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The teachers and specialists in Provo City School District are our innovators. They are innovators, companions, and caretakers. The Provo City School District Foundation wants to recognize and support their efforts to make our schools a better place.

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

It is a process that many teachers go through to enrich the education of their students.

This year, we are speaking to a few teachers who have received mini-grants to ask them about their classroom’s perceived need, their mini-grant product, the classroom impact of their mini-grant, and lastly, advice for new and struggling teachers on how they can differentiate and extend learning in their classrooms.

We spoke with Timpview High Librarian Marianne Kraczek about her High School Book Club. Through programs like Battle of the Books, students have many opportunities to express a passion for reading in elementary and middle school. But those opportunities often dry up once they hit High School. That’s where her mini-grant application comes in; with the small grant, the students can pick the latest books for a student book club, and stay on the edge of their seats each week as they come together to discuss the books as a community. Read our conversation below to learn more about the effect of his mini-grant and advice for other new teachers looking to extend or differentiate learning in their classrooms.


Q: What did you receive your mini-grant for?

A: I requested a mini-grant for sets of books for our high school book clubs. I have this book club that isn’t huge– about 10 kids at any time– who are voracious readers. I have this problem where there aren’t as many programs as there have been for students to do things like Battle of the Books. And these students come to me and tell me, “I just want a good book club where we all read the same book, and get together to talk about it.” And when I started looking into it, I couldn’t find books they hadn’t already read. So I wanted brand new titles– things that have come out in the last year or so. And I wanted them to have a say.

Q: What are some of the books chosen?

A: We’re about four books in so far. There’s a big whiteboard where they brainstorm all of the books they want to read. We’ve done Mona Lisa Vanished, the new Annie Condie one: the only girl in town. The students are excited about the new Brandon Sanderson book, Tress of the Emerald Sea. 

Q: Are you keeping the books in the book club after you are done with them?

A: We contacted Centennial to get these books in their school library when our book club is through with them. We plan to share these books with the other high schools for their book clubs, English classes at Timpview that want to have a book club in class, and also the middle schools when the books are appropriate for that grade level. 

Q: Is there anything else you would like to share about the program?

A: Actually, we just had a big development. We started an online Book Club on Canvas. By having an online version we have added new members who don’t have time to meet in person after school or during lunch but want to read with us. The Canvas version uses discussion boards to talk about the books. A couple of students came up with this idea and it’s still very new but I see it allowing us to have greater outreach. 

Alexander Glaves
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  • Alexander Glaves