By Desiree Williams
The Zionsville Education Foundation presented seven Imagine Professional Development Grants to nine Zionsville teachers last month. The grants totaled more than $15,000.
The grants facilitate professional growth and revitalization for experienced educators by funding conference attendance.
Individual, corporate and small business donations and profits from ZEF’s annual Barn Bash event fund Imagine Grants.
“With the school system being the lowest-funded per pupil in the state, (ZEF) realized budgets are tight, and with that comes tight budgets for professional development opportunities, so we saw that there was a need there and are trying to fill that as best we can,” said Lyle Browne, ZEF executive director.
Interested teachers complete an online application listing the learning experience they wish to attend, which is later reviewed by a grants committee. The grants benefit a variety of disciplines.
“(The grants) touch counseling. They touch music education. They touch literacy. They touch leadership,” Browne said. “That’s one of the things that both our Imagine Grants and our classroom grants do is to really touch our schools on a variety of topics and a variety of disciplines and show that we really do cover the entire district.”
The conferences began this month and continue until February 2020.
“We hope that it strengthens classrooms by expanding the knowledge teachers have, and therefore expanding what they’re teaching to our kids,” Browne said.
2019 Imagine Professional Development Grant recipients
Lauren Kersey – Boone Meadow Elementary School, Empowering Professional Learning at ASCD ($3,000)
Joshua Weirich and Chris Murray – Zionsville Middle School, “Jazz Education Network National Conference: Taking Jazz in ZCS to the Next Level” ($2,900)
Kelly Masters – Union Elementary School, “Time to Teach the Teacher” ($903)
Sarah Kiel and Amanda Rennard – Boone Meadow Elementary, School
“Building Relationships for Student Success: A Student-Centered Classroom Learning Experience” ($3,000)
Leah Brough – Zionsville West Middle School, “American School Counseling Association Annual Conference “Revolutionary Ideas” ($1,870)
Jess Lukens – Zionsville West Middle School, “Digital Media Literacy Institute”($2,125)
Stephanie Barrientos – Zionsville West Middle School, “Digital Media Literacy Institute” ($2,125)