May 20, 2013
The GEF Party Bus traveled all over the community on May 17, 2013, as the Granbury ISD Education Foundation announced the winners of grant awards totaling almost $32,000.

Just two days after storms hit several Hood County neighborhoods, foundation board members hoped that the Prize Party would bring hope and encouragement during a trying time in the community, according to GEF president Barbara Townsend.

The foundation had a substantial increase in fundraising allowing for a big increase in grant awards. In 2012, during the foundation’s inaugural year, the board awarded about $20,000 for teaching and school projects – including partial funding to bring the Rachel’s Challenge program to help promote a positive school climate.

The new grants will fund a number of innovative teaching and school initiatives during the 2013-14 school year at several campuses. The group of winning projects includes SMART Boards for a new style of teaching mathematics, a planetarium exhibit, a multiplication boot camp, iPads for cultural fluency in foreign language classes, and new digital cameras for career and technical education programs.

Projects include several endeavors outside of the school building, including an outdoor learning center at Acton Middle School that will create a woodlands ecosystem to enhance student learning. The project is named for H-E-B in recognition of the grocery store’s $10,000 donation in the beginning days of the education foundation.

Along with the GHS Pirate Band drumline and video production students, helping to announce the grants were Townsend, program co-chairs Patti Caraway and Stacy Mitchell, and secretary Lisa Gossard. Other board members on the bus were GISD school trustee Don Walton, superintendent Dr. James Largent, Kelly Garner, Chanda Smith, and Jan Van Dorn. Also attending were GISD school trustees Micky Shearon, Mark Jackson, and B.J. Wallace along with assistant superintendent Carol Howard and district technology director Amy Wood.

Led by director Tahlequah Kirk, the drumline members were Alexis Baker, Chandler Chiappe, BreAnne Daly, Brandon Danz-Shephard, Justin Kochis, and Randy Sillivent. Video production students were Matthew Cisneros and Aubrey Reinhardt.

The full list of grant awards is below:

Name of Grant





Growing Minds, Growing Vines Oak Woods School Renee Hawthorne, Fran Brothers,
Erica Powell, Samatha Barnett, DeAnn Travis
By the Fall of 2013, Growing Minds, Growing Vines will create a school garden and butterfly habitat to engage students in project-based learning across all subject areas, with specific focus on science, math and writing with the ultimate aim of providing experiential learning opportunities for all students. In return, these opportunities will create stronger interpersonal relationships among students as well as increase parental and community involvement in our school. $1,889.35
Student Collaboration in Mathematics with SMART Slates Granbury Middle School Rebecca Strain, Pat Yelverton In order to prepare students for the 21st Century job market and meet GISD Adequate Yearly Progress in middle school mathematics, both of which are GISD goals, mathematics classrooms must change their design. Instead of the teacher being the “giver” and the student being the “receiver” of mathematical information and knowledge, teachers must instead become the facilitator. They must ask the challenging mathematical questions, and students must work collaboratively to solve problems and communicate their thinking and learning to others. This grant is for the purchase of six SMART Slates, which innovatively take the interactive SMART Board directly to the students, so they can efficiently and effectively discuss their problem-solving and thinking with others in the mathematics classroom. $2,047.80
Outdoor Learning Center- Wetlands Area Acton Elementary
Brandy Lillagore, Karla Willmeth, Anna Roe Outdoor education is learning by doing. It is a powerful way to get students excited about the outdoors and interested in hands-on learning about the natural world. We hope to combine a fresh look at science, history, math, language arts, and visual arts with the joy of the great outdoors! Students learn by seeing, touching, and discovering the world around them. Creating an outdoor learning center based on existing GISD property would provide the setting GISD needs to give students cutting edge instructional opportunities that will enrich and extend the district’s curriculum and instill a positive lifelong attitude toward learning. $2,964.22
Enrichment for ALL students Baccus Elementary School Pam Carver, Vonda Ore, Michelle Payne, Lori Ramirez Our goal as an educator is to engage our students. The engineering and programing of robots is an excellent way to apply math, science, reading skills and technology to a Problem Based Learning Enrichment Program. The exposure of current technology for our K-5th grade students will better prepare them for learning in the future in school as well as when they graduate. When students are engaged they are learning. $2,841.33
Astronomy on Wheels Oak Woods School Kristen Thigpen, Melissa Shipp, Chelsey Gibson, Renee Mellencamp, Kathy Williams 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 long programs for each grade level to attend. $915.00
Multiplication Boot Camp Brawner Intermediate
Nicole Moody, Melissa McKelvain, Stacie Brown What did you say? Multiplication Rocks??? I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!! Multiplication Boot Camp will provide intensive exposure, practice and application of basic multiplication facts to students in the 3rd and 4th grades. After an intensive “basic training” in grade level multiplication TEKS at both 3rd and 4th grade, students will apply and extend their knowledge of multiplication by designing and running an actual Boot Camp Training Course for all 3rd and 4th grade students.   $806.28
GISD Outdoor Learning Center: Woodlands Ecosystem


H-E-B Grant Award

Acton Middle School Scott Carpenter, Jimmy Dawson, John Forrester, Kathyrn Habluetzel A district Outdoor Learning Center will bridge gaps between students across various campuses and grade levels. Students will benefit from existing GISD property to create powerful memories and experiences through project-based learning. Creating a woodlands ecosystem will provide students an understanding of how they connect to the world.   Research shows students spend 90% of their time indoors, building walls between themselves and the outside world. Being outdoors opens minds, increases brain activity, thus improving student motivation and creativity. Students will understand environmental stewardship and reflect on how various cycles evolve the land and its inhabitants into a sustainable, living-system. $2,994.19
Low Ropes Course/Outdoor Learning Center Acton Middle School Natilee Noble, Mary Cutlip As we are leaning towards Project Based Learning (PBL), the incorporation of an outdoor learning area will benefit all curriculum areas of our school community. PBL encompasses a cross-curricular problem solving/critical thinking process in the same way Language Arts spams the curriculum. Ropes courses help students develop socially, emotionally, interpersonal skills, teamwork, motivation, self-confidence, and a sense of accomplishment within a group. Part of our students’ future includes the use and care of their environment. Creating an area where critical thinking can occur as well as a place for reflection of thoughts will help connect real life to their education. $2,934.07
DSLR Camera Productions



Granbury High School Judy Gentry, Kristen Baldridge, Dawn Bradley Educators in the Arts and AV Technology cluster have the arduous task of teaching students about an industry that is based on continuously changing technology. Within the past 2 years the CTE department has purchased 6 new camcorders. While these camcorders are good beginning level cameras, the features are extremely limited. As the number of students taking advanced classes continues to grow, the needs of the students change. Digital Single Lens Reflex (DSLR) cameras offer students benefits that are not possible with a camcorder, yet, at the same time cost much less than professional grade equipment.

For this reason we are requesting two DSLR cameras with lenses and accessories.

Cultural Fluency: Using Ipads to enrich the Language Learning Process Granbury High School Tammy Clark, Melinda Rose, Ernie Lambert We will purchase 5 iPads to be used in collaborative groups for the upper level French, Spanish, and German courses. Our goal is to increase the cultural fluency, technological fluency, as well as language fluency with the use of current technology tools in an innovative way to enrich the language and culture classroom. The students will be able to access recording applications to improve both presentational and interpersonal communication, and access authentic materials from the target cultures in order to explore those cultures within the contexts of the foreign language standards.   $2,845.00
The Learning Garden Acton Elementary School Jane Reppa, Phyllis DeRoos Bolton The Learning Garden will afford our students the opportunity to build their knowledge and skills and apply them to multiple challenges which will hold real interest and meaning. This is a real world application for using critical thinking to solve problems creatively now and in the future. The students will become totally engaged in the environment and how it can be responsibly managed and they will have fun learning!  $2,998.00
iLearn. iDiscover. iPad (minis) Baccus Elementary School Kelly Eppler, Anita Gill A long standing model of education functions under the belief that the teacher or the textbook is the keeper of all knowledge and it is the teacher’s role to disseminate that knowledge to their pupils. We cannot operate with that notion in mind. As educators, we are attempting to prepare our charges for jobs that have yet to be created in a world that is quickly leaving our students behind. We must provide our students with opportunities to become adept at using technology to analyze, synthesize, and evaluate the process of learning. Classroom iPad Mimis will aid us in preparing students to be productive leaders and to make meaningful, pioneering contributions in the field of math and science. $2,712.50
Project Based Learning in Hand; The Future Will Not be Multiple Choice Crossland Ninth Grade Center Kim Dove, Diane Fullerton, Rene Jackson, Leslie Tewell Imagine a classroom where teachers make the essential elements of Project Based Learning come alive and bring to light 21st century skills that will enable Crossland students to be college and work-ready as well as effective members of their communities. Granbury Education Foundation can make this a reality by putting iPads in students’ hands on a regular basis through carefully planned English classroom projects.

Recently, the foundation hosted the second annual Academic Recognition Banquet to honor the top 25 students in the Granbury High School Class of 2013. Also included were the students recognizing the GISD employee who has most influenced their education. The banquet was a first for the newly formed education foundation.

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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