Dysart Education Foundation Supports Teachers

Mini-grants support innovative learning experiences for Dysart students

Laird Teacher Mini-Grant Program

The Dysart Education Foundation is proud to announce the Laird Teacher Mini Grants program is now open for our 2023-24 cycle of  classroom grants for Dysart teachers. The grant cycle will close October 20, 2023 and grantees announced by end of October. See below for information about previous recipients of the Dysart Education Foundation mini-grants.

Any current Dysart teacher or group of teachers may apply for funds. The primary applicant should be the individual with the primary responsibility for executing the project and reporting the results to the Foundation Board. 

Dysart Education Foundation mini-grants will be awarded for up to $2000 each and may involve one class or any combination of students and teachers. To be accepted, the grant applications must be approved by the teacher and the school principal. The Dysart Unified District Office will review each grant to ensure compatibility with district goals and curricula. 

Grant applications must be generated using the approved application form. The review panel will select awards based on originality, professionalism, established need, benefits to students, student involvement, appropriate age level, and budget details. Each category is equally important. Recipients must submit a brief written report on their project to the DEF president within 30 days of the completion of the school year. Failure to submit a report within the time limit could result in loss of future mini-grant awards.

About Billie Laird

2023 Laird Teacher Mini Grant Applications

Billie Laird served as President of the Dysart Education Foundation for many years. Her passion to support teachers and provide as many funding opportunities as possible to support classrooms is unparalleled. Upon her retirement in May 2022, DEF Executive Board voted unanimously to rename the mini grant program to be now called the Laird Teacher Mini Grant Program in her honor.

Congratulations to all of our 2021 Mini-Grant Recipients!

Funded by Southwest Foodservice Excellence (SFE),

and City of Surprise Community Outreach Grant.

Arts Grants Funded by Russo Trust

Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2021

Mission Robotics 2021 and BEYOND: Roxanne Lopez, K-8 iExplore, Mountain View Elementary. Samsung tablets to replace outdated equipment will allow students to solve real world problems using robotics as well as compete in upcoming district and possibly state competitions.

Sensory Needs for Exceptional Scholars:Michele Gillespie and Nicole Shelley, Structured Teaching, Dysart Middle School.A variety of grade level appropriate sensory tools will help special needs students learn to the best of their abilities. These students benefit from hands on experiences and without sensory tools, are not able to self-regulate to focus and be engaged in their learning.

Reset Room: Tracy Smith, K-8, Luke Elementary. This request is for items to help create a room/space that can support students who need emotional regulation and coping skills.

Behavior Supports: Ashley Meyer, K-8 Resource, Rancho Gabriela. Materials and equipment purchased will be used in both the resource classroom and the general education classroom to help support students across classroom environments.

Increasing Math Comprehension: Heather Maddox, 7th Grade Math, West Point Elementary. A grade level license for the website IXL will help fill the gaps of 7th grade math students.  IXL meets AZ Standards, is scaffolded by grade level, and can be used at home or at school.

Small Group Intervention Time: Theresa Malone, West Point Elementary. Eight child wobble stools are needed for a small group table to replace chairs that are too big.  The wobble seats allow for fidgeting with limited noise and help some students focus.

Sensory and Flexibility: Sunny Watson, Special Education, Sonoran Heights. Students will have sensory items in a calming area to regulate their minds and bodies, supervised by the teacher to help coach them on calming strategies.

Kindermusik: Niki Trezzo, Kindergarten, El Mirage Elementary. El Mirage kindergarten students are currently participating in weekly Kindermusik classes with a reading teacher.  They are speaking, listening, moving, playing instruments, and developing ideas for writing.  Two additional teacher curriculum sets and instruments will expand the impact of this research-based program.  This will allow classroom teachers to integrate Kindermusik songs and activities into students’ daily routines, maximizing language skills and social development.

Reinvest in Sound Quality: Kurwin Forrest, Band, Shadow Ridge High School. Funds will be used to upgrade mouthpieces for student instruments. This will allow students greater flexibility in sound production over mass produced mouth pieces that come with student line instruments.

Replace Keyboards: Nicole Truitt, Music, West Point Elementary. Seven keyboards that have missing or broken keys, having been used by thousands of students over the years, will be replaced along with 22 headphones.

Microphones and Sound Editing Website: Heather Featherstone, Music, Mountain View Elementary. Special microphones and a website license will provide student the opportunity to research their topic, write a script, and create advertisements to “support their podcast”.  Students will use Soundtrap to record their podcast and edit the recording.

Flip It Into Shape In Music: Taylor Ingro, Music, El Mirage Elementary. FlipFORMS can easily be changed  to  a flat platform, tiered seating, risers, or room dividers. FlipFORMs work separately or can be pushed together to create a stage for performers and also roll out of the way.  This new furniture will be used every day as flexible seating in music class or on stage during a performance.

Paper and Paper Cutter: Sara Mendoza, Art, Rancho Gabriela. Funds will be used to replace a broken paper cutter that can be used by the art teacher to prepare art projects.

Flute Air Training From Beginners to Pros: Reagan Hofeling, Band, Mountain View Elementary. Purchase of a Pneumo Pro will provide a visual aid for flute students to see exactly where to direct their air. Improving the embouchure and air direction of beginning flute players to improve overall tone will ultimately increase student interest and retention in the music program.

 Guitar Heroes: Diana Richardson, Music, Surprise Elementary. Additional guitars, to be used in grades 5-8, will result in an increase in the number of students who are able to learn fundamentals and take the guitar as an elective this year and in years to come.

Paradise in Music Desert: Freddy Bedolla, Music, Riverview Elementary. Students will be utilizing ukuleles, silver bells, and pan flutes and learning about instruments from around the world to create and play melodies during class, for school sponsored programs, for district sponsored events, and community activities.


Mini-Grant Awards Spring 2021

Kindermusik  Molly Davis, Grades K-8 Reading, El Mirage Elementary. Music is magical! I plan to use the power of music to help ELD Kindergarten and 1st grade students at El Mirage Elementary learn a new language in the most productive and fun way possible. Students will participate in weekly 30 minute Kindermusik classes at school. Kindermusik® is a research-based curriculum focused on language, literacy, and social skills development that is built around music. Students’ families will receive online access to download the songs and storybook each month. Families will be able to sing and read with their children at home!
Engineers in the Making Christina Tormollan, K-8 iExplore, Luke Elementary. Creating a Makerspace environment. Putting powerful technology into the hands of our students. Makerspaces allow students to focus on an idea or problem. Express themselves and collaborate. Expression and collaboration are critical skills to have in business. Makerspaces are an excellent way for students to learn how to share their ideas and get feedback.
“Souper” Swag Sacks Andrea Zunigha, Social Worker, Kingswood Elementary. Covid has impacted many families at our school. Families have members who are sick with Covid, who have lost jobs or have had hours reduced and have had a hard time paying bills. The district provides free breakfasts and lunch during the school week for students but some students do not have enough to eat over the weekend and/or school breaks. The “Souper” Swag Packs allows students who are hungry and in need to check out backpacks with food for the weekend and then return the backpacks on Monday without embarrassment or other students knowing their needing food.
Phoenix Art Museum Virtual Visits Kristie Crane, Grades K-8 Art, Canyon Ridge School. The Phoenix Art Museum hosts virtual art museum visits and they also provide supplies to do hands-on art activities. This grant would pay the 25$ fee for each class to have an opportunity to see and experience art in a new and unique way.
STEM Free Builds Jean Vogel, 1st Grade, Asante Elementary. To foster students’ creativity and ingenuity, I will provide my students with the ability to explore, build, create, and imagine in a safe and encouraging environment. My students will explore materials including but not limited to: blocks, interlocking plastic disks, magnets, straw connectors, puzzle pieces, pattern blocks, wheels, geoboards, 3D shapes, suction cups, mini legos, and more! I use this time to facilitate their creativity by posing questions about their creations. The possibilities are endless when it comes to things you can build and create in first grade!
Vernier Go Direct Motion Sensor Project Elizabeth Maki and Haley Ruebsamen, Physics, Shadow Ridge High School. In 2019, Arizona adopted a new set of science standards to reflect the evolution of science, and how science is best learned. One of the major changes to the standards was the embedding of science and engineering practices as a core component. To ensure our students are ready for post secondary science field work, we need to provide them with opportunities to use science probe ware that is a staple of college and research labs.


Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2020
Arts Performance Space Refit and Update   Chuck Molette, Grades K-8 PE; Randall Badsgard, Grades K-8 Music, Sunset Hills Elementary. As an Arts Signature School, Sunset Hills is expanding and enhancing performance opportunities for students through a refit and update of the performance space available in their gymnasium. By updating the equipment and modifying the existing infrastructure, they will be able to streamline the processes and practices associated with larger performance events.
Having a GREAT Start on DAY 1-THE RIGHT FIT Jack Broughton II, Grades 5-8 Instrumental Music – Band, Marley Park Elementary. The Wind Instrument Try-Out Kit is designed to help introduce and guide students toward finding the instrument that is the best fit for them. Each set contains plastic real versions of six instrument mouthpieces which will allow a student to have their own set and not encourage cross contamination. They can easily be cleaned in the dishwasher or hot soapy water to disinfect between uses. The success of students on an instrument will depend of success on DAY 1 and getting them on the right instrument. These kits will guide students toward success with the correct fit.
Flip for Band! Jordan Mooney, Grades 9-12 Band, Dysart High. DEF funds will be used to purchase music holders and lyres, called “flip folders”, that attach to the students’ instruments. Currently the DHS band has to memorize every piece of marching band music they play. The flip folders will allow them to spend more time on making music and less time memorizing.
Sing and Play the Global Way Laurel Ruff, Grades K-8 Music, Marley Park Elementary. Students in grades K-8 will engage in learning music in diverse regions of the world, their languages, instrumentation and heritage. Funds will be used to purchase soprano ukuleles, half-size guitars, hand drums, and jingle bell clusters.
Native American Inspired Ceramic RainsticksMario Hiter, Grades 9-12, Shadow Ridge High. Students will study cultural significance of rainsticks around the world as used by Native American Huichol tribe, and African tribes Togo and Pangwe. Students will create their own version of rainsticks using extruded hollow forms with an extruder purchased with the grant funds. Students will design motives and imagery discussed from tribes, while adding their own artistic flair with three-dimensional sculpting and two-dimensional carving.
Performing Arts at West Point Nora Torres, Grades 5– 8 Dance, West Point Elementary. Students are working towards their end of year Theater Production and Dance Recital, at which time they have the opportunity to perform in front of an audience. Funds will be used to purchase a portable stage, wireless headsets, and a soundboard..
Wheels for Willow Matthew Aragon, Grades 9-12 Art, Willow Canyon. Throwing on the wheel is one of the most challenging and rewarding ceramics techniques. An addition of one more pottery wheel to the two already in the classroom will allow students a greater opportunity to learn and master the process.
Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2019
Band Equipment & Sheet Music   Dr. John Hammitt, Band Director, Dysart and Luke Elementaries. Tools for the performance of different styles of music were requested. Luke Elementary currently does not have a drum set, and Dysart Elementary needs a set of mallets for the xylophone and metal bells. In addition, funds to build the band libraries at both schools will allow the students to perform different styles of music and sufficient compositions for one concert of 5th – 8th graders.
Exploring Culture through Ceramic Clay in the Art Room Sara Mendoza, K-8 Art, Rancho Gabriela Elementary. Students in grades K-8 will have the opportunity to work with clay, exploring various cultures and traditions, from creating jewelry inspired by Navajo traditions in kindergarten to carving personal tiki’s in 8th grade, to learn about Polynesian culture and ancient Maori mythology.
Logitech Cameras in the Art Room Suzanne Putman, Art, 4 – 8th Grade, Sunset Hills Elementary. Digital cameras in this art classroom will allow students to learn photography techniques as they also learn fundamental art techniques. Students will have a better understanding of how different types of media are created.
Going Global Rachel Kelley, K-8th Grades, Asante Preparatory Academy. Students will have multiple opportunities, through personalized learning and the Design Thinking Process, to utilize coding and robotics to solve problems. There will be a variety of learning opportunities in the areas of graphic design and media production such as designing logos, marketing products, presenting findings, and creating commercials for products. Funds will be used to purchase 6 Galaxy tablets for this new school.
STC L3 TechnologyMichele Gillespie, Exceptional Services, 3rd to 5th Grades, Dysart Elementary. Four new Chromebooks will be purchased to replace outdated equipment. Special Education students will be able to access curriculum in a modified and differentiated way, building not only academic foundations but also life skills needed in the real world.
6th Grade Science Camp Rebekah Mach, Julia Marshall, Tamarro Washington, 6th Grade, Kingswood Elementary. Seventy seven Kingswood 6th graders will be heading to Chapel Rock in Prescott, AZ to participate in the hands-on application of science in a real world setting. This grant will be used along with other fundraising sources to ensure that all students can afford the trip.
Traveling Maker Space Kathryn Voss, iExplore K-8, Marley Park Elementary. All students at Marley Park will benefit from a traveling project cart and materials that will support the school’s signature program “Young Entrepreneurs”. Materials can be organized on the cart as needed, and will be augmented with recyclable materials from home.
Technology for Art Classroom Brandi Moore, Art, Shadow Ridge High School. Currently, AP students are using their own devices, often small cell phone screens, to do significant research for their required AP Art portfolio pieces. Students in AP Art will especially benefit from access to Chromebooks in this art classroom, and students in other art classes will have access to the new Chromebooks as well.
Science for Preschoolers Lora McFarland, Preschool, Mountain View Elementary. Funds will be used to purchase materials that will encourage collaboration and cooperation to build, create, and discover as preschoolers are introduced to science, art, math, and engineering concepts such as gravity, magnetism, shapes, patterns, heavy/light, and early math skills.
Deaf-Blind Activities Emma Horlick, 9-12th American Sign Language, Willow Canyon High School. Students learning American Sign Language will have the opportunity to learn to read and write Braille letters and numbers.
Learning Through Experience Delbertta A. Smolinski, 4-5th grade, Riverview Elementary. Students in 4th and 5th grades will take an overnight field trip to Lake Pleasant Desert Outdoor Center for hands-on learning that is aligned to the standards in science, social studies, physical activity, art, and workplace skills development. Students will be introduced to problems faced by the park rangers and use their learning to determine solutions that are plausible and practical. Funds provided by DEF will be used to reduce the costs of the trip, especially for families of limited means.
From Seed to Seed Lisa Moberg, K-8th, Sunset Hills Elementary. The Bobcat Garden Club at Sunset Hills allows students in grades K-8 to work together on garden chores, physical fitness, and a mini-lesson. Older students are encouraged to mentor younger students as they participate in garden activities. The Seed Project will teach children the importance of growing plants from seed, nurturing their maturation into flower and fruit, and thus creating seeds as an end result.
Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2018
PE Shoe Loaner Program   Beverly Zwick, K-8 Physical Ed, Dysart Elementary School Research shows that there are many health and academic benefits for students when they are able to participate in physical activity on a regular basis. However, students sometimes attend PE classes without appropriate shoes for various reasons, including that they don’t own the right kind or they have outgrown their shoes. This program will allow them to borrow a pair of shoes to participate in the PE class and exercise safely. Shoes will be disinfected in-between uses.
Design Thinking Using a Makerbot 3D Printer Nichole Perez, K-8 iExplore Program, West Point Elementary Students will redesign teacher supplies such as staplers, etc. by surveying teachers, creating original designs on Tinker Cad software, and use the 3D printer purchased with DEF Grant funds to print a replica of their product. Activities will also include an analysis of the resulting prototype and a marketing campaign for their product.
Little Bits Innovations for iExplore/ MakerSpace Classes Liana Gillespie and Kristin Binazeski, K-8, iExplore Program, Canyon Ridge Elementary Little Bits is an open-source library of electronic modules that allow users to learn electronics via prototypes. Using the DEF funded Little Bits equipment, students will create circuitry and then use their creations in their original projects.
Picture-in-a-Flash Kelly Potter, Teacher for the Visually Impaired, K-12, District Tactile graphics, including tactile pictures, diagrams, maps, and graphs, are images that use raised surfaces so that a blind or visually impaired person can access them through touch rather than sight. While braille is available in the District, tactile graphics are more complex. Using the Picture-in-a-Flash Embosser that will be purchased with DEF funds, a printed image, drawing, or photocopy can be scanned and a raised image will result.
Lighting Up the Theater ClassroomKendra Schroeder, Theater, 9-12, Shadow Ridge High School DEF funds will be used to purchase lighting equipment, including a laptop, necessary for students in theater classes to use in order to explore and learn lighting techniques. Students will learn how to mix color, use the lighting design program to create cues, create a plot, run a show, and focus lights.
Piano Schoologists Diane Richardson, Music 5 – 8 Surprise Elementary School Students will learn to play a self-selected piano piece on purchased keyboards and record themselves multiple times in order to assess their own progress identify areas to work on. In addition to twelve keyboards, the DEF grant will fund keyboard stands and headsets.
Wearing Art Christina Williams, Art, 7-8, Marley Park Elementary Students will have the experience of creating and running a clothing business, including the logo design, company name, prototype of their product, and potential price breakdown. They will also design and dye their fabric as well as cut and sew it to achieve the finished product. Funds will be used to purchase the materials for the wax resist process of fabric dyeing.
Chromebooks in the Art Room Sara Mendoza, Art 3-8, Rancho Gabriela Elementary Five new Chromebooks in this art classroom will allow students internet access to images that can be used to teach fundamental art techniques, processes, and use of tools. Downloaded images can be used as a reference as students begin their own creation. When students study an art style, they will be able to access and study the work of other artists who use that same style.
Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2017
Student-Centered Flexible Seating   Denise Hall, Grade 2, Riverview Elementary Flexible seating that will allow students choices as to where and how they are going to work.
Creating a Sustainable Tortoise Ecosystem Natalie A Moore, Grade 7 Science, Canyon Ridge Elementary An area in the school where students will be able to see and participate in the entire process of energy flow, from composting to plants to feeding tortoises in the tortoise habitat.
Ukuleles in the Music Classroom Chareeze Abarquez, Grade 5-8 General Music, Cimarron Springs Elementary School Funds will be used to purchase a classroom set of ukuleles. Ukuleles provide students an easy venue for composition and the opportunity to learn to play a string instrument.
3D Printing to Enhance Chemistry and Physics Learning Justin Greathouse, Chemistry and Physics, Dysart High School As the beginning of a Maker Space, chemistry students will build polyatomic models using the 3D printer, and physics students will design and engineer their own devices in order to record and calculate data using the laws of physics.
Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2016
Technology and the Music Room Diana Richardson, General Music 5th – 8th, Surprise Elementary Students will utilize online platforms of Google Classroom, Google Drive, and Google Chrome to complete individualized projects that include instruction on the instrument of their choice and creatively designing and sharing their own piece of music.  Funds will be used to purchase headphones, keyboards and stands, and acoustic guitars.
Makerspace Melissa Bowman and Loni Fife, Kinder – 8th, Countryside Elementary Countryside Elementary is transforming its library to include a space for students to gather to create, tinker, invent, explore, and discover using a variety of tools and materials.  A student committee will work to design the space, create the structure and schedule, as well as other tasks.  Funds will be used to purchase materials for the Makerspace area.
Snap Circuits for 1st Grade Alyssa Moon Dyke, Grade 1, Cimarron Springs Funds will purchase Snap Circuits, which enable younger students to learn how basic electronic circuits work through hands-on exploration.  This understanding then transfers to other STEM areas such as electrical engineering and robotics.  Student-directed projects encourage strategic thinking and collaboration.
Coding and Robotics with Dash and Dot Kathryn Berger, K-8, Ashton Ranch Students will work collaboratively in teams to use coding skills to interact with sets of robots Dash and Dot, to be purchased with mini-grant funds.  Students will strengthen 21st century learner skills as they use mobile apps to code robots to complete specific tasks.
Incorporating Advances in Technology and Innovative Materials in Ceramics Jennifer Pulbratek, Art, Grades 9-12, Dysart High School Art students will be aware of current trends in the art world as they incorporate materials purchased with grant funds that are not typically applied in high school ceramics classes, yet are very appropriate and necessary.  Students will be encouraged to experiment, combine materials, and push limits.
Virtual Reality Experience Erin Lynch, Grade 10 World History, Valley Vista High School Students will use their smartphones and purchased Virtual Reality V2 holders to access free Google sites that allow them to move through areas and events as if they were there in person.  Hundreds of free educational videos are available to use with the viewers including many historical topics.  Increased student engagement and achievement is expected to result.
Mini-Grant Awards Spring 2016
Recycled Car       Noelle Downs, Sonoran Heights Elementary, Grade 1 With newly purchased Chromebooks, wireless color printer, and 3D printer, students will collaboratively design 2D blueprints of cars and construct the cars using recycled materials. They will test out their created cars and collect data on Chromebooks, then create Google Presentations about their cars. The 3D printer will be used to print license plates designed by the students.
GarageBand Danae Marinelli, Cimarron Springs Elementary, Music K-8 Digital handheld recorders and Midi piano keyboards will be added to this music classroom. Using the Apple application GarageBand, all students in the school will have the opportunity to compose/create music, including multiple tracks, musical loops, various instrumental effects, and voice recordings.
STEAM through Physics Justin Greathouse, Countryside Elementary, Science Grades 7/8 Students will collaborate to design a theme park in a team-based setting. Activities will tie learning to in-depth and real-world applications, and include Science, Technology, Arts, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM).
Monoprice Maker Architect Printer Christy Brooks, Surprise Elementary, Social Studies/Science, Grade 6 Sixth grade students will practice creativity, critical thinking, collaboration, and communication as they design 3D products. In addition, the 3D printer will support students who are part of the Science Olympian program by allowing them to create models for a number of events.
Microscopic World in Your Hands Thasanee Chantarojwong, Valley Vista High School, Biology AP, Biology 9-12 Funds will purchase six handheld camera/microscopes. Students will be able to project streaming video images of specimens from the microscopes in real time onto computers, and also snap still photos of an image. These electronic microscopes allow more time to share and explore various specimens, and allow the teacher to assist more students at one time.
Technology for Dysart’s National Board Certified Teacher Candidates Beth Maloney, Arizona/Dysart Teacher of the Year High quality equipment, including a camcorder, boom kit, and tripod, will be available to teachers who are pursuing their National Board Certification. Designed to develop, retain, and recognize accomplished teachers, the NCB voluntary process is the most respected professional certification available in education. It takes up to five years to attain and includes submission of videos of actual teaching.
Mini-Grant Awards Fall 2015
Classic Car Rally   Kurt Woods, Dysart High School, Auto Tech Grades 9-12 DHS and Arizona Restoration Club of Sun City West are partnering to build a 1967 Mercury Cougar to enter in the 2016 Great Race Across America. DHS will be one of only 2 high schools entered from the entire U.S. Funds will be used for tires, replacement of old parts, and fuel.
Light Up My Room Kristin Bienvenue, West Point, Pre-K Funds will be used to purchase a light box and accompanying materials for preschool students, some with special needs. The project provides additional light and translucent materials that help young learners explore shapes, letters, and science concepts.
Cimarron Students Building Learning Blendspaces Beth Rolfe, Grades 6-8 Art, Cimarron Springs Elementary Three Chromebooks will be used along with Blendspace, a platform for creating multimedia lessons that kids can access online and at home. Art teachers from three schools: Cimarron Springs, Sonoran Heights, and Riverview are currently developing art lessons that are shared all over the District. They also plan to have students create their own art lessons, using this medium.
Molecular Modeling to Support the 4C’s Corinne Carlson, Willow Canyon High School, Grades 10- 12 Chemistry Molecular Model Sets will allow chemistry students to build 3 dimensional models of molecules and therefore better visualize highly abstract concepts. It will also better prepare them for college chemistry, where modeling is a requirement.
Building a City Mary Odom, Fine Arts Academy, West Point, Middle School Students will collaborate with the Shadow Ridge HS Architecture students in designing solutions to real world problems as they explore city planning. A 3D printer and colored filaments, purchased with mini-grant funds, will allow students to print out their final products.
The EYES Have it! Eyshon Salahuddin, Cimarron Springs, Grade 7 Science The purchase of an Ultraviolet Sterilization Goggle Cabinet and soft vinyl impact goggles will ensure that students can complete a lab safely when working with hazardous chemicals or particles and that goggles can be sterilized and kept dust-free between uses. Glasses currently worn by students are worn out from use over time.
Mini-Grant Awards 2014/2015
Story Podcasting     Lisa Garon, Grade 5, Cimarron Springs Elementary Two new iPads will be used by students to record their own narrative stories. Students will learn the importance of expression and inflection. Completed stories and the process for creating them will be shared with the other 5th grade classrooms.
Building a Learning Community Mary E. Odom, New Media Arts 6th-8th Grade, West Point Elementary Students will use principals of design and the elements of art as they design quality t-shirts that can be worn in classrooms and at district events, and can be displayed on the school website. Purchases include software, pressure sensitive pens for the iPad, and inkjet transfer sheets.
Technology at Cimarron Springs Beth Rolfe, Grades K-4, Cimarron Springs Elementary Two iPads will allow younger students, who have difficulty bringing technology from home, better access. iPad applications that support the 21st Century skills will be used for small group instruction.
Technology in the Art Room Sara Mendoza, Art 4th-8th Grade, Rancho Gabriela Elementary Students will have access to two cameras, an inkjet printer, and two Chrome Books. They will learn how to use a digital camera and printer correctly, how to manipulate and edit photo images, and how to transfer images to other mediums for multi-media artworks.
Sixth Grade Technology at Cimarron Springs Judy Kellner, Grade 6, Cimarron Springs Elementary Students will choose an ancient culture they have studied in social studies, and create a narrative including lively characters and an authentic setting. Two iPads will be used to turn their stories into digital videos and web stories.
“You are the change you wish to see…” Erin Young and 7th and 8th grade Arts Academy Team, West Point Elementary Chromebooks will be purchased for students to use as they identify issues in the community and create a solution. Narratives, research, citations, videos, and posters will be uploaded to the students’ website so they can effectively communicate their plan to the community.
Mini-Grant Awards 2013/2014
Fitness Fun Beverly Zwick, PE Teacher, Dysart Elementary Funds will purchase a circuit timer, hand weights and rack, and resistance tubes. Teacher will set up an exercise circuit of exercises to be used by both students and staff, and as part of regular PE classes as well as before/after school opportunities.
Building a Green City Noelle Downs, all 1st grades, Sonoran Heights Elementary Students will design, construct, run, and evaluate small green communities. The project will cover many math, reading, writing, science, and social studies standards plus use of technology. Funds will buy 3 iPad minis that will be used in a variety of ways during the project.
Technology Use to Enhance Academic Progress Ann Karien Calvert, 4th – 8th grade Cross Categorical Exceptional Services, West Point Elementary The purchased document camera will allow the teacher to simultaneously project instructional images for intense academic instruction to students with special needs. Students will also be able to demonstrate their work for others to see.
Technology in the Level C Classrooms Karen Reale, Kinder – 8th Level C Classrooms, Sonoran Heights Many students in these classrooms have limited or no verbal communication, and others have only basic communication skills. Two iPads purchased with DEF funds will be used assist students in communication and to support academic and IEP goals. Funds will also purchase two styluses, iPad covers, and a few apps.
iPad Stephanie Badsgard, 1st grade, Sunset Hills Elementary The purchased iPad will be used by students individually and in groups, The addition of an Apple Dock connector to the classroom projector will allow for whole class activities. Film and a cover case will be purchased to protect the iPad, in addition to several new apps.
Solar Kart “Racing the Sun” Kurt Woods, Auto Tech grades 9-12, Dysart High School Eric Bennett, Engineering, Shadow Ridge High School Through a cooperative effort between Dysart and Shadow Ridge, students will design and build a solar go cart for an annual competition hosted by the U of A. Teams earn points throughout the year for presentations, meeting milestones, and based on performance on race day. The race competition tests student abilities in three areas: speed, endurance, and team spirit. DEF Funds will be used to purchase go-cart parts such as the brake system, chassis material, rear wheel mounts, steering controls, road wheel, gearing, and the main frame. The race sponsors provide the electronic systems including solar panels. Students will also display at the Dysart Career and Club Fair and speak at feeder school science classes.
Classroom Web Publishing Justin Greathouse, 7th grade Science, Countryside Elementary Students will use five Acer C7 Chromebooks to research scientific topics and create websites through Google Sites as a means of presenting their information in a final published form.
Mini-Grant Awards 2012/2013
 I-Pads in Self-Contained Classroom Jennifer Kelly, Self-Contained SPED, Surprise School Students in this self-contained special ed classroom, many with limited to no verbal communication skills, will use iPad apps to establish and increase communication skills. Other applications will be used with the iPads for instruction in other areas.
iPads for use as Formative Assessment and Remediation Tool Tom Triolo, High School Math, Sundown Mountain High School Students will take turns using iPads for math assignments. This will allow students to not only answer the questions and upload their work for teacher review, but will also allow them to dictate comments/questions verbally using the voice recorder.
Time to Get “Kinected” Dale Akita, Digital Communications and Computer Animation, Valley Vista High School Funds will purchase two Wacom Intuous5 Medium Digital Tablets that will create 2D and 3D graphic design images while using both multi-touch and a pressure sensitive pen. In addition, a Kinect Sensor will be purchased. Using this, the computer can recognize face and voice, and interpret physical actions of users, among other things.
21st Century Reader’s Workshop Lisa Gura, Grade 1 teacher colleagues, Dysart Elementary School Funds will purchase 6 Nook Color wireless reading devices. First grade students will receive fluency and English language support with the text-to speech feature, as well as have access to a variety of resources otherwise not available in the classroom, such as informational, persuasive, and functional texts.
Genetic Transformation of Escherichia coli with pGLO Bacterial Transformation – Using a gene from a Jellyfish that Glows in the Dark Patricia Christopher, Biology, Shadow Ridge High School Students will use various sizes of purchased Micropipettes to experience authentic activities that will prepare them for future biotechnology study, applications, research, and careers. In one activity, students will use the micropipettes to transform bacteria with a gene from a jellyfish that glows in the dark to express a new protein.
Mini-Grant Awards 2011/2012
 Understanding Subatomic Movement in the Production of Light in Chemistry Tiffany Smith Chemistry, Shadow Ridge High School Spectroscope sets, spectrum tube sets, a flame test kit, and a Molymod Molecular model set will allow students to build models of compounds to be studied, measure light, study spectral lines, observe the colors of light emitted by metals placed in a flame, and identify unknown metals using a flame test.
Document Camera Lori Murphy and Joni Maville, Grade 3, Sunset Hills Elementary School A document camera, to be shared by the 3rd grade team, will be used in a large variety of ways to enhance instruction. This model also has a web cam that can be used to communicate outside the classroom.
Creating a Global Classroom Melodie Brewer, Special Ed grades 5 and 6, Canyon Ridge Elementary Students will be able to access high quality programming through the medium of videoconferencing. Communications will be digitally recorded and used by other students at later times.
Elementary Kindle Connections  Kristie Ann Franco, grade 4, Sunset Hills Ten Kindle Keyboards will be used by students in small reading groups, to interact at Literacy Centers with audiobooks, to look up unknown words in the included dictionary and thesaurus, and to conduct research online.
iPods for the 21st Century Learner Sara Murphy, Grade 6, Countryside Elementary Five iPod Touches will be used in a variety of ways, including to increase reading fluency. Students will record their oral reading, listen, read again, listen, then record their best efforts into iTunes, where they can be accessed by students, parents and teachers.
iPod Touch’s Touch Lives Kara Kujawa, 7th grade science, Sunset Hills Elementary Five iPod Touches will be used in the science classroom for research, brain teasers, video recording and sharing, skills practice in math, reading, and science, using many iPod apps that are specifically for educational purposes.
Mini-Grant Awards 2010/2011
Skateboard Unit Christian Moghina, Physical Education, Dysart Elementary Skateboarding encourages students to be creative and participate in an alternative physical activity. It develops balance, coordination, stamina, endurance, and many other skills. Skateboards and protective helmets purchased with these funds will be used to teach safe skateboarding skills.
Utah Shakespeare Festival MacBeth Alice Lee, English/Theater 9-12, Valley Vista High School VVHS will host Utah’s Shakespeare Festival traveling troupe’s production of Macbeth on March 10, 2011. In addition, three workshops will be offered by the troupe and will be attended by theater students. Mini-grant funds will be used to pay for the performance.
Pencast to the Rescue Lidia Goodman, Library Media, Reading, and Math, K-8, Cimarron Springs Elementary Teachers and students will create books and students will be able to review both the audio and video of a lesson on the internet. Entire lessons will be available to students and parents for review, Mini-grant funds will be used to purchase Livescribe smart pens, notebooks that support the functions of the pens, and a charging cradle.
Unity Camp Michelle Bohon, Jan Fellows, Counselors, Sundown Mountain HS, Shadow Ridge HS Unity Camp is a cultural diversity camp, held at Camp Sky Y in Prescott, Arizona in early 2011. New skills learned are brought back to the campus, family, and friends. Mini-grant funds will be used to defray the costs of the camp. Students will each pay $35 to participate. Additional funding will be provided by tax credit donations.
Student Created Math Casts Tom Triolo, HS Math, Sundown Mountain High School The teacher intends to create a library of “math casts” for a variety of math topics that can be uploaded to the web for all students in Dysart Schools and across the world can access. Students will work in groups to talk through problems and reach solutions while recording their discussion and data with Livescribe pens. Mini-grant funds will be used to purchase two Livescribe Echo pens, 2 notebook packs that contain special paper that allows work to be uploaded to a computer, and 2 protective cases.
Ready, Set, Learn Melynda Wescott, Self-contained team K-5, Mountain View Elementary Students with disabilities need sensory input and structured breaks between academic tasks to increase focus and retention. Students will participate in “brain gym” activities in short 5 – 10 minute segments between lessons. Mini-grant funds will be used to purchase equipment for the activities.
Mini-Grant Awards 2009/2010
Self-Portrait Linoleum Cut Prints Mario Hiter, Art 9-10, Shadow Ridge High School Funds will be used to purchase a machine for printing linoleum prints, cutting tools, and other supplies that will enable students to explore printmaking, including additive and subtractive methods of carving, the importance of layering various blocks to create a successful image, and will better understand how mass produced objects and imagery are created. These resources are reusable and will be used yearly by art students.
Raise Your Heart Rate Jeff Braun, Physical Ed K-8, Cimarron Springs Elementary Teacher will buy twelve Reebok EZ Touch Heart Rate Monitors. While the “regular” classroom has changed greatly in the last few years due to technological innovations, the PE classroom is essentially unchanged. Heart rate monitors will allow students to see where their heart rates are during exercise, and make good fitness decisions based on their data.
Musical Literacy through Literature and Technology Danae Marinelli, Music K-8, Cimarron Springs Elementary Funds will allow this music teacher to integrate music and literature through the use of technology. Students will be able to identify and notate notes, as well as compose, improvise, and critique musical pieces. Older students will create projects based on music history, composers, jobs in the music industry, music vocabulary, and present day artists. Younger students will focus on reading stories based on musical literature.
My Pipet or Yours? Paige Davis, Biology, Valley Vista High School Teacher will purchase Digital Micropipets, which will allow students to conduct various electrophoresis labs. This equipment will allow the teacher to incorporate biotechnology into the classroom. Biotechnology is a fast-growing industry that needs a prepared workforce. Students will conduct biotechnology experiments using the micropipets, analyze the data, and will discover career opportunities related to the field.
SMART Kinders!! Ronni Fredrickson and Kindergarten Team, Surprise Elementary School Teachers will purchase a SMART board to be shared among five kindergarten teachers, with each teacher having the SMART board one day per week, with that day’s lessons planned around using the SMART board. Kindergarten students are very tactile and need to be able to manipulate things in order to learn. The SMART board will enable them to use manipulatives at a higher level.
Reading Comprehension Dan Herrera, English Grade 12, Willow Canyon High School Teacher will purchase supplemental materials to assist in teaching the topics of the English Romantics, Beowulf and Macbeth, including an interactive PowerPoint that will be used to introduce the topic of the English Romantics, and two challenge games that will serve as reviews for the final exam.
Mini-Grant Awards 2008/2009
21st Century Library Todd P. Simonson, Library/Media Specialist, Dysart Elementary School Based on research into current library trends and workshops on the 21st Century Learner, Mr. Simonson will purchase CD and DVD software to be used in the school library and also to be checked out using a process similar to book checkout.
Vernier Technology Cynthia Megahan, Chemistry, Dysart High School For the purchase of four Vernier LabPro data collection devices to take the place of antiquated technology that is currently used to collect data in the DHS chemistry lab. Students will be able to digitally collect, graph, and analyze more accurate data with these devices.
Robotics Engineering Cheryl Martin, Grades 6-8 science, West Point Elementary Students will be able to create, design, build, test, and analyze a working robot using LEGO Education Mindstorm robotics kits that are designed specifically for middle school students. The proposal included an extensive rubric that will be used to evaluate student success with the project.
Math Alive! Jody Jones, 6th Grade Team, Thompson Ranch For the purchase of a SmartBoard, a large, interactive whiteboard that has the power of a computer. The SmartBoard will be used by the entire 6th grade team.
Speed Stacking Kara Kujawa, Science Grade 7, Sunset Hills Speed stacking is a challenging activity for all ages, but specifically for students in their formative years. It helps to develop motor skills, patterning, sequencing, focus, and concentration. Research has identified improvements in reading scores and hand-eye coordination, among other things.