Linda Kennedy, left, of the White Oak ISD Education Foundation presents a check to White Oak teachers center to right, Brandi Barlow, Kym Vanbrooklin, and Melissa Stagner Friday, Nov. 22, 2013, at White Oak Primary/Intermediate School.
(Kevin Green/News-Journal Photo)
Longview News Journal
Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 4:00 am | Updated: 7:35 am, Sat Nov 23, 2013.
White Oak ISD Education Foundation awards $30,000 in grants to teachers, campuses
By Glenn Evans firstname.lastname@example.org Longview News-Journal
WHITE OAK — A future neurosurgeon might become fascinated by the movement of impulses across a nervous system by tracking it on bugs, thanks to a $1,040 grant that greeted teacher Desiree Hutchinson-Boyette on Friday.
The physics teacher at White Oak High School was among 29 educators who won more than $18,000 from the White Oak Education Foundation. Another $12,200 was awarded to campuses for proposed projects.
Teachers each year submit proposals to bring projects to the classroom that go beyond what’s been budgeted with taxpayer money. Like many districts, the Roughnecks are benefactors of a nonprofit foundation that raises money, independent of the school, that teachers can tap for special projects.
The White Oak Education Foundation also awards student scholarships each spring.
Linda Kennedy, chairwoman of the grant and scholarship committees, said the foundation has enriched White Oak students and teachers by $491,000 since forming in 2002.
A retired White Oak teacher, Kennedy said she knows what the awards mean to teachers who often spend their own money on supplies for projects they know will excite their students.
“I know how much you appreciate the help that you get,” she said. “Because, the things that people ask for are things they’ve really thought about. It’s kind of like a Christmas gift. And you get to share it with kids, so that spreads the job and the knowledge.”
Grants bestowed Friday covered some or all of proposals for innovative ways to teach science, social studies, reading and other disciplines.
High school physics teacher Hutchinson-Boyette’s proposals always catch the eyes of grant screeners, Kennedy said.
“Every year, she writes up these really cool things,” she said, before describing Hutchinson-Boyette’s proposal, Cockroach Neuroscience, which will equip her students with a tool called a SpikerBox. A bioamplifier, the tool allows young researchers to hear and see spikes as impulses rush through an invertebrate’s nervous system.
The cockroach title probably grabbed Kennedy’s attention, but crickets, earthworms or other invertebrates qualify as subjects for study. The tool is common in graduate level college studies, according to its maker.
“Isn’t that cool?” Kennedy asked. “I almost want to go back to school.”