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December 24, 2010 > Santa gives teachers money for students

Santa gives teachers money for students

Submitted By Rick La Plante

Santa Claus made his annual tour of the New Haven Unified School District on December 15, giving out nearly $6,000 worth of classroom grants from the New Haven Schools Foundation's "Innovations in Education" program for special projects that promote learning.

The Foundation, in the sixth year of its classroom grant program, received applications this year for 26 projects representing the efforts of 29 educators, from kindergarten through high school. Requests were accepted for up to $500, and the District's Health Education and Resource Team (HEART) accepted applications for grants of up to $200 for projects promoting a healthy lifestyle.

A total of 16 projects were selected, involving 17 educators. They received their awards as Santa and his "elves" - including New Haven Superintendent Kari McVeigh, Foundation Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle, Foundation President Cindy O'Brien and others- toured the schools to surprise the winners in front of their students.

Cathy Schoon, who teaches kindergarten at Pioneer Elementary School, became the first teacher in the history of the program to win two awards in a single year. She received $498.70 from the Foundation for her "Mobile Listening Center" project and $200 from HEART for "Growing a Vegetable Garden in Kindergarten."

The Foundation funded 12 projects, HEART funded two, Fremont Bank funded one, and longtime Foundation member Art Kuhlmann and his wife, Cheryl, funded the other.

With these awards, a total of 99 New Haven educators have received more than $36,000 for projects that directly impact instruction since the program was started during the 2005-06 school year.

This year's recipients and their schools and projects:

Foundation awards: Lynne DeForest (Pioneer Elementary, Grade 3) "Smoothing the Way for Struggling Readers" ($449.37); Kathy Frye (Kitayama Elementary, Grades 3-4) "Flipping Out Over Learning: Flip Video Cameras" ($384.95); Linda Gong (Cesar Chavez Middle, Food/Textiles) "Transforming Teaching of Foods/Textile Design" ($500); Bill Herbert (Pioneer Elementary, Grades 4-5) "Pioneer Pathways News Magazine" ($500); Sue Hinojosa and Charley Johnson (James Logan High, Chemistry) "Chem Matters Reading Apprentice Program" ($493.50); Mark Jones (James Logan High, Physical Education) "Heart Rate Monitors & Target Heartzone Rates" ($386); Jacqueline Keily (Cabello Community Day School) "CSI Cabello" ($500); Beth Morris-Wong (Hillview Crest Elementary, Media Center) "Motivating & Instructing Students With Flip Video Cameras" ($324); Cathy Schoon (Pioneer Elementary, Kindergarten) "Mobile Listening Center" ($498.70); Alisha Valine (Alvarado Elementary, Media Center) "Reading for a Healthy Me!" ($200); Jennifer Vera (Eastin Elementary, Kindergarten) "Literacy Boost Video Camera" ($158.45); Renee Whitworth (Conley-Caraballo High, Multicultural Art & Literature) "Sustainable Communities: Word Savvy's Media & Arts Program" ($350).

HEART awards: Colleen Hazlett (Alvarado Middle, Physical Education) "Presidential Physical Fitness Test Awards" ($200); Cathy Schoon (Pioneer Elementary, Kindergarten) "Growing a Vegetable Garden in Kindergarten" ($200).

Fremont Bank award: Amy McNamara (James Logan High, Principal) "AP Student Scholarship Fund" ($500).

Art and Cheryl Kuhlmann award: Jorge Maldonado and Lauren Read (Hillview Crest Elementary, Physical Education) "Trees of Peace" ($145.90).

Anyone interested in sponsoring classroom grants or contributing to any of the Foundation's other programs - including college scholarships and co-curricular and extra-curricular support - can contact Executive Director Barbara Aro-Valle by phone (510) 471-3850 or e-mail New Haven employees can contribute to the Foundation through payroll deductions by contacting Rick La Plante (510) 476-2610 or

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