Our Grants

Ragtag Film Society Media Literacy Initiative

An initiative of the Ragtag Film Society, the umbrella organization of True/False Film Fest and Ragtag Cinema. The grant provides teachers with media literacy instructional strategies and materials and provides students with skills to be thoughtful, critical consumers of media. The grant funds will supplement Columbia Public Schools (CPS) core curriculum by providing screening rights for films and training for teachers to incorporate film into the classroom. Learning will be enhanced through extracurricular experiences, including year-round field trips to Ragtag Cinema for film screenings and a free film screening and filmmaker Q&A at the True/False Film Fest.

Grant Funds Requested: $114,300* over a three year period

Author Visits and Novels to Engage Middle School Readers

Supports literary initiatives at the middle school level impacting nearly 4,000 students. The selected young adult novels – which include Jason Reynolds’ “As Brave As You” and “Ghost,” and K.A. Holt’s “Rhyme Schemer,” “House Arrest” and “Red Moon Rising” – will be available in novel and audio format at each of the six CPS middle schools. In addition to supplying the novels, the grant provides for in-person author visits from both Reynolds and Holt at each middle school.

Grant Funds Requested: $20,000

MakerSpaces

Provides funding for MakerSpaces at ten CPS elementary schools. MakerSpaces promote STEM activities and provide a hands-on learning experience where children can flex their creative muscles and problem-solving skills. MakerSpace stations might focus on circuitry, design, electronics, robotics, building, coding, or other STEM skills. Supplies can include 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and everyday materials, all with the goal of engaging students with making technology and developing problem-solving skills.

Grant Funds Requested: $25,000

NAO Robotics

A Fine Arts Collaboration with Special Education and Practical Arts. This project proposes that district coordinators and specific practical arts and fine arts teachers use NAO robots to implement a project-oriented pedagogy characterized by hands-on experimentation. Computer Programming & Music teachers will use NAO to integrate team work, project management, problem-solving and communication skills and “choreography” in a stimulating setting that is engaging and exciting for students. Teachers will also use NAO to develop interdisciplinary projects. Students participating in the program will have the opportunity to focus on problem-solving and exploratory learning by working in teams to actively engage in challenges and discover solutions. Students gain hands-on experience using NAO, and, when used in the lab, they discover exciting topics such as locomotion, grasping, audio and video signal processing, voice recognition, and much more.

Mobile Libraries to Engage Middle School Readers

This proposal provides a variety of leveled, high-interest books for students to read during weekly school-wide sustained silent reading (SSR) time in their 6th-8th grade Advisory classes. In addition to providing the opportunity for students to actively read for enjoyment and building of background knowledge, the various literacy committees and reading specialists in each middle school building will ensure that these texts are available for read-alouds both during Advisory classes and in content area classes.

Fit for Life

This project proposes the funding of FitnessGram software for all K-12 students in Columbia Public Schools. FitnessGram software is a tool for assessing health-related fitness components in grades K-12; gives students a comprehensive look at their fitness level; promotes life-long activity by providing assessment and follow up programming; produces individualized reports for parents; and, allows for self-assessment and goal setting.

iRead to Succeed

The CPS “iRead to Succeed!” grant will provide each CPS Middle School Reading Intervention program with a set of 10 iPad Mini devices that can be used to engage struggling students in the reading of digital texts that have been custom-tailored to their interests and ability level (through online software that creates a personalized reader profile) and to frequently and efficiently evaluate student progress using online assessment tools that provide timely diagnostic information that teachers can use to tailor their intervention instruction to maximize student gains and more effectively combat the achievement gap in literacy.

Grant Funds Requested: $18,240

Anytime CPR

Testing of CPR skills is required by the state and district and is one of the measurable learner objectives for Health. These kits will be checked out to online health students enabling them to learn and practice skills at home. Skills assessment will be done by the online health teacher or the District Coordinator of Secondary Health. The kits include a DVD and a practice mannequin. Kits can be cleaned and are reused for future classes.

Grant Funds Requested: $1,435

Empowering iHistory

Provides the Social Studies departments at Hickman High School and Rock Bridge High School each with a traveling iPad lab (and supporting technology) by which teachers can engage their students in the study of 21st-century skills and literacy through contemporary historical/cultural/governmental texts directly in their classrooms. The grant will include 35 iPad Minis with protective covers and some instructional software applications per building. Students will complete personalized, inquiry-based “iHistory” research projects that showcase the content and skills they have mastered by having access to the technology purchased through the grant.

Grant Funds Requested: $24,254

Gateway to Technology

Students enrolled in these exciting new courses will greater access to new “state of the art” technologies such as programmable robots and 3-dimensional “printing” of objects they design. Through the design and construction of intelligent machines, as well as the “rapid prototyping” of engineered parts, students will explore a variety of scientific, technological and mathematical applications.

Grant Funds Requested: $23,650
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