Summit County educators receive grants from GAR Foundation for classroom-based projects

May 28, 2020

GAR Foundation awarded $350,000 in funding to 32 teams of educators through its annual Educator Initiative Grant program. The EIG program offers grants to K-12 educators in Summit County’s public and nonprofit private schools who present classroom innovations to support student success.

“We saw an influx of requests around social-emotional learning, digital tools, and high-quality professional development,” said Kirstin Toth, senior vice president of GAR Foundation. “We’re thrilled to support a variety of innovative projects throughout Summit County that prepare students for college and career.”

Bridges Learning Center received funding for a trauma-informed instructional program called It’s All the RAGE! (Regulation: Access to Growing Emotionally). The school-wide program is designed to empower both student and staff wellness by embedding therapeutic input into practical lesson planning across all grade levels and content areas.

“We’re reminded of a quote by Maya Angelou, who said, “When you know better, you do better,” said Kristy Yurichak, occupational therapist at Bridges Learning Center. “There is an urgent need to understand the neurodevelopmental aspects of trauma. We have a desire to do the best job we can for our students.”

The program builds on existing trauma-informed strategies with the goal of strengthening student self-regulation and social-emotional intelligence to close the achievement gap between students at Bridges Learning Center and their neurotypical peers.

In other grants, Springfield High School and Junior High was awarded funding for A Pixar is Worth a Thousand Words: Developing Student Literacy Through Animation. Students will build animated stories to visualize the importance of key elements in the development of literature, while growing socially and emotionally by building relationships with peers and professionals through production of stop-motion animated films.

More than $4.9 million has been deployed into local classrooms since the inception of the Educator Initiative Grant program in 2004.

“We know that school will look differently in the fall given the disruption caused by the pandemic, said Lucille Esposito, Educator Initative Grant program manager at GAR Foundation. “We see this grant program as not only continuing to add value, but perhaps more so than ever before as schools begin to redesign teaching and learning methods and approaches.”

In a recent message to local educators, the Foundation announced the GAR Educator Conference will begin to take place every other year and will resume in Fall, 2021. The free conference brings together K-12 educators to uplift innovative strategies for student engagement and success.

The schools and projects receiving support include:

  • Akron Early College High School, Building Scholars through Cooperative Learning, $10,000
  • Archbishop Hoban High School, Akron Youth Innovation Series, $1,820
  • Arrowhead Primary School, Rooted in Concern: A Citizen Scientist Project, $5,000
  • Barberton High School, Nebula Media: A Brighter Future, $14,960
  • Bath Elementary School, The Growing Space, $15,000
  • Bridges Learning Center, It’s All the RAGE! Regulation: Access to Growing Emotionally, $13,390
  • Coventry Elementary School, Project Reading Readiness: Improving Student Achievement by Connecting Students to Nature at Coventry Elementary School, $15,000
  • Cuyahoga Falls High School, Be Present Be Prepared: Addressing Chronic Absenteeism Through Enriching STEM in the Classroom, $15,000
  • Cuyahoga Falls High School, Exploring Our World (NOT) Around Us – Part 2, $15,000
  • DeWitt Elementary School, Math and Movement, Incorporating number play into physical education and movement into math class., $4,620
  • East CLC, “Oh, the Places We’ll Go”, $14,000
  • East Woods Intermediate School, Packing Our Social Emotional Toolbox Through Habitat Planning, $15,000
  • Ellet CLC, S.T.E.A.M. Café & Innovation Lab, $14,880
  • Evamere Elementary School, Beyond a Hike in the Woods- Forest Friday Kindergarten…Everyday! , $5,050
  • Gordon DeWitt Elementary School, The Write Stuff: Year Two in the Discovery Zone! $14,980
  • Hudson High School, Lenses of Sustainability, $15,000
  • Kimpton Middle School – Stow-Munroe Falls High School, SEL and VR: A Balanced Approach, $4,000
  • Manchester High School, Making Composting as Common as Dirt in School Recycling Programs, $8,600
  • North High School, United by Our Stories: Honoring the Cultural Tapestry of Akron, $8,400
  • Our Lady of the Elms School, Elms Farm 2.0, $10,630
  • Our Lady of the Elms School, Exploring Historical Akron using the Soap Box Derby, $10,290
  • R. B. Chamberlin Middle School, Cardio-Connect:  Teaching students that Heart Rate Zone Training Boosts Brain Readiness, $9,070
  • Richardson Elementary School, Building Our Best Self from the Inside Out, $8,450
  • Saint Joseph Parish School, Building Community through Coding and Real World Problem Solving, $14,990
  • Sam Salem CLC, Honey Bees – The Great Pollinators of The World, $5,000
  • Springfield High School and Junior High, A Pixar is Worth a Thousand Words: Developing Student Literacy Through Animation, $9,990
  • St. Barnabas School, “W.O.W., Watching Our Watersheds”, $5,670
  • St. Barnabas School, 21st Century Critical Thinking, $13,550
  • St. Barnabas School, Embracing Cultural Diversity: Using Music to Expand the Mind, $14,820
  • St. Barnabas School, Next Edition 2.0, $12,840
  • St. Barnabas School, Reduce our Waste Project, $10,000
  • St. Vincent St. Mary High School, Clean Food, Clear Mind: Creating a Lifelong Habit of Health, $15,000

For more information about the Educator Initiative Grant program, contact Lucille Esposito, EIG program manager, at espolucille@gmail.com or 330-550-6661.