancing their time between playing and reading. Chesney Elementary students’ reading achievement suffers because of this. Year after year, there has been a significant “summer slide” amongst Chesney students. They simply don’t get educational, specifically literacy, experiences during the summer.


Ms. Cowdrick implemented the Chesney Champion Book Mobile to address this need and provide students with more summer reading experiences. Each Wednesday in June and July, her Champion Bookmobile visited two local apartment complexes. They allowed students to choose up to five books and provided popsicles and other incentives to encourage reading week after week. Students eagerly awaited the bookmobile’s arrival each week. They even filled out Reading Response sheets about their book, which gave them authentic writing experiences that connect to their summer reading. By putting books in kids’ hands and providing incentives to read week after week during the summer, Chesney Elementary students had more access to books and were more motivated to read during the summer. They also connected reading with fun!

Kara Cowdrick

Alison Dunford

5th Grade, Timber Ridge Elementary School

Cobb County Public Schools

Project: Andy's Garden Outdoor Classroom

The main goal of this project was to obtain funding to renovate an old, decaying outdoor classroom immediately adjacent to Timber Ridge Elementary. The refurbished outdoor classroom and gardens provided opportunities for enriched, hands-on learning for Timber Ridge Elementary students.


The rationale for this ‘Andy’s Garden Outdoor Classroom’ is documented in best practices in teaching and in environmental education. Studies increasingly demonstrate that children reap physical, cognitive, emotional, and psychological benefits when they can learn in an outdoor setting and are engaged with the natural world. There can be no greater impact on academic self-esteem and achievement than for students to ‘do science’ in an outdoor learning environment. Students often speak of their incredible inspiration when writing or journaling outdoors. This engagement significantly impacted student achievement.

Alison Dunford

Jennifer Dunn

Principal, Partee Elementary School

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Project: Makerspace

The main goal of this project was to increase innovation and thinking with Partee Students - to create a space were thinking was practiced, brains were stretched, things were created, and students were thinking at higher levels. A makerspace invited curiosity, inspired wonder, encouraged out of the box thinking, and harnessed innovation! The students had the tools to help and guide them through project based learning. The goal of ‘Makerspace’ was to increase the higher level thinking in all grade levels and students at the school - to have students use project based learning to solve problems in their world to increase math and science scores.


The implementation of this project not only met Ms. Dunn’s expectations but exceeded them. Her students’ scores not only increased in science and math but the buzz around the school was contagious. Students were coding, creating, building, and getting hands on experience with learning standards. The makerspace was full daily and with classes and students working. The space quickly became the hub of the media center and the calendar was booked until the last day of school. Parents, teachers, and students loved the makerspace. It encouraged creativity and even changed the career path of several

students. This addressed every need and more of the intended project.

Jennifer Dunn

Megan endicott

Music, Dolvin Elementary School

Fulton County Public Schools

Project: Quaver's Marvelous World of Music - through Ukeleles & Chromebooks

Students are always in need of additional hands-on resources to ensure they are fully

engrossed in the learning process. Through the Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music

curriculum, students are able to participate in a well-rounded music program through

the use of technology integration, true-to-life professional music creation software, and

interactive student learning environments.


Students were asked to master music standard 5, creating and arranging rhythmic and

melodic patterns using simple form, instrumentation, and various styles. With the new student Chromebooks provided by this project, students were able to work in collaborative groups to create sound stories, music MP3 tracks for projects, and enhance literature with sound timbre all through the website. Projects were saved and shared. In addition, students were struggling with understanding how to read and notate melodies from standard 3 on the treble staff. Students now were able to make the learning tangible through the means of adding music instruments (both introductory to middle and high school instruments) and in line with current trends through the use of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music curriculum and the recorder and ukulele.

Megan Endicott

lillian galicia

2nd Grade, The Museum School of Avondale Estates

DeKalb County Public Schools

Project: Flippin' for Flipped Learning

The purpose of this project was to "flip" learning at The Museum School of Avondale Estates to impact student achievement in mathematics. Ms. Galicia, with the help of K-5 teachers, collaborated to identify and create a clear learning progression for a specific skill within the domain of number and operations, as students were having trouble with math concepts. These skills included addition, addition with regrouping, subtraction, subtraction with regrouping, place value, and comparing numbers. The flipped learning approach enhanced student learning by ensuring that all teachers were using the same mathematical language and strategies. This project was a huge success!

Lillian Galicia
Dave Howland

Dave howland 

Principal, KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School

Atlanta Public Schools

Project: Increasing STEM Mastery Through Blended Learning

The main goal for this project was to leverage and individualize a blended learning model in science and math classrooms to increase student growth and achievement at KIPP Atlanta Collegiate High School. Traditionally, students faced challenging and rigorous concepts in their math or science classrooms, and their ability to master the content was dependent on the capacity of the teacher to answer their specific questions, or provide them the crucial direct instruction at the key moment they needed it.


Resultantly, teachers had to reteach concepts multiple times to help students understand. ‘Increasing STEM Mastery Through Blended Learning’ was a project that increased students’ comprehension by providing blended learning. This project included signing out Apple iPads to the teachers in the science department who utilized them to create a “flipped classroom model.” These science teachers used the iPads along with an app that allowed them to create exemplar responses for problem sets. They then posted these videos online through either Google Classroom and/or classroom webpages. Through this process, the students were then able to access videos of their teachers solving problems and narrating the explanation so that they could get additional assistance with problem sets that they were executing independently either in class or at home. Furthermore, these videos were accessed by students in preparation for exams after the initial problem set was complete and remain as a resource that will be leveraged in future years.

Katherine kelbaugh 

Principal, The Museum School of Avondale Estates

DeKalb County Public Schools

Project: Think Lab and Makerspace

The need for this project came from students’ inability to solve problems and address real life needs. Through collaboration between students and community members, students were able to gain the necessary tools to think critically and problem solve on their own.


The project increased student self-esteem, confidence and motivation by creating

self-motivated and self-directed learners. Through the ‘Think Lab and Makerspace’ activities, students also had the opportunity to explore freely and without structure, decreasing their fears andanxieties related to failure or making mistakes.

Katherie Kelbaugh

tiffany smith

1st Grade, Toomer Elementary School

Atlanta Public Schools

Project: Magical Math Moments

The goal of this project was to increase school-wide student achievement in the operations and algebraic thinking and place value math units. When analyzing school-wide data, students demonstrated growth but low achievement in the area of mathematics. In collaborating with teachers of the school, students in grades three through five were struggling most frequently with basic operations and algebraic thinking and place value. Students were missing foundational skills, such as using addition and subtraction, solving one and two step word problems, reading and writing numbers to 1000 using base ten and expanded form, and using knowledge of place value to add and subtract within 1000. Without mastery of these standards, students were unable to experience academic success in multiplication, division, and place value.


Through ‘Magical Math Moments’, Ms. Smith was able to implement interactive notebooks in kindergarten through fifth grade classrooms, and provide students with opportunities to practice and build mastery of addition, subtraction, word problems, and place value skills. Interactive notebooks boosted achievement in the classroom because they incorporated multiple intelligences and addressed various learning styles. The notebooks provided opportunities for students to practice, remember, and review strategies and skills in an organized format. The teachers were provided the needed materials of composition notebooks, glue sticks, and cardstock paper, as well as interactive notebook templates and suggested activities for their particular grade level. Further, Ms. Smith shared with the staff the research behind interactive notebooks, make-and-take examples of notebooks to use in the classroom, and encouraged collaboration between colleagues concerning the interactive notebooks during the implementation process.

Tiffany Smith

carrie staines

History, Druid Hills High School

DeKalb County Public Schools

Project: Connecting to Content with Artifacts

As a history teacher in general and a high school teacher in particular, Ms. Staines regularly saw students disconnected from the content presented in class. History tends to be a subject most students find “boring” and Ms. Staines was constantly searching for ways to get students connected and excited about the content in world history. Ms. Staines found that anytime she had an artifact to show students, they immediately became more attentive and connected. For example, she could speak about and show images on the Promethean of the Chinese practice of foot binding, but if she had an actual shoe worn by a Chinese woman with bound feet it made learning about the practice more engaging and emotion-inducing. It “hooked” students immediately.


‘Connecting to Content with Artifacts’ was a project that increased students’ connection and understanding of history by engaging them with historical artifacts. Ms. Staines purchased 42 artifacts ranging from Alexander the Great coinage to a modern day Army issued helmet from Afghanistan. A few of the artifacts were from the actual time period, but most were well-made, historically correct replicas. Each one of the artifacts was able to be borrowed from the in-school museum for teacher’s to take back to their class. Ms. Staines also created an online catalog with a brief description of each item as well as a few suggestions for how to use them in world history, US history, geography, world cultures, and a variety of literature classes. Students were able to touch and pass around the artifact. Overall, students became more engaged with the material in Ms. Staines history class and their understanding and application of the material increased.

Carrie Staines
Richele Stamper

richele stamper

Pre-K, C.H. Gullatt Elementary School

Fulton County Public Schools

Project: Young Reader's Book Club

Data suggests that K-5 Students at Gullatt Elementary were struggling readers. Many students were not able to comprehend what they were reading and some were even struggling to read. The ‘Young Readers’ Book Club’s’ purpose was to help young students enjoy reading and to become better readers. The more students read the better they will get.


The implementation of this project helped students to become interested in reading and to be better readers by having students engaged and immersed in books every Tuesday and Thursday after school. Teachers modeled reading strategies and introduced students to a variety of books. Activities to strengthen reading fluency and

comprehension were included in the project routines.

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