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The teachers and specialists in Provo City School District are our innovators. They are innovators, they are companions and caretakers, and they are the brick and mortar that founds learning in our community. The Provo City School District Foundation wants to recognize and support their efforts to make our schools a better place.

Each year, the Foundation awards ten mini-grants to a few of the many deserving district teachers. To receive the grant, teachers must submit a two-page application detailing their concept for an innovative project to use in their classroom or school to be considered. After receiving the completed application, the Provo School District Foundation Selection Committee picks the mini-grant recipients for the year.

Congratulations to this year’s Mini-Grant Winners, and thank you for everything you do to create innovative experiences for our students!

Kayla Spurlock, Music Specialist, Franklin Elementary

  • Project: Franklin Singing: Recording Experiences with Professional Equipment.

Kayla Spurlock is upgrading their recording equipment. Students will use professional equipment on real-world recording projects– like creating a shareable music video for parents. With new mics, headphones, and audio interfaces, students can also practice real music production and improve their performances through better audio playback.

Tierra Wakefield, Elementary Teacher, Timpanogos Elementary

  • Project: Helping Regulate Young Students With Trauma to Allow Them Access to Learning.

Students with trauma are stuck in states of fight or flight that affect their learning ability. Tierra plans to incorporate activities involving rhythm, movement, dance, and nature into transitions and brain break times to aid students with trauma to self-regulate emotion. With rhythm sticks, hand drums, dance scarves, hand shakers, and handbells, students who’ve experienced trauma can learn to manage their emotional responses with movement and free themselves to learn again.

Melissa Lopez Kennedy, SPED Team Lead, Dixon Middle School

  • Project: Sensory Area and Sensory Materials.

Melissa will use tactile media, lights, and sensory pea-pods to design an area for students with disabilities and sensory needs to de-escalate. A space to de-escalate will lessen stress from students with sensory needs and increase their ability to learn.

Mylee Reid, Reading and Learning Strategies Teacher, Dixon Middle School

  • Project: Increase Reading Levels Through Interest at Dixon.

Mylee is investing in texts to excite and draw students towards reading, such as graphic novels, award-winning novels, and magazines. Through gallery walks, book talks, and folder reports, students will expand their reading tastes, read more deeply and more often, and subsequently increase their reading levels.

4th Grade Team, Westridge Elementary

  • Project: The Wax Museum.

Westridge’s 4th-grade teachers are spending the grant to host a wax museum, in which students will choose a scientist or engineer to research and report on. Students will work through a research project, a peer-reviewed paper, a poster with pictures, and then dress as their chosen scientist or engineer to present their project to students and family members.

Lauri Driggs, Music Teacher, Provost Elementary

  • Project: Innovative Ways to Connect Music to Speech.

Lauri will use the money on musical mini-keyboards so students can spend time connecting language pitch to musical pitch on the keyboards. Through a commitment to integrating musical elements into a wide variety of academic subjects (specifically language development and speech), Lauri seeks to engage students who struggle with language acquisition.

Anna Lea Cannon, Elementary Teacher, Provost Elementary

  • Project: Knot another Knew Homophone and Other Silly Tails!

Anna will have their students look for examples of homophones after a unit on homophones and write, illustrate, and print silly stories based on the changed meanings of the homophones. The printed books will go to each 2nd-grade class and the Provost Library. Additional funds will then purchase books for each 2nd-grade student who participated in the writing and illustrating process.

Audrey Jepson, Elementary Teacher, Provost Elementary

  • Project: Learn by Listening.

Audrey is building a listening library of multicultural audio texts and resources in English and Spanish. The audio texts and resources will offer more texts and language support for their bilingual students, more accurately represent student’s various races and cultures, better address needed behavior or emotional issues through the representative texts, and raise multicultural awareness.

Julieanne Rensink, Music Teacher, Wasatch Elementary

  • Project: Multicultural Music Resources.

Julieanne will purchase picture books and biographies featuring multicultural composers and musicians to diversify the content taught to students, allowing students to see themselves in what is taught. Julieanne will also complement readings by asking students to listen and analyze music from the corresponding multicultural composers in the newly acquired books.

Sarah Combs, SPED Teacher, Sunset View Elementary

  • Project: Printer to Increase Individualized Instruction.

Sarah required a printer, as she and other teachers had to travel from their portables into the building to get printed items. That process made printing IEP and differentiated coursework that is often needed on the fly difficult. Any coursework that she would need is now available for her and other teachers on-site.

David Barnet, Technology and Robotics Teacher, Centennial Middle School

  • Project: Equipment to Expand E-Sports Program

David’s grant will aid in expanding the current E-Sports club with additional controllers and additions to their game library. Growing the club also extends an opportunity for students from a wide-ranging demographic to come together, develop their technological skills, make friends, create a positive connection with their school, and learn social skills in a safe environment.  

Kasey Cannon, English Teacher, Timpview High School

Kacey Cannon is using the funds to purchase diverse books.  These books will be useful for her AP class.  She wants her students to have access to more diverse texts so that they can succeed as well as become better, more informed members of the community. She also want minority students to be able to see themselves in the literature they read.

Spencer Tuinei
  • Communication Specialist
  • Spencer Tuinei

Every year, Franklin Elementary invites students, staff, and parents to bring their cultures into...