kids at retreat with arms linked

Music Arrangement for Veterans Day

  • Award: $215
  • Applicant: Adam Van Arkel and Emily Van Arkel
  • Students Impacted: 200
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase the rights to arrange music that will be performed annually by the Grinnell Middle School band during the Veterans Day Assembly.

Middle School Maker Space

  • Award: $1,850
  • Applicant: Chelsey Kolpin and Malissa Juni
  • Students Impacted: 200
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase of materials and storage to create a Maker Space at the Middle School.

Text Complexity Awareness through Classroom Non-Fiction Texts

  • Award: $4,000
  • Applicant: Dr. Janet Stutz and GMS Language Arts Teachers
  • Students Impacted: 465
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase of non-fiction books for classroom libraries in 5th through 8th grades. Texts will align with key concepts in science, social studies and language arts and be readily available for students to access to enhance literacy skills.

PlayAways with Matching Books for Library

  • Award: $1,019.80
  • Applicant: Margie Laehn
  • Students Impacted: 480
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase of approximately 15 Playaway audio books and their matching paperback counterparts to help increase student lexile levels.

Stability Balls for 6th Grade Reading and Language Arts

  • Award: $548.73
  • Applicant: Jill Hollingsworth and Alison Hollibaugh
  • Students Impacted: 130
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase of approximately 24 stability balls for use in the 6th grade classrooms in place of desk chairs.

Stand Up Desks in 6th Grade Social Studies

  • Award: $850
  • Applicant: Becca Davis
  • Students Impacted: 130
  • Description: Grant approves the purchase of 2 more stand up desks which allow students to stand while learning and utilize a swing bar for their foot expend excess energy.

Finch Robots

  • Award: $3,499.95
  • Applicant: Bill Gruman
  • Students Impacted: 480
  • Description: 50 finch robots give students opportunities to learn basic computer programming principles and coding language. The grant coincided with the Hour of Code initiative which encourages all students to think of themselves as programmers in order to broaden participation in the field of computer science.

DynaMath Scholastic Magazine

  • Award: $923
  • Applicant: Jennifer Brown and Jill Wagner
  • Students Impacted: 120
  • Description: Each 5th grade math student will receive a copy of this cross curricular magazine featuring high interest nonfiction articles which relate to math and current news events from around the world.

Apple iPad Technology and Document Camera for the Classroom

  • Award: $650
  • Applicants: Robin Brierly
  • Students Impacted: 310 4th-8th graders
  • Description: Funds will purchase an iPad and case. This technology will allow the Reading Specialist teacher increased mobility and easy access to data to assist many students. The iPad will also enable students to move beyond using technology simply for drills and practice, using it instead as a means to gather and graph data, synthesize information in creative ways, and develop problem solving skills.

Children’s Choice and Teen Award Books

  • Award: $3,009
  • Applicants: Jill Crotts
  • Students Impacted: All GMS students
  • Description: The funds will be used to purchase nine sets of Children’s Choice books and six sets of Teen Award books. This will ensure that GMS continues to offer quality reading material to all students without a long waiting period. Having these award-winning books easily accessible will encourage more students to read. The addition of these high-interest books, which have been chosen as winners by previous student readers, will give students more choice over what they read and more enthusiasm for reading in general.

Lexiled Books for the Grinnell Middle School Library

  • Award: $949.90
  • Applicants: Bridget Brandt, Robin Brierly, Jennifer Brown, Lisa Cirks, April Cooper, Tom Dayton, Josh Ellis, Karen Fausett, Rebecca Goltz, Malissa Juni, Margie Laehn, Karen Robbins, Paula Rudolph, Jill Wagner, Julie Young
  • Students Impacted: All GMS students
  • Description: A lexile measure provides information about the difficulty of text in a book or magazine.  Funds will be used to purchase 80 color-coded lexiled books to support the reading, science, and social studies curricula at Grinnell Middle School.

6th Grade Reading & Language Arts iPads

  • Award: $1,050
  • Applicants: Alison Hollibaugh
  • Students Impacted: Approximately 70 6th graders each year

iPad Technology for the Classroom

  • Award: $500
  • Applicants: Jennifer Brown
  • Students Impacted: 75 Grinnell Middle School students each year
  • Description: Funds will be used to purchase one Apple iPad for the 5th grade classroom. Research has shown that incorporating this type of technology as part of a balanced curriculum improves student engagement, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills, which in turn improves test scores. iPads have relevant applications in every content area and can easily be adapted to each student’s specific learning needs.

iPad 2′s For Use In 6th Grade Social Studies

  • Award: $999.98
  • Applicant: Rebecca Goltz
  • Students Impacted: 6th-Grade Social Studies Students
  • Description:  Funds will purchase two iPad 2′s to supplement the GMS Social Studies curriculum. In addition to facilitating current events projects, iPads will ensure that all students become technologically proficient and better equipped to become hands-on 21st century learners.

Smart Music Software and Laptop for Music Department Learning

  • Award: $2,756.88
  • Applicants: Tom Sandholm, Adam Van Arkel, Erlayne Griggs, and Jill Harris
  • Students Impacted: All Middle-School Students
  • Description: Funds will purchase a document camera, an additional laptop and software, updates to an existing laptop, a portable cart, and a staff-lined white board to utilize the most current educational strategies within the 21st-century music classroom. The intent of GMS music department staff is to address individualized needs by delivering consistent, common instruction Students will develop skills needed for success in beginning and intermediate levels of muscianship. By introducing software, methods, and language identical to what is used in high school instruction, Middle School music students will transition to the next level with ease and confidence.

Eight Beanbag Chairs for a Reading Corner in the Classroom

  • Award: $800
  • Applicant: Jill Crotts
  • Students Impacted: 6th-Grade Language Arts and Reading Students
  • Description: The school’s comprehensive goal is to raise the reading scores of all students. In order to do this, students must learn to enjoy reading. Funds will be used to replace 1/2 to 3/4 of the 6th grade reading classroom chairs with sturdy, reliable bean bag chairs, which will create an atmosphere more conducive to reading. Students work best when they are comfortable in their environment. Hard, upright chairs do not lead to this more relaxed atmosphere or the joy of reading.

SMART Technologies for 6th-8th Grade Science

  • Award: $4,400
  • Applicants: Malissa Juni, Angie Richards, and Casey O’Rourke
  • Students Impacted: 6th-, 7th-, 8th-Grade Science Students
  • Description:  In 5th and 9th grade, as well as many other grade levels, the students have large, high-quality document cameras for use in their science classrooms. There is only one small, low-quality document camera to share among 6th, 7th, and 8th grade science students. Funds will be used to upgrade this technology, as well as provide SMART clickers. These purchases will facilitate student engagement and information retention.

8th-Grade Yearbook – Camera and Printer

  • Award: $391
  • Applicant: Cathy Sonnichsen
  • Students Impacted: All 8th Grade Students

Technology for GMS Library

  • Award: $2,646
  • Applicant: Margie Laehn
  • Students Impacted: All GMS students
  • Description: The purpose of this funding is for the purchase of new projectors, speakers, projector carts, and a new screen. Teachers in science, social science, music, and counseling departments are now using this new equipment to access and use online educational resources.

Second Chance Reading

  • Award: $900
  • Applicant: Chelsey Kolpin
  • Students Impacted: Approx. 60 students per year
  • Description: The purpose of this reading program is the rapid acceleration of the rates at which students read and comprehend both fiction and nonfiction text. The program currently serves approximately sixty non-proficient readers in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Trade books replace the textbooks in these reading classes, and an extensive classroom library enables students to find books in their interest area and at their appropriate reading level. Engaging reluctant readers in extensive reading at their recreational reading level is the key to building reading comprehension and fluency.

Evaluating Music and Music Performance

  • Award: $2,297
  • Applicant(s): Roger Henderson
  • Students Impacted: All students enrolled in GMS Music classes
  • Description: This funding is for the purchase of Smart Music software and the computer hardware to implement the program. Smart Music allows a music student to record, play back, and reflect upon his or her performance while practicing weekly lessons. Then the student can email the practice performance to the teacher so the teacher has concrete evidence of the student’s musical growth. The program was successfully piloted during the 2008-09 school year and proved very successful.

* = Contact Teacher

Adventure Learning for 8th Grade Transition

  • Award: $3120
  • Applicants: GMS 8th-Grade Team, Julie Bisher*
  • Students Impacted: All 8th Grade Students
  • Description: This funding will allow the eighth-grade instructional team to pilot a program in May of this year which will provide all of the eighth grade students the opportunity to participate in a six-hour challenge course experience at the Adventure Learning Center in Des Moines. The goal of this project is to provide a meaningful experience that helps the students develop teamwork, problem-solving, leadership and communication skills as part of the transition process to secondary school. There will be both preparatory and follow-up activities that will help the students more fully integrate the experience into their day-to-day choices.

Second Chance Reading

  • Award: $900
  • Applicants: Diana Buter* and Jill Crotts, and Chelsey Kolpin
  • Students Impacted: Approx. 65 students per year
  • Description: The purpose of this reading program is the rapid acceleration of the rates at which students read and comprehend both fiction and nonfiction text. The program currently serves approximately sixty-five non-proficient readers in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades. Trade books replace the textbook in these reading classes, and an extensive classroom library enables students to find books in their interest area and at their appropriate reading level. Engaging reluctant readers in extensive reading at their recreational reading level is the key to building reading comprehension and fluency.

Literature Circles

  • Award: $550
  • Applicants: Diana Buter* and Jill Hulsing
  • Students Impacted: Approx. 125 students per year
  • Description: Literature Circles are characterized by three basic components: self-choice, diversity, and student initiative. Students choose trade books that they want to read and discuss with peers in small groups of four or five students. Within each circle students are in charge of their own learning and have clearly defined responsibilities: leading discussions, making connections, locating and sharing selected passages, and discovering and sharing unfamiliar vocabulary words. The GNEE grant will allow the addition of multiple copies of six new titles to the current classroom collection of Literature Circle novels.

Library Books on Countries

  • Award: $1500
  • Applicant(s): GMS 6th-, 7th-, & 8th-Grade Language Arts, Reading and Social Studies Teachers, Margie Laehn*
  • Students Impacted: Approx. 550 GMS students
  • Description: This funding will provide books that will aid students’ research in the history, geography, and culture of foreign countries. Such research supports student learning in the areas of geography and reading comprehension, both “core academic disciplines” required by the No Child Left Behind Act.

* = Contact Teacher

Math to the Second Power

  • Teachers: Jill Wagner*, Karen Robbins, Tammy Strawser, Becky Heisdorffer, Erin Darrah, Jill Hollingsworth, and Cathy Sonnichsen
  • Students impacted: 5th-8th grade math students all benefit from the materials, but approximately 20 students per grade are in the actual Math to the Second Power class.
  • Description: Math to the Second Power is an exploratory class developed by the middle school math committee to meet the learning needs of our non-proficient math students. This program allows students for additional math time and emphasizes student’s strengths and interests to raise their math skills to a proficient level. Based on Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences, we include activities such as music, manipulatives, computer software, videos, games and other hands-on lessons to appeal to different learning styles.
  • Expected outcome: Math to the Second Power will empower students to be more successful in math and form a more firm mathematical foundation. Our students will be more successful using math in class work and real life applications, as measured by ITBS scores, pre and post classroom testing of students, progress monitoring, and regular classroom assessments.

“We have had a lot of positive feedback from students and parents.”

Second Chance Reading

  • Teachers: Diana Buter*, Jill Crotts, Allison Pease
  • Students impacted: 6th grade-20 students, 7th grade-22 students, 8th grade-21 students. Students are also indirectly impacted by having access to the classroom libraries: 6th grade-45 students, 7th grade-44 students, 8th grade-46 students (numbers for 2006-2007 school year)
  • Description: The goal of the Second Chance Reading program is to increase vocabulary, fluency, and comprehension skills for the non-proficient readers in sixth, seventh, and eighth grades who exhibit great potential for achieving grade level proficiency in reading. Since books are accessible in classroom libraries, books classified by interest area and labeled by reading level, students can select books that they are more interested in at the reading level most appropriate for them. Getting a reluctant reader into the right books is the key to engaging him/her in recreational reading and ultimately creating a positive attitude toward reading!
  • Expected outcome: Results for the first year’s implementation of this program in 2005-2006 were very encouraging, and nearly all students involved in the program showing two years gain in reading comprehension in just one academic year, and many demonstrating as much as three years gain. Students in vocabulary development, with many students showing from 1.5 to 2.5 years growth, also made significant gains.

“I am reading faster – better – and having fun!”

“Before in class when I was supposed to read, I would mess around instead. I used to totally hate reading! Now I’m beginning to love reading. When I read, it makes me concentrate more.”

Resource Alignment

  • Teachers: April Cooper*, Margie Laehn, Sally Kriegel
  • Students impacted: Grades 5, 6, 7, 8/approximate number: 542 students and core teachers, curricular areas: science, math, and reading.
  • Description: 163 library bound books were purchased to support the science, math, and reading curriculum.
  • Expected outcome: Circulation statistics show the increase of these books being checked out. Two evaluations of reading proficiency are used: ITBS scores and SRI (Student Reading Inventory) scores.

“A 5th-grader returned to her classroom and told her teacher, ‘I got it! I got it!’ The student was very excited about getting an Orphan Train book to read from the GMS library after the teacher read an excerpt to the class from the Reading textbook.”

Olweus Bullying Prevention Program

  • Teachers: Jill Hollingsworth*, Rebecca Goltz, Karen Fausett, Julie Bisher*, Ron Deppe, Gary Meldrem and Frank Shults, AEA 267 Judy Barber, Dawn Jaeger, trainer and school nurse Susan Gallo
  • Students impacted: All 6-8 grade middle school students receive a 20-minute bullying prevention lesson once a cycle. Fifth graders are receiving a 40-minute lesson once a cycle. We have 543 students in our school who take part in these lessons once every six days of the school year.
  • Description: The intent of the Olweus Bullying Prevention Program is to empower the majority of the students in the school to get involved when they witness bullying behaviors among their peers. The program looks to identify those students who are having problems with bullying behaviors as well as those students being targeted and help them learn respect for themselves and others. The entire GMS faculty and staff have been involved in the training process. We have established rules for bullying that are currently posted in the school and in business establishments within out community.
  • Expected outcome: Through trainings and teaching we hope to raise awareness in our school and community about the negative and long term effects of bullying. We are assessing the program each Spring when we give a bully-victim questionnaire to all students. After several years we are looking for a reduction in the number or incidents reported by our students. We are also looking at office referral data collected through our positive behavior supports system.

A parent states, “It’s great that the middle school is addressing this issue because it’s very hurtful for those involved in bullying situations during the middle years.”