Innovative Teaching Awards recognize creative efforts

Inspired teachers receive grants, students benefit

HRVHS multimedia teacher Shawn Meyle has used his Innovative Teaching grant funds to purchase a state-of-the art digital camera with video capabilities for student projects. Meyle completed the camera equipment package by purchasing the remaining components himself – a practice quite common for most teachers who seek to add technology or equipment in tight budgetary times.

Photo by Julie Raefield-Gobbo.
HRVHS multimedia teacher Shawn Meyle has used his Innovative Teaching grant funds to purchase a state-of-the art digital camera with video capabilities for student projects. Meyle completed the camera equipment package by purchasing the remaining components himself – a practice quite common for most teachers who seek to add technology or equipment in tight budgetary times.

Twenty-seven educators across the county received a little extra boost in their efforts to bring innovation to the classroom with recent grant awards from the Hood River County Education Foundation’s Innovative Teaching program.

“This has been another record year for grants!” said Paul Lindberg, HRCEF executive director. “The Foundation recently completed its review of applications for the winter 2013 grant cycle. As in years past, we received more proposals for excellent ideas than we could fund and we faced some difficult decisions.”

The HRCEF grant program, which has two cycles yearly, makes awards to teachers and staff who find new subjects to explore, better ways to teach, and interesting experiments to try.

“I am very excited about the money I got for the grant. It allowed me to purchase a piece of equipment for my class that would not have been possible otherwise,” said HRVHS multimedia teacher Shawn Meyle. “I’ve already used the camera to help with a documentary video for the Columbia Gorge Arts in Education Confluence Project.”

The goal of the program is to provide the critical funds that will turn the best of these ideas into action. The program is open to any Hood River teacher, staff, district employee or student.

In the end, the HRCEF Board awarded 27 grants, totaling $18,248.98.

“This program is funded almost entirely from local sources,” said Lindberg. “Proceeds from the Trail Band concert are combined with individual donations, and some grant funds to support the teachers and students in our schools.”

The Foundation is continuing to raise funds for this program so it can fund more teacher ideas for the second round in May.

The list of recipients this year includes requests for such varied items as a computer program for music at the middle school, materials and specimens for science classes at the high school, and math enrichment programs at the elementary schools.

“These are ideas that teachers in our schools want, need and use to better teach our children. The Education Foundation is pleased to support them,” said Lindberg.

Teachers and educators receiving awards include:

  • May Street

Heather Clark and Heather Geraci: $800 for books and supplies for first-grade reading enrichment program; Meli Santillan: $800 for books and supplies for first-grade reading enrichment program; Vicki Bebb: $800 for books and supplies for first-grade reading enrichment program

  • Hood River Middle School

Rebecca Nederhiser: $570 for a music software program; Angie Adkins: $800 for Netbooks for her seventh-grade classroom

  • Mid-Valley Elementary

Amanda Orand: $300 for paper and e-books for early native Spanish speakers; Judy Holt-Mohar: $800 for “Can it Rain Frogs?” curriculum for students to construct objects that illustrate scientific principles from biology, physics, life science, geology and/or astronomy, resource books and “Kid Friendly Biographies”; Vickie Schmidt: $800 for “Informative Text & Technology” electronic reading applications; Dennis McCauley: $799.90 for “Turning Miles into Learning,” plus seven Apple Shuffles and three Apple Nanos for students who travel to keep up with their schoolwork

  • Wy’east Middle School

Rebecca Swartzenruber: $400 for books for eighth-grade students; David Sacquety: $269.56 for nonfiction books for classroom reading; Amy Vaughn: $350 for noise reducing headphones for students with sensory and auditory issues; Susan Arechaga and Nancy Behrmann: $1,591.44 for “Papershow” an interactive presentation tool for increased math engagement

  • Hood River Valley High School

Kathryn Davis: $760 for lab materials for new genetics and bioethics class curriculum; David Case: $573 for supplies and equipment for portable history museum; Amy Foley: $728.50 for biology and life science enrichment supplies; Jennifer Schlosser: $800 for college and career advising software training and add-ons; Ann Zuehlke: $720 for books for Oregon Battle of the Books; Shawn Meyle: $798.90 for digital camera with video and related equipment; Jeff Blackman: $800 for “Arduino” software to design and program circuit boards; Shayla Moline: $800 for electronic clickers to help engage math students

  • Parkdale Elementary

Staci Schmidt: $425 for “Robust Vocabulary: Text Talk” an intense vocabulary and reading comprehension program; Shannon Monroe: $425 for “Robust Vocabulary: Text Talk”; Cynthia Sischo: $199 for “IXL,” a computer-based learning system for math

  • Westside Elementary

Kathryn Ritter and Angela Sperry: $597 for “IXL: a computer-based learning system for math; Robin Cushman: $800 for books for second-grade guided reading; Nathan Smith: $741.68 for “Structure of Life,” a kit, module and live organisms for science lessons

For more information on this or any program of the Education Foundation, contact Lindberg at or 541-387-5713.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge


mudrock says...

I am impressed by the omissions in the list of award winning teachers. The Special Education Department seems to not have the motivation to submit any ideas for innovation while, in this area, there are huge technological leaps being made to provide quality educational experiences to our most unfortunate students.

Posted 9 March 2013, 8:17 a.m. Suggest removal

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