Zionsville Education Foundation announces 2021 Fall Classroom Grants


The Zionsville Education Foundation recently awarded $26,640.89 in Fall Classroom Grants to 19 Zionsville Community Schools educators.

The 2021 Fall Classroom Grants fund innovative projects in every grade, across all eight ZCS schools. The grants were made possible by donations from Duke Energy Foundation, Barth Family Fund and individual ZEF donors.

“We are grateful to the donors whose generosity will bring these creative projects to life for ZCS students,” ZEF Board President Challis Imes stated in a press release. “The kindness of our community and its commitment to academic excellence is unparalleled.”

The 2021 Fall Classroom Grants fund creative projects across multiple disciplines, including STEM, literacy, the arts, cognitive and motor skills, social sciences and technology.

“These eleven grants will impact more than 7,000 students this school year, with many projects

providing students with unique learning experiences for years to come,” stated Jane Louiso, ZEF board member and grants committee chair.

Applications are reviewed by the Classroom Grants Committee consisting of six ZEF board members and seven volunteer community members.

In 2020, ZEF awarded more than $127,000 in grants to ZCS teachers and students to fund their creative solutions and innovative ideas during virtual, hybrid and in-person learning during the COVID-19 pandemic. ZEF is in its 26th year and to date has provided more than $1.5 million in support of Zionsville schools.

Zionsville Education Foundation 2021 Fall Classroom Grants:

  • Seeing the Little Things with a Microscope Camera and Monitor
    Andy Seward, Melissa Betustak and Alex Truex, Zionsville Middle School ($464.03)
    The purchase of a microscopic camera and monitor will enable images and video from a microscope to be projected and viewed by students. This will help ZMS science teachers demonstrate how to use a microscope. It also will give students the opportunity to share interesting microscopic organisms with the entire class and enable teachers to put images on Canvas for student reference or to help in the event of an absence.
  • Calling All Entreprenueurs
    Stephanie Martinelli & Laura Czerwionka, Pleasant View Elementary ($3,072.72)
    Provides resources to expand the 2nd grade economics unit by rooting it in high-interest, nonfiction literature. Students will read books about toy inventions and toy makers and learn how these products and entrepreneurs made an impact on our world. Students will then use what they learn to create and mass produce their own toys to sell in the second grade marketplace.
  • Firing Up Creativity
    Sarah West, Zionsville Middle School ($3,750)
    New pottery wheels will fire up creativity in the Zionsville Middle School art classes. This hands-on learning experience will enable students to create bowls, cups, mugs and vases while increasing their confidence as they take on a new artistic challenge, problem solve and show grit and determination to create functional works of art.
  • Talk of the Town
    ZCS English as a New Language Teachers, Kris Barksdale, Julie Luker, Mandy Keller, Cathy Patel ($1,000).
    This grant will enable English language learning students to explore the town in which they live while practicing needed language skills. Students will learn more about what Zionsville has to offer while they build confidence in their communication skills.
  • Supporting Reading and Social Studies in All Elementary Schools
    Christine Squier for all ZCS Elementary Schools ($11,678.16).
    Rich, diverse texts in support of social studies standards will be purchased for every ZCS elementary school — Eagle, Union, Pleasant View, Stonegate and Boone Meadow. Teachers worked over the summer to create units for each quarter to teach social studies concepts through books in lieu of a textbook.
  • Orchestra Technology Tools
    David Schurger, Zionsville Community High School ($1,927)
    These technology tools will enable Mr. Schurger to be more efficient as an educator to deliver the best orchestra-learning environment for his students. A Harmony Director keyboard can be accessed from anywhere in the classroom, and an iPad Pro will provide seamless transitions among scores, full score viewing and part editing.
  • Brain/Body in Balance with Sensory Pathways
    Deborah Torrance, Stonegate Elementary ($676.12).
    This grant provides materials for sensory pathways that engage different parts of the brain and body. This whole-body engagement can aid students by calming the brain, stimulating brain activation for learning and providing outlets for excess energy and emotional simulation.
  • Increasing Curiosity by Increasing Literacy
    Jenna Snow, Zionsville Middle School ($1,398.25).
    Science magazines will be used to increase scientific literacy and engage students in discussions about science issues that affect us all. Relevant, in-depth current events will allow Snow to teach student reading strategies to improve comprehension of scientific literature that traditional science textbooks do not.
  • Playing Monopoly Can Teach You About Money & Business
    Gil Speer, Zionsville Community High School ($650).
    Students will compete against one another in classroom games of Monopoly. They will track their net worth throughout the semester and running scores will be recorded. Advantages and disadvantages given to students will simulate different types of economies. Students will develop essential math skills while they work to create a financial outcome that is positive and sustainable as one component of a happy life.
  • “Why are they doing that?!”
    Abby Andries and Jessica Wetzel ($731.61).
    The grant establishes a resource library and database of storybooks, lessons and activities to use with students in person or virtually as well as skill development and awareness of social, emotional and physical needs for all.
  • Pickle Ball for PE
    Steve Simmons and Trisha Smart, Zionsville West Middle School ($1,293).
    The grant enables the Zionsville West Middle School teachers to introduce the easy-to-learn, fun sport of pickleball to all ZWMS students. Hand/eye coordination, balance, agility and reflexes are all enhanced by playing the lifetime sport, according to the teachers.

Total Grants Awarded: $26,640.89