UCPS Teachers Receive LIFT Grants to Inspire and Make an Impact in Their Schools

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Every year, the Union County Education Foundation (UCEF) awards Leadership and Innovation Funding for Teachers (LIFT) grants to UCPS teachers for projects that focus on meaningful experiences and allow students to connect, collaborate, create.

This year, 11 grants totaling more than $12,000 were awarded to teachers throughout the district. On Oct. 29, UCPS Superintendent Dr. Andrew Houlihan and Board of Education members as well as UCEF Executive Director Amy Sperry and board members presented checks to the following five teachers who were awarded LIFT Grants of $750 and up:

Jen Guckenberger (Cuthbertson Middle), Cooking to Learn With the help of the $750 LIFT grant, Cuthbertson Middle students will work with a peer tutor to create their own recipes and meals. In doing so, the students will connect to reading and math standards while working on functional life skills that can be used for years to come.

Louise Glover (Shiloh Valley Primary), Brain Exercise Lab The $1,500 grant awarded to Shiloh Valley will go towards a Brain Exercise Lab that offers students an additional opportunity to move, exercise and collaborate with one another. The creative space will have movement equipment that allows small groups of students to encourage each other and work towards a common goal – ultimately helping to release brain stress chemicals and prepare their minds for learning.

Maureen Donohue (Sun Valley Middle), Fiction Flip With the help of a $750 grant, the fiction book section of Sun Valley Middle’s school library will be split into 11 different genres to allow students to easily find books based on their interest. Transitioning the organization of books from an author’s name to a specific genre is expected to significantly increase circulation. This project will also include personality surveys that will be given to the students to help them identify potential genres they may be of interest to them.

James Wagner (Sardis Elementary), Peanut Butter Jam A $1,500 grant at Sardis Elementary will go toward the creation of a rock band club. Students will meet weekly after school to learn songs in a rock band format, relying on guitars, basses, keyboards and drums which the students will use to write, learn and play songs. A spring concert at the end of the year will allow the students to put their talent and hard work on display.

Michelle Jordan (Forest Hills), Jacket Java With the help of a $1,500 grant, Forest Hills High’s Exceptional Children’s Class will begin a school-based enterprise through the purchase of a mobile coffee cart. The cart, which will be named Jacket’s Java, will provide students with an opportunity to take, prepare and

deliver orders, conduct financial transactions and reflect on vocational experiences. Through the implementation of everyday vocational processes in entrepreneurship, budgeting, accounting, money management, marketing and inventory control, students will make themselves marketable to the workplace.

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