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2019 Cohort of Grantees


cherisse campbell

Principal, Amana Academy

Fulton County School System

Project: Comparing Aeroponic Gardening and Traditional Gardening to Find Food


The purpose of this project is to engage students in a real-world, service learning STEM project that will improve student achievement in mathematics. Cherisse's ultimate goal is to create a self-sustaining student-run vegetable stand that funds at-home aeroponic garden towers for local families in need. 2nd grade students will utilize resources in the school's learning garden to compare traditional gardening practices to vertical aeroponic farming, and collect data to determine the differences and similarities with each. Students will learn the science behind vertical aeroponic technology and compare this growing technique with traditional gardening using soil in raised beds. Applying their science and math standards to this hands-on project, students will learn about plant life cycles, and measure crop yields and square footage of the growing space.


Students will grow edible plants from seed and observe the growth of their plants in various growing conditions using time-lapse cameras that they can observe via wireless feed on computers in their classrooms. For the service-learning component of the project, students will then operate a vegetable stand at the school and use the profits to purchase gardening supplies for low-income families that face challenges obtaining consistent healthy food.


doug doblar

4th/5th Grade, R.D. Head Elementary School

Gwinnett County Public Schools

Project: Bringing Math, Science, and Real-Time Data to Life and Together

Access to authentic and real-time data has the potential to drastically alter students’
school experience in math and science. Research continues to show that a major source of students’ struggles in math and science can be traced to a lack of background knowledge and life experiences in which to connect learning. Science content that can be seen and experienced is much easier to learn than content that cannot. This project aims to make math and science come alive.

Through the use of various digital science sensors, probes, and equipment, students will use real-time science data to increase their comprehension of science phenomena and the math curriculum. The integration of relevant, real world data into the math standards will open doors to extraordinarily powerful instructional activities that are very difficult to create without the right tools. 

Larry Martinek said, "Children don’t hate math. What they hate is being confused, intimidated, and embarrassed by math. With understanding comes passion, and with passion comes growth—a treasure is unlocked.” This project aims to unlock this treasure for students.



8th-12 Grade, DeKalb School of the Arts

DeKalb County Schools

Project: Raising the Barre: Increasing Rigor and Access for Winter Dance Concert

The centerpiece of this project is a week-long residency with a nationally significant dance artist. During the week, the artist will teach master classes for every student enrolled in the Dance Technique program. In the evenings, they will teach open classes for the community and set a dance piece for the school's famous Winter Dance Concert. This event attracts enormous attention and support of the school's programming. In addition to the public performances and free community master classes, the school offers a free outreach performance for children in the community who have less access to the arts. Projects funds will also be used to provide "Pointe Shoe Scholarships" for dance students needing financial assistance. This would enable students to advance to a higher level of ballet technique.

“Raising the Barre” will increase the rigor of coursework and performance repertoire, increase access to opportunities for students who could not afford to pursue them without financial assistance, raise the profile of DeKalb School of the Arts in the community, and increase access to arts opportunities in the community.

Toni Johnson

kelly dyar

9th/10th Grade, Mill Creek High School
Gwinnett County 
Public Schools

Project: Rapid Prototyping and Experiential Learning

This project is focused on giving students more hands on opportunities to see their designs developed into prototypes. A key piece of the Engineering Design Process is that students test their designs by creating a prototype and then evaluate and troubleshoot their design. When using computer aided drafting software, students can create their design. Through the purchasing of a 3D printer capable of producing students’ designs, students will be able to properly evaluate, troubleshoot and revise their designs from the 3D prototypes. This process in turn will reinforce the Engineering Design Process and academic concepts in math and science.

In addition to academic growth, this project targets students' self-esteem and critical thinking skills. The engineering design process teaches students to build, evaluate and revise. If a student is able to learn from their mistakes and make revisions, this will help increase achievement, build self-esteem, and improve critical thinking skills. Indeed, students will focused on the process of learning, not just on the end result.

Dawn Parker
Lovett Jr..jpg

andrew lovett, jr.

Principal, Frederick Wilson Benteen Elementary School

Atlanta Public Schools

Project: Building Brilliant Biliterate Readers

Building Brilliant Biliterate Readers is designed to address inadequacies in access to literature and reading materials for students, thus strengthening the school's Dual Language Immersion proram. The goal of the project is to increase students' access to bilingual texts, raise student achievement, build student self-esteem, and create additional ways that families can engage in the learning environment.


Benteen Elementary School is one of the most diverse schools within Atlanta Public Schools. Approximately 35-37% of the student population identifies as Hispanic and speaks a language other than English in their homes. Through purchasing bilingual classroom libraries for all homeroom classes, the project will create opportunities for Hispanic families to read in their native language in their child's classroom, thus supporting families as they engage in their children's learning. It will also further an awareness of cultural and linguistic diversity within the school building and restore a sense of pride in bilingualism among students and families.

Tracey Pendley

ashleigh spatz

Music Specialist, Burgess-Peterson Academy

Atlanta Public Schools

Project: Composing for Community: Share Your Music, Speak Your Truth

“Composing for Community: Share Your Music, Speak Your Truth” is an innovative elementary level music project that focuses on the important and useful 21st century skill of composing digital music. 3rd, 4th, and 5th grade students from three different elementary schools will engage in composing digital music with three different technology programs: Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music, Chrome Music Lab, and Incredibox. They will then pair these musical compositions with student-written poetry and work with local industry experts in music production and spoken word. The most exceptional pieces will be showcased at a culminating celebration concert. This free community concert will be advertised to the local community and performed at an outdoor venue. Students will get a chance to recite their poetry for a live audience, and the digital music will be played and projected on a screen. 


The goal of this project is to promote creativity through cutting edge music technology that has real-world applications, and to increase student and community involvement in the arts. 

Amber Simmons
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