Fall 2020 Grants Announced

With a wide variety of grants that focus on students’ varying needs—from the latest technology to back-to-basics paperback books­—the Batesville Community Education Foundation (BCEF) has awarded the Batesville Community School Corporation (BCSC) nearly $5,000 in grants during its fall granting cycle.

Upon the suggestion of her students, Batesville Middle School (BMS) family and consumer science teacher Megan Spreckelson applied for and was granted funding to purchase updated small appliances for her cooking lab. The idea for the grant developed when her students were tasked with an assignment to find recipes they were interested in cooking.  Many students wanted to test out recipes which required air fryers or instant pots—appliances which Spreckelson does not currently have in her classroom. She received enough funding to purchase four of each type of small appliance for her cooking lab.

“Out with the Crock Pots and deep fryers; make way for Instant Pots and air fryers,” Spreckelson told BCEF in her grant application. “Using Instant Pots and air fryers, we will have a lab experience in which students will prepare a dish using these new small appliances. Students will then make a presentation in which they evaluate each appliance’s features and share their thoughts about cost, value, ease of use, and clean-up. A recipe review will also be included.

“When they asked about getting new appliances, I explained to the students how purchasing enough of each type would be expensive for Batesville Middle School,” Spreckelson continued. “Funding from BCEF for these appliances means that approximately 80 eighth graders in my classes will be able to benefit each year.”

Updated technology will also be coming to Katie Griggs’ Batesville High School (BHS) algebra II classes, through the innovative integration of a new iPad and Apple Pencil to teach graphing to her students. Griggs explained in her grant application to BCEF how this acquisition will enable her to more easily display graphing concepts.

“With the content that I teach (algebra II mainly), there is a lot of graphing,” Griggs wrote. “Having an iPad will make my ability to demonstrate graphing much more accurate and visible, rather than having to draw each graph by hand. I had been using a projector to show a coordinate plane on the white board and then drawing on it using Expo markers. Now that I have a monitor in my classroom instead of a projector, the iPad will provide me with the capability to draw directly on the plane using an iPad app and then display it on the monitor for my students to see.”

The BCEF board granted Griggs the funding to purchase a new iPad and Apple Pencil, directly impacting not only her 118 students this year, but also the students of other algebra teachers with whom Griggs plans to share the instructional videos she creates.

Using a unique pitch that physical books are considered innovative in today’s technology-focused educational climate, Batesville Middle School (BMS) seventh grade social studies teacher Travis Smith submitted his idea to BCEF. Smith teaches a unit on Nelson Mandela each year and discussed the benefits of having a paperback copy of a Mandela biography in his students’ hands. Smith will receive enough funding for a physical copy of the paperback entitled “No Easy Walk to Freedom” for each seventh-grade student, which he can use each year in his classroom.

“I believe reading, especially non-fiction, is important,” Smith wrote in his grant application. “Along with that, I think it is important for students to have access to reading a physical book for some assignments, instead of doing so electronically.”

BHS special education teachers Randi Stirn, Sarah Jaisle, Kathy Gutzwiller, and Nanette Foster received funding for flexible learning equipment. Stirn’s classrooms needed standing desks and mats to help engage students. BCEF’s long-standing commitment to flexible materials to meet students’ learning requirements will continue with funding for four standing desks and four mats for the resource room at BHS.

“Some students have the need to stand up to stay focused,” Stirn told BCEF. “We service about 90 students coming in and out of the resource room and these materials will greatly add to our capabilities.”

Batesville Intermediate School (BIS) art teacher Olivia Branch reached out to BCEF, asking the foundation to join a local non-profit collaboration to bring a visiting artist to the school to create a kindness mural.  After receiving funding from the VISION Fund and the Batesville Area Arts Council’s Arts in Education initiative, BIS requested funds from BCEF to secure the remainder of the total needed.

“Although COVID-19 has temporarily delayed the visit of renowned mural artist Bren Bataclan, we need to have the funds available for when his visit occurs,” Branch explained to BCEF. “The creation of a mural focused on kindness will impact students for years to come, since this permanent addition will provide ongoing instructional opportunities and discussions of the role of art in the community and its contribution to creating a positive school culture.”