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November 16, 2016
The GEF Party Bus traveled all over the community on November 15, 2016, as the Granbury ISD Education Foundation announced the winners of grants and special awards totaling over $78,000.
The foundation had a substantial increase in fundraising – thanks in part to a successful fourth annual 50 Fellas Foodfest – allowing for an increase in grant awards.  This year’s funding brings the five-year grand total to just about $277,000.
The new grants will fund a number of innovative teaching and school initiatives during the second half of the 2016-17 school year.  The group of winning projects included presentations from and field trips to the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, learning stations for geographic measurements, touch screen devices for special needs students, and impairment goggles and activities to experience the dangerous effects of alcohol and drug use.
Projects also included a district initiative funded by the Inge Foundation and written by instructional technologists Jodie McClintock and Menielle Donahoo for swivel robots at all campuses.  The devices are comprised of a rotating base and multiple wireless microphones that turn an iPad into a viable recording device capturing multiple presenters’ voices from up to thirty feet away and tracking the movement of the lead presenter.  “The swivel robot . . . gives students greater choice when selecting a method of showcasing their learning as prescribed in effective project-based learning,” they said.
Acton Elementary School students will benefit from “Mr. Hagerman’s Extreme Reading” by learning about different book types through a comedy and magic show from David Hagerman, who held science assemblies at all elementary schools last year.  The initiative is named for H-E-B Tournament of Champions in recognition of the grocery store’s continuing donation and being a Top Chef sponsor of the foundation.
PlainsCapital Bank, a platinum sponsor for the foundation, had two grants named.  The first was “Bringing the World Alive in the Classroom via Virtual Reality” at Acton Middle School.  This initiative will fund virtual reality headsets to increase student engagement while creating experiences to enhancing background knowledge to make connections with every subject area – everything from visiting the Great Wall of China, exploring a rainforest, walking on the surface of Mars, or exploring the circulatory system. The other is Mambrino School’s “Ready Bodies, Learning Minds” project, which will purchase materials to follow a specific sensorimotor lab routine targeting all prerequisite skills to assist students’ bodies to be in a position to learn.
Two other projects were also named for big contributors to the foundation.  The Granbury Optimist Club sponsored “Manufacturing Student Success” for a portable router that will allow Granbury High School engineering students to use subtractive manufacturing processes for various classroom activities, prototyping, and competitions.  A “Reading, Riding, ‘Rithmetic” project was sponsored by Lake Granbury Medical Center to create two campus “riding labs” at Mambrino in order to increase reading retention while movement while riding stationart bicycles.
Special awards were also announced to fund $5,000 in certification exams for the school district’s career and technical education program as well as college visits for GHS and STARS Accelerated High School students.
Along with the GHS Pirate Band drumline, helping to announce the grants were GEF president Stacy Mitchell, programs co-chair Chanda Smith, marketing and events co-chair Kelly Garner, and development co-chair Mendi Tackett.  Other board members on the bus were superintendent Dr. James Largent, Jayla Loving, Holly Martin, Diana McBride, and Jan Williams.  Also attending were school trustee Mark Jackson, trustee-elect Rhonda Rezsofi, assistant superintendent Ron Holmgreen, career and technical education director Judy Gentry, curriculum director Sharon Williams, human resources director Wes Jones, and technology director Amy Wood.
The full list of grant awards is below:
Innovative Teaching Grants

Name of Grant




$ Amount

Record Me Roaming! INGE FOUNDATION


Jodie McClintock​​​​​​​​​ ​​
Menielle Donahoo

The C3 Series Swivl Robot system is comprised of a rotating base and multiple wireless microphones that turn an iPad into a viable recording device capturing multiple presenters’ voices from up to 30 feet away and tracking the movement of the lead presenter. Typically, when students use an iPad to record demonstrations or presentations, one obstacle they face is poor sound quality which relies on the built-in microphone of the iPad.  The Swivl Robot enhances devices already available in our district and gives students greater choice when selecting a method of showcasing their learning as prescribed in effective project-based learning.


Manufacturing Student Success GRANBURY OPTIMIST CLUB

Granbury High School

Todd Gibson
Greg Belleau
Brad Eppler

The engineering department is requesting a portable CNC router that will allow engineering students to use subtractive manufacturing processes for various classroom activities, prototyping, and competitions.  Instead of being limited to virtual designs, subtractive manufacturing or milling allows engineers and businesses to create tangible items that originated on design software.  This process will open up a whole new realm of possibilities as well as allow engineering students a way to fabricate and test prototypes.  This machine will motivate students in their quest to solve real-world problems in their engineering projects and open doors to industry related technology and software.  


Impairments of Drug and Alcohol Use:  What's the Big Deal

Granbury High School

Cari Davis
Darlene Windham

Lecturing students about the dangers of underage drinking and illegal drug use can be an influential method for deterring teens from these risky behaviors, but how effective is it?  Students learn better when they have hands-on experience. Impairment goggles and an activity mat provide students a simulated experience of the real life effects drug and alcohol use cause, giving them a better understanding of what it is like to be under the influence. Additionally students can have this experience without the risk of drug and alcohol use. These training tools create an experience that the students can see, feel and understand, thus creating a greater impact on their decisions when it comes to drug and alcohol use. The tools also provide an observation experience for the law enforcement student and an opportunity to apply skills they have learned in the classroom.


What's in "Store" for our Future

Granbury High School

Danny Guidry

This grant will serve to start our GHS School Based Enterprise. Currently, we do not have the funds to purchase merchandise to sell to our students, staff, and community. The proceeds generated from this store will be used to fund DECA, a club that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in the area of Marketing, Finance, Hospitality, and Management. In the first year, our goal will be to fund the store, complete DECA gold level School Based Enterprise Certification, and prepare our club members for local, state, and national DECA competition.


The Next Best Thing to Being There;  Augmented Reality Sandbox

Granbury High School

Dene Carter
Angela Jumper
Rene Jackson

The best delivery method for learning is certainly hands-on. However, what are teachers to do when the topic requires touching geological formations that simply are not accessible in Granbury, Texas. Our solution is the Augmented Reality Sandbox. This device allows users to create topographic models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as topographic mapping, seafloor and coastal features, and watershed characteristics that affect hydrologic cycle, etc.


The Sky's the Limit

Granbury Middle School

Ryan Ellis
Jillian Parsons

Our students have a tough time with real world application of concepts they are learning. This will provide our students with an opportunity to see professionals, and those working on post-bachelor's degrees in engineering at Texas A & M, present what they are currently working on. This will help our students make connections with the learning they are doing in the classroom.


Bringing the World Alive in the Classroom via Virtual Reality PLAINSCAPITAL BANK

Acton Middle School

Mindy Badgett
Kristen Callihan

A picture is worth a thousand words and an experience is worth a thousand pictures. Imagine exploring a rainforest or walking on the surface of Mars in your classroom. Visit the Great Wall of China and take in the landscape that surrounds it, or stand on the Eiffel Tower and gaze upon Paris without leaving Granbury, Texas. Explore the circulatory system as if you were a cell in the blood stream. All of this is possible with Virtual Reality VR Headsets. VR headsets will increase student engagement while creating experiences to enhance background knowledge to make connections with every subject area TEKS.


Sharpening Math Skills With Scholastic

Acton Middle School

Mary Cutlip
Julie Morris

Research supports the value of reading, writing, and speaking in learning connections that need to be made for mastery of skills. As well as, using real-world applications reinforces relevance, which increases student engagement, deeper level processing and learning, and development of critical thinking. Scholastic Math magazine with its online features provides a variety of articles and activities that target these skills. Additional tools such as videos, games, and leveled practice problems help reinforce concepts for all learners including English Language Learners and students with learning difficulties. The design of the program allows for numerous enrichment opportunities for all learners.


The need for and the importance of the ART critique process when teaching students to communicate at the highest level of Costa's Level of Thinking

Acton Middle School

Julie Deger

One of the MOST important components for my success with the students is to show their work to them and allow them to develop the verbal skills and the intellectual skills needed to participate in a formal critique. It is of the utmost importance for the art teacher to be able to quickly display ongoing work in order to have class discussions. The students can see the work of everyone. The children can grow in their skill to give constructive criticism to one another and they can verbalize their own opinions as well.


Own Your Sound!

Acton Middle School

Stephanie Bosch
John Morgan

Installing recording equipment and high quality speakers in the band hall would greatly improve student achievement in band class as well as concerts and contests throughout the year. We encourage students to learn from their mistakes, but sometimes mistakes can be hard to identify, especially after the fact. Much like a football team watches tape of the games, the band needs to be able to critically listen to their selections in order to identify areas of weakness and improve upon them. This also addresses several TEKS in the music curriculum and would give students greater ownership in the learning process. 


Reaching for the STAAR 5th Science Review

Acton Middle School

Scott Carpenter
Jeremy Scott
Rene Jackson

Science STAAR scores at the elementary level are beginning to improve. We believe that a STAAR Science Review for 5th graders can help to refresh the learning and provide connections that are not made in the classroom. The OLC Leadership Team would like to provide a field trip opportunity for all 5th grade classes to attend an outdoor review session that includes: Food Webs and Food Chains, Adoptations, Metamorphosis, Water Pollution Model and Populations, and a fun station including either team building activity or archery. Cost to include transportation, materials, and lunches.


The Zoo Comes To You

Emma Roberson Elementary

Pamela Adams
Brandi Doran
Lindsay Gatewood
Tania Hillock
Tracy Porter
Debbie Ransleben
Susan Sutton
Nuvia Velazquez

The Fort Worth Zoo’s Animal Outreach team will provide an educational and interactive program for our Title I first grade students.  The program offers an up close, real life experience, featuring six or seven animals within the classes of birds, mammals and reptiles. The students will make discoveries about animals, from those living in their backyard to animals from around the world. This experience will provide a unique opportunity to enhance student learning about characteristics and behaviors that help animals adapt and survive in their environments. The students will then research other birds, mammals and reptiles and create a culminating presentation.


Science Experiments on the Move!

Emma Roberson Elementary

Pamela Adams
Brandi Doran
Lindsay Gatewood
Tania Hillock
Tracy Porter
Debbie Ransleben
Susan Sutton
Nuvia Velazquez

The Fort Worth Science Museum will bring an educator to lead students in hands-on science activities. Programs run 50 minutes and can take place in a classroom or in the school’s science lab. The Museum comes to the classroom with the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History’s Discovery Lab on Wheels. The magnets During your program your students will engage in a variety of activity stations as they learn about the properties of magnets. Students will develop a better understand of what a magnet is, what is magnetic, and attraction/repulsion.


Reading is Fun

Emma Roberson Elementary

Veronica Barragan
Margarita Magellan
Tania Hillock
Nuvia Velazquez

With this grant we will raise the reading levels in our English Language Learners. At Emma Roberson we are committed to providing each of our students the necessary tools for their success, with a comprehensive education program and a motivating learning environment. With the use of this reading program in our small group sessions our students will gain the confidence they lack to become strong readers and lifelong learners.


The World is Your Classroom – Explore It!

Emma Roberson Elementary

Sheri Doucet

With Google Expedition virtual reality kit, teachers can take students on over 200 virtual reality field trips without leaving the classroom.  Students can experience learning about the ocean and feel as if they are among the sea life.  Learn about history by going to museums all over the world and become an astronaut by traveling to outer space.  Expose students to new and exciting places giving them real world experiences without leaving the classroom.  The expeditions are virtual reality 360 degrees panoramic 3D images with details, points of interest, and questions that make them easy to integrate into curriculum.


From Fidgety and Frustrated to Calm and Concentrating

Brawner Intermediate

Mary Stennett
Leslie Ghighlieri

The purpose of this grant is to provide students with tools to assist them with self-regulation in the classroom. These tools consist of a "cool down kit" and a "fidget box". The "cool down kit" will help students who are struggling with emotional upset an opportunity to calm down in the classroom instead of being removed to the office. The "fidget box" gives students with excess energy a way to use that energy without disrupting their own learning or that of other students. The end result will be increased time learning for all students leading to increased academic success.


Don’t know much about the –ologies: Trip to the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History

Baccus Elementary

Kristen Coleman
Dana Reinke
Lori Williams

Bugs and Dinos and Lightning—Oh My! Where can we get hands on experience with entomology, paleontology, and meteorology? We need a field trip to the Ft. Worth Museum of Science and History. Many students at my school never get a chance to leave Granbury. At the museum, we would get a chance to be exposed to the rainforest, dig for fossils, and meet a weatherman. We could also learn through play at the children’s museum. Students learn best during hands-on activities. This would be an opportunity for authentic learning.


4C-ing the Future with STEAM Team & MakerSpace

Baccus Elementary

Ashley Page
Melissa Shipp

In today's rapidly advancing technological world, the necessary skills for a successful future in the workplace has changed. It is critical that we develop the 21st century skills of the 4C's: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. The items in our proposal seek to do just that! Focused on the 4C's through the STEAM initiative, students will have opportunities to work in teams to develop these skills with hands-on experiences in building, engineering, and designing. Students will also stimulate creativity through open ended, imaginative play and develop a growth mindset that perseveres through dedication and hard work.


Becoming Future Scientists, Engineers, and Mathematicians Through Purposeful Play

Baccus Elementary

Tammy Kelley
Kimberly Hare

We would like to increase our students' STEM ( science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) experiences. We would use STEM Career posters  and literature to develop vocabulary. The students would then use problem-solving skills to create bridges, chairs, vehicles, houses, and roller coasters.


Virtually Amazing

Baccus Elementary

George Robinson ​
Dana Gonzalez
Robin Rangel
Shelli Briggs

Many of our students never leave Hood County. With the help of virtual reality, students can see and experience all of the different ecosystems on our planet. Using virtual reality headsets and an iPod touch, they can see a desert and all of the inhabitants. They can experience life in New York or swim with sharks. They can broaden their knowledge base and then write about their experience. The iPod touch is versatile with lots of great free programming, so it will always be in use.


Little Hands Need Real Objects

Baccus Elementary

Lori Williams
Dana Reinke
Kristen Coleman
Suzanne Back

Have you ever tried to teach geometrical shapes on a flat piece of paper? Have you ever tried to count the vertices of a rectangular prism on a  piece of paper? Have you ever tried to count paper coins? Have you ever measured using a paper ruler that is not correct? Kids in 2nd grade really need learning stations where they can hold, count and measure using real objects. We are trying to buy learning stations that will address measurement, time, place value, geometric measurements and fractions.


Playaway Reading Clubs

Acton Elementary

Stephanie Gravley
Paula Adams
Karly Johnson
Stevi Binford

Reading comprehension is essential for  a successful student. Playaway Reading Club is a project that will provide individuals and/or groups with the opportunity to have text to read aloud. Students thrive on technology and Playaways offer a fun way to read a novel or text utilizing compressed audio files. The multi-sensory experience provides students a way to internalize each of their reading assignments, increasing their short-term retention, but also instilling a life-long love of reading.


Rhythm in Motion

Acton Elementary

Brandy Lillagore

Stability ball drumming joins the dynamic movements of aerobic dance with the pulsating rhythms of the drum. It is a unique sensory/motor program that is designed to give the mind and body instant feedback through continuous movement and rythmical flow. This program utilizes "whole brain - whole body" thinking by developing sensory motor reflexes and kinesthetic awareness. The physiological and psychological benefits are numerous. Drumming also improves and increases the neurological connection between the 2 brain hemispheres, stimulating Alpha brain wave activity which can lead to higher levels of concentration, sensory/motor improvement, and an overall sense of well-being.


Osmos in Kindergarten

Acton Elementary

Shannon Sanchez
Tina Smith
Angie Gilliam
Serena Rivera
Kelly Luckie
Amanda McClaran

The goal of this grant is to create a learning center within each kindergarten classroom to incorporate social, creative and emotional learning by bridging the gap between technology and hands on learning through the use of the Osmo, along with the existing classroom iPads.


Mr. Hagerman’s Extreme Reading H-E-B TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS

Acton Elementary

Leah Dawson

The Magic of this Reading show encourages students to get more involved with reading activities.  The show creates a fun atmosphere where students learn about different types of books; fiction, non fiction, reference, biographies and such.  Students learn that the more literary fiction they read, the better they become at reading people and understanding emotions.  They also learn that reading doesn't necessarily involve words; it's about translating images into meaning like in musical notes and hieroglyphs.  Combine all this information with comedy and magic and you have a show that inspires children to read more.


“Bird Beaks and Beyond” – a discovery lab on wheels

Acton Elementary

Ginger Bryan
Kristina Jenkins
Suzanne Francis
Debbie Wilson
Kali Kinser
Ruth Matheny
Amanda Rucka

Project based learning is an effective and enjoyable way to learn and develop deeper level competencies needed for success in college and future careers. As part of a spring PBL project involving animal habitats and adaptations and to help enhance the student’s learning experience, the second grade teachers would like to bring the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History Discovery Lab on Wheels to our second grade classrooms.  A museum educator would visit each second grade classroom and conduct hands-on activities that correlate with our science and language arts curriculum.


STEM – It’s Never Too Early to Engage Young Minds

Acton Elementary

Ginger Bryan
Kristina Jenkins
Suzanne Francis
Debbie Wilson
Kali Kinser
Ruth Matheny
Amanda Rucka

A call to action in 21st century education is to develop future innovators and promote critical thinking, problem solving, deductive reasoning, and curiosity.  Our goal as a community of educators is to have graduates prepared for today’s workforce and ever changing and advancing technology.  Experts in the field of education agree that it is imperative that these students have a thorough understanding of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).  Our instructional team would like to provide our students with STEM kits that help integrate knowledge across the curriculum and encourage them to think in a more connected and holistic way.


Star Gazing

Oak Woods School

Kristen Thigpen
Lynna Kirkpatrick

The Fort Worth Mobile Planetarium provides an inflatable classroom of space study for our school.  The planetarium allows students to experience our galaxy, constellations, and stars.  It is innovative and supports improved math and science education for students.  The entire school will benefit from a grade appropriate look at the current sky with a planetarium staff member allowing time for questions and further study.  For two days, the Ft. Worth museum will set up and lead 40-50 min programs for each grade level to attend.


Now and Then in Granbury Where History Lives

Oak Woods School

Donica Martin
Samantha Barnett
Jill Anderson
Nacole Morgan
Debbie Atherton

Now and Then in Granbury explores the past and present events and individuals that are vital to our community with hands on learning expeience. Students will be able to connect their learning to real world experiences. Learning Granbury's history is part of our Scope and Sequence and what better way to learn about history than to have students experience what historians accomplished in the past and actually view historical buildings that have endured all these years. Students will gain their own perspective on how others lived years ago versus how we live today.


Leadership- Impact the Outcome


Nancy Comeau
Lori Shupe
Kelli Godi
Melinda Robertson
Jennifer Bloodworth

Communication, teamwork, leadership, and conflict resolution are 21st Century skills we want to develop with fifth grade students! Through challenging activities presented in conjunction with the Hood County Agents and Hood County 4H leaders, our students will attend training sessions throughout the school year that are geared toward leadership skills. The students will then be presented with opportunities to use their newly learned skills through work with the younger students on our campus.


Touching is my Talking


Gaylene Carpenter
Tami Miller

The world is becoming more technological every day.  It revolves around the internet, cellphones, and electronic devices that prompt us, keep up with our daily activities, and give us information in an instant.  School systems are offering more technology choices for students and teachers to become educated users of new devices and services.  Access to these devices is limited to some due to physical and developmental delays.  We want our students to have these opportunities using a touch screen for more appropriate access.  This simple accommodation could make a world of difference for a child with special needs.


Reading, Riding, ‘Rithmetic LAKE GRANBURY MEDICAL CENTER


Stacie Brown
Lauri Morgan
Laura Jackson
Kathy Anderson

Time to take a ride on the wild side!! By the creation of two campus “Riding Labs”, students will increase retention of content knowledge through movement. Students will use the stationary bicycles in the lab while building reading and numerical fluency. By raising student motivation, focus and concentration will be amplified, therefore strengthening mastery in campus intervention tutoring.


“Can you hear me now? Good!”


Theatre Committee
Caitlan Leblo

Have you ever gone to a musical or concert and heard someone say, “Well I am sure they were really great, but I couldn't hear the performers.”? Or, “They did such a great a great job, but the feedback from the microphones was terrible!” Our students work tirelessly for months on end rehearsing so they can perform at their best for parents, teachers, and community members. They deserve to be heard! For that to happen, we need microphones.


Stars, Planets and Galaxies…..oh my!


Kim Swann

Beam me up Scotty, we have planets to explore! Wouldn't it be great if space exploration were that easy? I would like to offer 3rd grade students the next best thing. The Fort Worth Museum of Science and History offers an exciting program where they bring the mobile Noble Planetarium to classrooms in Texas. The mobile planetarium will allow students to learn about space in a grade appropriate and interactive hands on setting.  Not only will they learn about space, they will investigate seasons and learn about lunar rotation and phases…, Mr. Chekov take 3rd grade to warp speed!


Can You Hear Me Now?


Melissa Pratt
Jan KrauseTina Winchester

Technology is used to spark curiosity, engage participation and provide instant feedback. The Smartboard allows students to learn in a way that feels much like a game while practicing previously taught material. The document camera allows the teacher to work through a lesson and record the learning. The recording could then be replayed for struggling students to see and hear an objective more than once. The wireless headphones will tie the two together to maximize a productive learning environment using multiple senses. The wireless headphones would allow them to listen to the information presented while tuning out distractions.


Ready Bodies, Learning Minds PLAINSCAPITAL BANK


Sandie Sermarini
Jane Kittleson
Pam Eudley
Melissa Kinnear
Wayne Cooper

Have you ever walked into a classroom and have noticed the children have a hard time sitting up straight, holding their heads up, visually copying from the board, holding a pencil correctly and completing simple two step directions from the teacher? Our student's sensory systems are underdeveloped from our increasingly sedentary lifestyle, which impacts their readiness to learn in the classroom. This grant is requesting funds to purchase the materials to follow a specific sensorimotor lab routine which targets all of these 'prerequisite' skills to assist our student's bodies to be in a position to attend and acquire new skills.







Special Awards

Name of Award




$ Amount

CTE Certification Assistance

Granbury High School

Judy Gentry

GEF CTE Endowment for Certification Assistance


College Visits

Granbury High School




College Visits

STARS Accelerated High School

Ginna Marks  Misty Walters








The GEF’s mission is creating opportunities to invest, encourage, and support educational excellence in GISD. The foundation is designed to be a community effort bringing donations from businesses, civic groups, and individuals to fund innovative teaching grants, student scholarships, and academic achievement for GISD students. GEF is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charitable organization created for the benefit of the school district’s students and staff members and will provide funding not allocated by tax dollars.
Additional information about GEF is available at

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