2023 enrichEd® Classroom Grant Program Recipients

US Eagle Blog Oct 26, 2023

For the first time since the creation of the enrichEd® Grant Program, ARNIA Foundation doubled awarded funds, totaling $20,000 in grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 – depending on the project needs.

ARNIA Foundation and US Eagle’s enrichEd® Grant Program is in its fifth year and designed to support New Mexico public school teachers by providing educators with funding for educational resources and classroom activities, which enable more effective learning environments. Grants were awarded to public and charter K-12 classrooms with the purpose of enhancing the classroom experience for children and teachers.

The enrichEd® committee reviewed 79 applications and selected ten winners to receive the classroom grants.

Loupes for Looking Closely

Joan Gauscheman's 4th grade class will be utilizing the grant funds to purchase new eye loupes for the Life Science Unit at Amy Biehl Community School. With the eye loupes, students can magnify what they are observing up to five times greater than only examining with a magnifying class. This will assist them in looking closely at the world around them and observing the details of what they see. In the Life Science Unit, students will use the magnifying devices to reproduce what they see in a drawing, while writing and analyzing their observations.

Adding eye loupes to the classroom will improve these fourth graders observational skills, focus, and scientific observation for years to come!

Grow Your Own Teacher STEM Activity Kits

The Career Enrichment Center (CEC) recently added a Teaching Professions Career Pathway Program to allow high school students around the district who don't have the opportunity at their home school to explore the teaching profession firsthand.

With the awarded grant money, high school teacher Miskee Blatner plans on creating a variety of developmentally appropriate K-5 STEAM and Financial Literacy-focused learning kits. These kits will be used by her students during their internships to practice and implement the skills they are learning in class. Each learning kit will be provided and assembled by a student for a student. The Educational Pathway students will also create lesson plans connected to grade-level standards to include in each kit.

The class will also visit Explora to partner and learn about developmentally appropriate STEM lessons and activities while they create their kits.

Design for the Times

Kolbe William's Fashion and Interior Design class at Farmington High School gives students the chance to get creative, while simultaneously implementing the skills they have learned in their History, Literacy, Math, and Science classes. Beginning and advanced students will be creating projects such as curtains, interior design materials, clothing, and other fashion design products, made by materials and tools purchased with the awarded grant funds. Learning this life skill will give students an opportunity to participate in projects they may have previously felt excluded from, opening the doors to new career possibilities.

Once projects are completed, students will display their projects and several students will participate in the Family Career and Community Leaders of America (FCCLA) - a national organization where students can compete in a variety of events both state, and nationwide.

Moving, Grooving, and Learning

At Inez Elementary School, innovative tools are being introduced to empower special-needs students to be active participants in their own learning journey. The primary objective is to create an environment built on trust and respect while encouraging students to expand their thinking and take an active role in their learning process. Recognizing the importance of movement in the learning process, particularly for students with special needs, this grant will support the acquisition of flexible seating options like wobble chairs, movement disks, and under-desk bike pedals.

Additionally, a designated safe zone will provide students with a space to decompress, identify their emotions, and prepare themselves for effective learning. This initiative is a significant step toward ensuring that every student has the opportunity to thrive and succeed.

Gardening Project

First grade teacher, Lisa Hawkins is planning to build a permeant raised garden structure at Ladera Del Norte Elementary School in Farmington. Ms. Hawkins was awarded as a recipient of the 2021 enrichEd® Program and is still utilizing funds from her garden project that she began two years ago. The project continues to be sustainable as pots, soil, and seeds are still utilized.

The indoor garden that the classroom has already developed, continues to promote healthy eating habits and provides lettuce and herbs for the school cafeteria lunches.

The purpose of the project is to teach students how to garden and apply real-life skills. They will learn social and emotional skills when working with their peers, as well as learning to be responsible and care for living things. The first graders will also collaborate with the Gifted class to research and design the layout outdoor garden.

Community School Garden

Cindy Smith is the Community School Coordinator at Los Ranchos Elementary School and has big plans for her student's upcoming Community School Garden. The garden will not only be used as a resource for students and their families, but also for the surrounding community. Food insecurity is an ongoing struggle to many families on a daily basis, and the hope of the Community Garden is to provide resources such as nutritious veggies, fruits, and herbs to those in need.

The garden will also increase engagement among students and their families as they plan, plant, and maintain the area. Students will track and report their participation and experience by journaling, storytelling, and creating art. With the increase of the green footprint in the Village of Los Ranchos, students will gain an appreciation and increased environmental awareness and respect for nature.

Marie Huges Community Garden

Cristian Villa's kindergarten class is transforming its barren surroundings into a thriving community garden. This ambitious project includes the construction of a small greenhouse and raised beds where students from all grade levels can cultivate fruits, vegetables, and flowers. The garden's purpose extends beyond education; it aims to enhance access to healthy options for our students and their families. Additionally, this space will deepen students' understanding of plants and living organisms. The school envisions a collaborative effort involving the wider community in maintaining the garden throughout the school year. Furthermore, partnerships with city community members and tribal representatives will facilitate outreach educational programs at the garden.

In addition to its educational benefits, the community garden will be dedicated to a special education Educational Assistant staff member who tragically lost his life to suicide last year. This memorial garden will stand as a touching tribute, offering solace and inspiration to his family, colleagues, and students, symbolizing the enduring cycle of life.

Maker Warriors

Inez Jacobs is a High School Science and STEM Instructor and has developed a MakerSpace Zone for her students to get creative by utilizing their 3D printers and Cricut vinyl cutters. Many students with promising careers in engineering, artistry, computer science, machinery, architecture, and mathematics have found enjoyment in working in the MakerSpace Zone, bringing their ideas to life.

With the awarded grant funds, Ms. Jacobs intends on procuring a laser engraver and CNC desktop router to only further and diversity the skill set of her students. A resounding theme of the STEM courses at Mark Armijo Academy are focused on promoting sustainable practices and a greener environment. By making their own products, students will decrease pollution and create physical products that meet the needs of their school community. Manufacturing such products requires critical thinking and problem-solving skills that will last a lifetime.

More Voice for Voz!

Reading and speaking aloud is proven to build student confidence and is critical to growth and the assessment of student literacy. That's why with the awarded grant funds, Mr. Meyerhein's eighth grade classroom will be developing a newsroom microphone, video camera, and light to practice their verbal reading skills.

With the formation of the newsroom, students will draft and investigate topics they're interested in and share those with the student body. Teachers will also take part in interviews with students, allowing them to practice their verbal reading skills.

The headsets and noise-cancelling microphones will also be utilized by other students for a variety of uses to help further their verbal reading skills.

Reading is AG-mazing and FUN-damental

Wilson and Van Buren Middle Schools have joined forces to create a unique learning opportunity for their Garden elective classes. Together, they will empower middle school students to deliver an engaging presentation on gardening to their younger counterparts in elementary school. This initiative is designed to introduce elementary students to the world of gardening, enabling them to germinate seeds and nurture plants.

With the assistance of this grant, they aim to provide elementary students with the materials needed for the "Garden in a Glove" activity, alongside copies of the book, "First Peas to the Table," which will serve as a valuable resource for further reading, discussions, and individual learning experiences.

Selections were made based on need, project creativity, and the number of students affected. New grant opportunities for the enrichEd® Classroom Grant Program will be announced in August 2024 at www.useagle.org/enriched.

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