Tribune-Star Staff Report - November 16, 2022
The Vigo County Education Foundation and Ivy Tech Foundation have received a gift for a collaborative funding initiative to support educational advancement opportunities for Vigo County School Corp. students.
Alpa Patel and Thomas Yeagley provided a $10,000 gift, which through this initiative will help students to have the opportunity for a seamless transition from high school to a post-secondary institution.
Jane Nichols, who serves as the executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation, praised this partnership for its non-competitive nature.
“We live in a very giving community, and our organizations share many donors, like Alpa and Tom. This partnership allows those passionate about student success to support both organizations simultaneously,” Nichols said in a news release.
Ivy Tech Community College currently offers free dual-credit courses in all the Vigo County high schools so students can earn college credits early. Dual-credit courses allow high school students the opportunity to earn a certificate or technical certificate and get a jump start on completing their associate degree at Ivy Tech or transfer their credits to a four-year institution.
Ivy Tech has transfer agreements with many Indiana colleges, allowing students who earn their associate degree at Ivy Tech the option to transfer as a sophomore or junior to many Indiana colleges.
Donations will be pooled each spring, and a committee comprised of members from both organizations and the Vigo County School Corp. will annually review and evaluate funding requests. Including the gift from Patel and Yeagley, more than $30,000 has been given in support of this partnership thus far.
To learn more or to support this initiative, contact Nichols at the Vigo County Education Foundation at vigocountyeducationfoundation.org or Rachel Mullinnix at the Ivy Tech Foundation at giving.ivytech.edu/terrehaute.
Franklin third-graders' artworks inspired by Caldecott Award-winning books by Sue Loughlin Tribune-Star March 25, 2022
Franklin Elementary third-grader Ricky Neidhamer drew inspiration for his artwork from a book about a man who took care of Aleppo’s abandoned cats in the midst of the Syrian civil war.
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza His page of inspiration: Franklin Elementary School third-grader Ricky Neidhamer finds the page in the book, ““The Cat Man of Aleppo,” that inspired him to create a ceramic sculpture of a white dove on Thursday in the school’s library as part of the “Caldecott Art Show.”
JOSEPH C. GARZAThe book, called “The Cat Man of Aleppo” and based on a true story, includes pictures of doves flying in a beautiful blue sky. That prompted Neidhamer to make a ceramic sculpture featuring a white dove with wings spread wide in flight.
He chose the flying dove for his art because, “It’s pretty,” he explained.
Now, that art — and those of all Franklin third-graders — are on display in the school library as part of the “Caldecott Art Show.”
The project received a grant from the Vigo County Education Foundation and is a collaboration between media specialist Amber Wigington and art teacher Jana Weeks. The grant allowed Wigington to purchase a number of Caldecott award-winning books, while Weeks was able to purchase additional glazes, which can be expensive.
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Franklin Elementary School art teacher Jana Weeks.
JOSEPH C. GARZAWigington describes to children what it means to win a Caldecott award as each book is read to the classes, and then the children have an opportunity to create a favorite character from the book; the children model the clay into their artistic pieces, which are fired in a kiln. Then, they apply a glaze and write an artist’s statement.
“They get the whole feeling of being a professional artist,” Weeks said. “This is a sensational project. It inspires them.”
It’s the fourth year for the program, and it creates special memories for the children. “They are very proud of their work,” Wigington said.
The Caldecott awards honor artists of the most distinguished American picture books for children.
Another student, Elexcia Flowers, chose to make a ceramic piece of a frog in lake. The inspiration was a picture book called “Tuesday,” in which frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep, according to one description. The book also featured floating pigs.
“My favorite animal is a frog and I thought it would be challenging for me to make,” Flowers said.
Third-grader Mason Tingley captured a night sky full of colorful stars in his artwork based on the book, “Many Moons,” about a princess who becomes ill, and only one thing will make her better: the moon.
He chose the subject from a page in the book because, “It looks beautiful,” Tingley said.
Addyson Steele chose the book “Finders Keepers,” and her sculpture depicts two dogs who decided to share a bone after they originally had fought over it.
“We got to shape the clay however we wanted” and get creative with details, Steele said. “After we saw the results, I really loved it.”
Tribune-Star/Joseph C. Garza Jane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation.
JOSEPH C. GARZAJane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation, said of the program, “I love the collaborative effort between the art teacher and media specialist. I love how they are bringing beautiful artwork and illustrations into the students’ lives and letting them create,” and at the same time, encouraging the joy of reading.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at firstname.lastname@example.org Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.
Read the full article with pictures here
By Sue Loughlin Tribune-Star December 3, 2021
The Vigo County Education Foundation awarded school-wide grants totaling more than $26,000 to 11 schools Friday during a Business and Bagels session at Sarah Scott Middle School.
Katrina Doty, counselor at Davis Park Elementary, told those attending how much the grants mean.
“It’s no secret these are very difficult times in education. Your support … during a time when the court of public opinion is a pretty tricky thing right now — means the world. Your generosity allows us to do what we love, which is teaching, caring for and inspiring kids,” Doty said.
She brought therapy dog Tucker with her as she talked about what Davis Park is doing with its school-wide funds. “Tucker is usually the real star” when they’re together in public, she quipped.
The school-wide grants could potentially impact more than 5,100 students, or about 38% of the VCSC student population, said Jane Nichols, foundation executive director.
The funds will help support STEM activities, after-school programs and incentives to encourage good attendance or behavior. The programs aim to meet the needs of children and “get them to school, get them to want to be in school, helping them academically and emotionally and really trying to enrich the child’s entire school experience,” Nichols said.
Because of the pandemic, it was the first in-person session of Business and Bagels in about two years. “It’s so exciting to be here in person and have the energy and the connection,” Nichols said. Those attending included donors, business representatives, principals, teachers, administrators and other nonprofit representatives.
School-wide grants are awards generally between $1,000 and $3,000 given for programs which impact students throughout the entire school.
At Davis Park, the school’s FUNdamental grant will be used for many things, including programs to address the impact of COVID. The school has brought back clubs for art, music and coding “to address their mental health,” Doty said. With Chromebooks, students can participate even if they must be at home, such as during quarantine.
“We can Google Meet them during the club,” she said.
Part of the grant is also used to help motivate students for ILEARN and IREAD testing.
The school also has a “Reading to Tucker” program, and grant funds will be used to purchase stickers that say, “I read to Tucker today,” or “Reading is golden with a doodle.”
In addition, funds will support the school’s Purple at the Park program, which rewards students for being safe, responsible and respectful, Doty said.
At Franklin Elementary, the grant “will help us keep our book vending machine filled with brand new books,” said Principal Tina Horrall. Children receive tokens for everything from grades to improved behavior and good attendance.
“They are thrilled to have a new book,” she said.
At Meadows Elementary, the grant will be used for after-school enrichment that includes reading and writing clubs, a Purdue extension STEM club and cooking clubs.
At Terre Town Elementary, the grant is being used for morning “STEM-ulation” kits, which enable children to work with simple levers, gears or circuits.
They do the activities during breakfast. “It encourages students to want to come to school, play with friends and learn and explore,” said Sharon Manley, Terre Town assistant principal. “It wakes their brains up as they explore these topics and scientific approaches.”
At Farrington Grove, funds will be used to improve social skills, which suffered during disruptions caused by COVID, said Principal Jennifer Norris. “They don’t remember how to be together in a positive and productive way,” she said. “We encourage students to become the best version of themselves.”
The school is encouraging students to be safe, respectful and responsible, and one way is to reward them with “Tiger” tickets that can be used for items in a school store or for such experiences as extra recess, pizza with the dean and cookies with the counselor.
During the Friday’s event, the foundation honored longstanding supporters, SMC Inc. and the Hollie and Anna Oakley Foundation.
Business and Bagels was sponsored by Engage Mentoring: Project Lead for Women and Alex Allen-Hodge and Ron Hodge.
Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or at email@example.com Follow Sue on Twitter @TribStarSue.
'Amazing' what great teachers can do with $750, director says
By Sue Loughlin, Tribune-Star
Projects that teach students about Terre Haute history, encourage enthusiasm for reading and foster a love of the sciences are among those awarded grants from the Vigo County Education Foundation.
VCEF awarded 90 mini-grants totaling $54,062 for classroom enrichment opportunities in Vigo County School Corp. schools. The awards were announced Thursday during a FaceBook Live presentation, a format used because of COVID-19 precautions. Read more
“The Solution Squad,” a STEM club at Farrington Grove Elementary, received a Vigo County Education Foundation mini-grant. The program will operate a little differently this year, with COVID-19 protocols in place.
Farrington Grove Elementary students eagerly eyed the items they hope to be able to “purchase” at the Tiger Attendance Store through points they earn each day by going to school.
The items included balls of every kind, backpacks, notebooks, school glue, books and even a virtual reality headset. Students will have to save up for that last one, which is 100 points.
Third-grader Jameson McCracken would like to go for the virtual reality headset, or maybe a remote control car, which is only 30 points. Asked if the stores encourages kids to go to school, he responded, “Pretty much.”
The school was one of 19 to benefit from school-wide grants given out by the Vigo County Education Foundation Friday morning during a Business and Bagels program at Riley Elementary.
The grants ranged form $1,000 to $3,000, and nearly $40,000 was distributed, said Jane Nichols, foundation executive director.
The programs could potentially impact more than 8,700 students, or about 9% of the VCSC student population.
The projects cover nearly every curriculum content area, she said.
“We have school-wide theatrical programs, language arts programs and Ben Franklin Elementary has an audio book program,” Nichols said.
Riley Elementary has a literacy project called, “When Food and Fiction Collide,” based on an author — Terry Border — who creates characters based on food items. Later in the school year, students will create their own characters using food items and other objects, and they’ll write their own stories.
Honey Creek Middle School and Terre Haute North Vigo will use grants for makerspace projects. At North, a makerspace in the media center will give all students access to advanced technology, including a 3D printer and green screen technology.
Makerspaces are areas where students go to explore, build, create and tinker.
“It gives students opportunities to do more out-of-the-box thinking, collaborative projects and hands-on learning,” Nichols said.
The grants allow schools “to do projects they wouldn’t be able to do without foundation funding,” she said.
It’s also a year of celebration for the foundation, with 2019-20 representing the 35th year it has been awarding grants and enriching learning opportunities for Vigo County students. “At the end of this fiscal year, by June, we will have granted $3 million back to our Vigo County schools since 1984,” Nichols said.
Read more Here.
Education Foundation funds make dynamic impact again
Tribune Star Editorial Board
Helping to provide rich educational experiences and opportunities for public school students is a primary goal of the Vigo County Education Foundation.
The organization certainly has good reason to feel it achieved, or even surpassed, that goal this year.
Last week, the Foundation presented dozens of financial grants to teachers in the Vigo County School Corp. for enrichment projects in their classrooms. But the big news was the record-breaking total of all grants offered.
In all, the Foundation awarded 155 grants totaling $91,353. Among the teacher-requested grants, 63 are for new projects this school year.
With all the financial struggles facing school districts in Indiana, the presence of a strong and engaged Education Foundation is giving creative teachers in Vigo County a boost when it comes to finding new ways to reach and engage their students.
The funds are touching a wide swatch of the student population. Each grant is for $750 or less, so $91,353 goes a long way. Education Foundation Executive Director Jane Nichols says that's the beauty of the grant program and "it is amazing to see what great teachers are able to accomplish with that amount of money."
In its 35 year existence, the Education Foundation has granted more than $2 million to schools and programs. Those funds and the creative instruction that accompanies them make an enormous and lasting impact on students. That the organization can continue to award such grants year in and year out, and even see those contributions grow, is a testament to the value and faith people place in it.
We applaud the Education Foundation for its work and all the educators who take advantage of the teaching opportunities it presents.
See the article Here.
Foundation awards $91K to help great teachers
Third-graders at Fuqua Elementary have an opportunity to enhance their STEM skills and enjoy positive classroom culture each day thanks to a grant in memory of a Terre Haute South Vigo High School student.
“Building Good Character through Morning Meetings and STEM” is a project of Leslie Yocum and Jessyka West. A grant for that project was among dozens presented Wednesday afternoon by the Vigo County Education Foundation at Sarah Scott Middle School.
In a record amount of giving, the foundation awarded 155 grants totaling $91,353 to teachers for classroom enrichment opportunities. Of the 150 teacher-requested grants, 63 are new projects.
“I think it is indicative of teachers’ attempts to reach and engage students in different and creative ways,” said Jane Nichols, executive director of the Vigo County Education Foundation.
“All of these mini-grants are made for $750 or less, and it is amazing to see what great teachers are able to accomplish with that amount of money,” Nichols said.
The Building Good Character project at Fuqua received the Travis J. Smith Memorial Mini Grant, which focuses on at-risk students and character development.
Tami and Jimmy Smith presented the award in memory of their son Travis, who was killed in an automobile accident during his freshman year at Ball State University.
A South Vigo graduate, Travis was a four-year member of the golf team and played varsity basketball. He was a long-time member of Terre Haute Boys & Girls Club, where he developed compassionate concern for children who were less fortunate.
Teacher Jessyka West said the Morning Meetings are being used to transition students into the school day as the children learn to greet each other kindly and develop social skills.
“We noticed a lot of students come to school and they really need some transition time before their brains were ready to start learning,” West said after accepting the check of about $450 to purchase a variety of hands-on items such as blocks, Legos, dominoes and connective toys.
“We started doing some STEM activities on our own last year and noticed that it really helps start the day,” West said.
She and Yocum also read about Morning Meetings and thought they could use both concepts to start off the day positively for the students.
Read more Here.
The Vigo County Education Foundation is a nonprofit, volunteer-based organization committed to providing programs and projects that enhance and enrich public education.
For 35 years, the foundation has connected private dollars with public schools through community support from both businesses and individuals.
The VCEF is once again providing transportation funding for the summer enrichment and remediation program for students, which includes Math Magic/Writing Wonders and IREAD3.
These programs help children improve their reading and writing skills as well as learn problem-solving strategies to help them become proficient in math. Children from all 18 elementary schools and five middle schools attend these programs hosted at Woodrow Wilson Middle School.
Throughout the academic year, the VCEF also funds transportation for numerous field trips: a special concert performed by the Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra for fourth-graders, Fowler Park Pioneer Days for all second-graders and transportation and admission fees for all first-graders to the Terre Haute Children’s Museum. The foundation also provides academic team competition support and is an active participant in the burgeoning Career Technology Education Department.
Last year, over $240,000 in grants were awarded across all curriculum content areas. These grants provide a multitude of hands-on learning experiences in math, science, literacy and the arts, as well as support programs that encourage good attendance and family involvement.
The VCEF is able to do this with the help of individual and corporate gifts, grants and fundraising events. Their largest fundraiser, the annual “Fore” the Kids Golf Scramble, is slated for July 26 at Rea Park. This event always sells out, so early registration is encouraged.
For more information about events or the Vigo County Education Foundation and its mission, visit vigocounty educationfoundation.org. People can also contact Jane Nichols, executive director, at 812-462-4077. “Like” them on Facebook and follow on Twitter @TheVCEF and Instagram @vcef2018. Read more.
Garrett Thomas and other elementary students used pizza boxes, plastic, black paper and aluminum foil to construct “solar ovens” that they placed on the sidewalk, in sunshine, near the Woodrow Wilson Middle School entrance.
Perhaps the best part of the science project was eating the final product — melted s’mores. Earlier in the day, the students in Lindsey Coons’ writing class used the science experiment for a writing project.
“The plastic traps all the heat in ... so it can melt the chocolate,” and the black paper “absorbs the heat,” said Thomas, who will be in fourthgrade next school year. About 15 minutes later, the chocolate melted, he and other students enjoyed their edible creation.
“I’m going to try this at home,” he said Wednesday.
Thomas is one of about 500 Vigo County School Corp. students in grades 2-12 participating in a variety of summer school programs taking place at Woodrow Wilson.
They include reading/writing and math enrichment programs for grades 3-8, called Math Magic and Reading/Writing Wonders; a foundational literacy program for second and third graders; and a high school Performing Arts Workshop. Read more.