Enhancing education: Zionsville teachers earn thousands in grant funds


The Zionsville Education Foundation provided a record-breaking $61,010 in grant funding this spring to the educators at Zionsville Community Schools. Teachers across the district were awarded a combination of classroom grants and professional development grants in April to assist the teaching and learning process and provide pathways for success for ZCS students.

“We are incredibly grateful to our community for making these grants possible,” ZEF Board President Mark Pascarella stated. “We are only able to support ZCS teachers, students, and schools in this way because of the generosity of our donors.”

In addition to donations, funds are raised throughout the year at ZEF events, including the ZEF Bash, Eagle Honor Awards and Trivia Night participation.

Classroom grants provide funding for innovative projects that directly impact students. A total of $31,412 awarded this cycle for classroom grants will provide unique learning experiences for students in all nine Zionsville schools, enhancing instruction in music, wellness, STEM, literacy and robotics.

Grant funds for professional development totaling $29,598 provide growth opportunities for educators in their areas of instruction and allow teachers to connect with colleagues and bring new ideas to their classrooms.

“We commend these and all ZCS educators for their creativity and hard work for their students,” stated ZEF Grants Committee Chair Jane Louiso. “Their dedication to educational excellence is evident and their true passion for student growth came through in these grant applications. We are honored to be able to support their innovative ideas and continued professional growth through these grants.”

ZEF has awarded more than $1.8 million in support of ZCS since the foundation was formed in 1995. Classroom grants are awarded twice a year — once in spring and once in fall — while professional development grants are awarded each spring.

Grant funding is made possible through support from the Barth Family Fund, Lilly Lebanon Manufacturing, and the Lilly Lebanon Project, a collaboration of Eli Lilly and Company and Fluor Corporation.

Learn more about ZEF, including a complete list of past and present grants, at ZionsvilleEducationFoundation.org.

CIZ Cover House Maina
Stonegate Elementary educators will attend the House Mania at the Ron Clark Academy conference in Atlanta. Receiving the grant award, from left, Emily Stochel, Whitney Luther, Julie Bradley, Leslie Frobig, Katy Ruhl, Nikki Hartsock, Jane Louiso, Terri Brown, Lyle Browne, Sidney Warnke and Theresa Knipstein Meyer. (Photo courtesy of Zionsville Education Foundation)

Zionsville Education Foundation 2024 Spring Grants

Classroom Grants

Foundational “Fit”nastics —$10,178

Awarded to Alyssa Jackson, Laurie Wanser, Deb Torrance, Angie Fritz, Garrett Stephens, Fred Powell, Jarrod Gatlin and Christine Squier representing all ZCS elementary schools, this grant provides equipment for safe and effective gymnastics instruction.

Investing in Students: Creating a Classroom Economy for Math and Life Skills — $1,638

Awarded to Bailee Newton of Zionsville Middle School, this grant will help create a “classroom economy” to teach students real world math and budgeting skills and enhance their executive functioning skills.

Author Visit-Harvesting Stories from Experiences — $850

Awarded to Randi Schreiner of Zionsville West Middle School, this project will bring in a local Indiana author Laura Martin to the classroom to share her popular literary adventures.

The Courtyard: From Blank Canvas to Outdoor Learning Oasis — $3,000

This grant, which improves one of the courtyards at ZCHS to create an outdoor learning area and workspace, was awarded to Jessie Showalter and Bronson Lickliter.

Building Blocks of Learning — $9,051

Awarded to Joey Hewett, Callie Surface, Jennifer Sautbine and Joy Morris of Eagle Elementary, this grant will provide the kindergarten team with tools to enhance STEM learning including blocks, light tables and magnetic tiles to promote multi-dimensional learning.

Flipping into Fitness — $856

Awarded to Trisha Smart, Steve Simmons, Kristina Comer and Gabe Diederich of Zionsville West Middle School, the funds will purchase mats for physical fitness classes to teach fitness and motor skill development for fifth through eighth grade students.

School Ukulele Experience — $3,057

Awarded to Andrea Wentz of Eagle Elementary, this grant will purchase ukuleles to teach students fundamental musical skills on a stringed instrument.

ZWEST Robotics Training Club — $2,781

Michael Murphy and Michael Deland of Zionsville West Middle School will use this grant to help launch a junior robotics club and to teach design and modeling.

Professional Development Grants

Patriot Pilgrimage, A Colonial Quest through the American Revolution

Christine Milligan, Trish Shera and Allison Smith of Zionsville West Middle School were awarded $3,000 each for first-hand training at historical sites in Boston, Mass. to be utilized throughout American Revolution classroom instruction.

House Mania at the Ron Clark Academy

Educational partners Terri Brown and Sidney Warnke and Leslie Frobig and Nikki Hartsock of Stonegate Elementary will attend the House Mania at the Ron Clark Academy conference in Atlanta to learn ways to implement processes that build character, relationships, and school spirit. Each pair was awarded $3,000.

Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators — $350

Nick Noe of Boone Meadow Elementary will use these funds to attend and present on technology and integration at the 2024 Hoosier Educational Computer Coordinators conference.

We Are Not The Ones That Sting Because It’s Our War, Too! — $1,798

Brittany Moon of Zionsville Middle School will use funds to visit and learn at the Women Air Service Pilots of World War II exhibit in Texas and the National World War II Museum in New Orleans.

The Superbowl of Mathematics — $1,390

Kara Benson and Liz Ferrand of Zionsville West Middle School will attend a conference on best practices in mathematics education in Indiana.

Midwest Band and Orchestra Conference – $2,280

Evan Schroeder, Chris Murray and Josh Weirich of Zionsville Middle School will attend the conference in Chicago to assist efforts to improve their craft both inside and outside the classroom.

PLTW Summit for Professional Development and Networking

Awarded to three teaching pairs, funds will go toward attendance at the National Project Lead the Way Summit in San Diego, Calif., providing educators with insights and updates on project-based learning. Grant funds of $2,981 were awarded to to Terry Rowe and Andy Seward of Zionsville Middle School; $2,799 was awarded to Michael DeLand and Michael Murphy of Zionsville West Middle School; and Jason Donkersloot and Gary Werner of ZCHS and Zionsville Middle School, respectively, earned $3,000.