Panhandle Alliance for Education Announces 2014-2015 Teacher Grant Awards

Authors:  Kathleen Mulroy and Marcia Wilson


Survival in the wild? Bristlebots? A collaborative penny pinching math effort to benefit the food bank? Flying machines? These are just four of the exciting educational projects that students in the Lake Pend Oreille School District will experience next year thanks to Classroom Grants from the Panhandle Alliance for Education.

“It’s truly remarkable; the creativity, imaginative thinking, and entrepreneurial spirit that teachers bring to the classrooms” exclaimed Shawn Woodward, LPOSD Superintendent and member of the Panhandle Alliance for Education’s Grants Committee. The winners of this year’s Grants were revealed and honored at a recent champagne reception and awards ceremony.

Classroom grants for Lake Pend Oreille School District teachers are making a real difference in students’ lives. The Panhandle Alliance for Education awards grants each year in a variety of categories, enabling teachers and principals to request funds for classroom equipment, special training, school investments, and enrichment projects. All subject areas are included, from projects which support the advancement of STEM curriculum (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) to those which enhance students’ understanding of language arts, music and the fine arts. Since 2003, when the Alliance first began the grants program, 518 grants have been awarded. This adds up to an investment in our schools of more than $1.25 million.

The Alliance’s 42 classroom grants for the 2014-2015 school year were recently announced during the annual Teacher Grants Awards Ceremony. The event was held at the Sandpoint Events Center. Shawn Woodward, Superintendent of the Lake Pend Oreille School District, thanked the Panhandle Alliance for Education for its contributions toward improving our schools and welcomed the teachers and principals who were receiving grants. Also in attendance were Panhandle Alliance Board members and staff, and PAFE supporters.

Some of the grants received special recognition at the ceremony. The Dave and Laurie Wall Award for Math and Science was presented to the “Outdoor and More” grant, Sandy Ross, Sandpoint Middle School; the” Multi-Rotor Robotics” grant, Martin Jones, Clark Fork High School; the “Orienteering” grant, Liz Gollen, Sagle Elementary School; and to the “Tools for Inquiry” grant, Perky Hagadone, Northside Elementary School. The Betty Ann Diehl Award for the Arts was given to “Shakesperience,” Melissa Baker, Sandpoint Middle School, and to “Microphones for Music,” Jeannie Hunter, Sandpoint High School. A grant for “Science or Fiction,” Jacki Crossingham, Sandpoint Middle School, received the Glass Slipper Award for Innovation.

 Teacher Grants Awards Recipients 2014-2015







The Panhandle Alliance for Education is a non-profit organization composed of local citizens, businesses, and educators. The organization’s mission is to promote excellence in education and broad-based community support for the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Donations are distributed as a working pool of money used to fund local teacher grants and READY! For Kindergarten, an early childhood literacy program for parents of children from birth to age five. PAFE is building a permanent endowment, which is managed by the Idaho Community Foundation and the Inland Northwest Community Foundation. Local citizens are encouraged to help by making donations. To learn more about PAFE or to make an on-line donation, visit the website at or call Executive Director Marcia Wilson at 208-263-7040.


2014-2015 Panhandle Alliance for Education Teacher Grants Awards
1. Wild Literature, Marni Chantal Lackaye, Sandpoint Middle School
This intensive, six-week seventh grade curriculum – a Survival in the Wild unit – teaches students research techniques, how to construct a survival kit, interview an author, and make a presentation on this type of literature.

2. Science or Fiction? Jacki Crossingham, Sandpoint Middle School
In the area of science, students will study the galaxy and solar system and create “bristlebots.” In language arts, they will be reading non-fiction essays as well as science fiction works. In math, they will calculate how long it would really take to get to Mars and return, and the weight of supplies that must be stowed on the ship.

3. Mediterranean Odyssey, Jeannie Lyon, Sandpoint Middle School
To explore this pivotal section of world history – the ancient Greek culture – students will be placed in a simulation entitled The Odyssey. Activities will be closely tied with the Idaho Core Standards, so they will include close-reading, research, depth of understanding, increase of academic vocabulary and written projects with multi-media supports.

4. Penny Power, Kathleen Taylor, Sagle Elementary
In our 15th Annual Penny Power, children will collect coins and collaborate in groups to count money, identify coins, estimate, add and subtract money amounts and learn U.S. history through the presidents on coins.. Finally, we will shop for the local food bank and deliver our purchases to the food bank.

5. Brain Unit, Caitlin Sandell, Sandpoint Middle School
This extensive multidisciplinary unit is based on brain theories of teaching and learning. It will promote research into and the study of the anatomy and physiology of the human brain. This unit’s hands-on approach immerses students in activities in core content classes: language arts, math, social studies and science.

6. Water Festival, Marshall Mayer, District-Wide
The Pend Oreille Water Festival builds understanding in our students of our area’s natural resources. It also fosters in children the principles of water conservation and stewardship and provides a geographical and historical perspective of the region.

7. Becoming a Bulldog, Satini Puailoa, Sandpoint High School
This program seeks to pilot-test a research-supported model designed to measurably reduce school and online bullying and anti-social behavior through SHS and Farmin-Stidwell Elementary PE programs.

8. Outdoor and More, Sandy Ross, Sandpoint Middle School
On a field trip to the U of I Sandpoint Center, we will participate in field science activities sponsored by experts in environmental science from the University of Idaho, the Department of Environmental Quality, Idaho Fish and Game, and the U.S Forest Service.

9. Indelible Instruction, Jeannie Lyon, Sandpoint Middle School
Louis Mangione will conduct a one-day seminar for the SMS faculty and administration, immersing them in learning techniques endorsed by the Bureau of Education and Research. These techniques will also help teachers to refine the Idaho Core Standards curriculum.

10. Solar Cars, Marcea Marine, Sandpoint Middle School
This unit will teach students about the sun – its internal and external structure – and about the sun’s powerful energy potential. As a culminating project, each student will construct a solar car from scratch. Students will learn the properties of aerodynamics, drag, traction and friction.

11. BrainPOP, Randy Wittwer, District-Wide
BrainPOP is a web-based multimedia student/educator teaching and learning subscription. It delivers student-centered interactive activities and teacher resources which are aligned to the new Idaho State Common Core Standards.

12. Financial Peace, Erin Roos, Sandpoint High School
This curriculum is used multiple times per semester and includes lessons on saving, financial planning and compound interest; responsible use of credit; the dangers of debt; buying a house and a car; student loans; consumer awareness; and investments.

13. Scholarship Step 2, Jeralyn Mire, Sandpoint High School
This past year we were able to accomplish Step 1 of the local scholarship initiative, which included putting many scholarship applications on-line. This new grant will allow us to work with local organizations that still use separate paper applications to create an online version, so students can more easily apply. Sophomores and juniors will also be able to attend the NACAC College Fair in Spokane, WA in the fall.

14. Reading With Lucky, Carolyn Whalen, Northside Elementary
The Learning with Lucky program is proven to be successful at motivating first graders to read. One hundred percent of Northside’s first graders received the highest score possible on the state-mandated Idaho Reading Indicator. In the “Lucky” program, each first grade student receives a stuffed puppy at the beginning of the school year – a loveable “reading buddy.”

15. Trout in the Classroom, Rochelle Chatburn, Southside Elementary
We will set up a school fish tank that will allow our students to witness the full growth cycle of trout, beginning with egg-raising. Students will meet the new Idaho Core Standards as they learn about and monitor tank water quality, engage in stream and lake habitat study, appreciate water resources, foster a conservation ethic, and develop an understanding of ecosystem connectivity.

16. Time for Kids Magazine, Trudy Weiden, Farmin-Stidwell Elementary
The weekly Time for Kids Magazines will be utilized as a resource that allows teachers to teach the Idaho Common Core Standards in an interesting and effective manner, using current and meaningful texts. Also, our students will become more aware of world-wide issues.

17. Kaleidoscope, Debbie Love, District-Wide
Through the Kaleidoscope outreach program, POAC provides visual arts education to our mostly rural and underserved elementary students in grades 3-6. The overarching goal of Kaleidoscope is to create a greater exposure to and appreciation of both fine arts and cultural diversity by our area’s students and adults. This program offers art lessons to Lake Pend Oreille School District #84 and West Bonner School District #83 elementary students, once per month for one to two hours.

18. Building Bridges, Deb Davis, Farmin-Stidwell Elementary
Building Bridges with Unlikely Friends is our unit scheduled at the beginning of the school year. Through realistic fiction, students examine of the possibility of friendship in conflict-filled settings. Assessment includes literature response, explanatory writing, letter writing, reading foundations and class discussions.

19. Teaching in Poverty, Trish Butler, Special Services, Farmin-Stidwell
Farmin-Stidwell has a 61.6 percent student population qualifying for Free and Reduced Lunch. This book study – “Teaching with Poverty in Mind” – will help us better understand the impacts of poverty and its effects on our students’ brains and their learning, social skills and emotions.

20. Multi-Rotor Robotics, Martin Jones, Clark Fork High
We will purchase parts necessary to build a multi-rotor flying machine capable of remote control or supervised robotic operation and a hallway-driving remotely controlled interactive machine. The multi-rotor will be able to do aerial photography and surveying, and the hall-crawler will be interact with student.. Students will develop a strong appreciation for the interaction between science, engineering and math through the use of technology.

21. Learning Labs, Sally Loveless, Washington Elementary
Students are able to use lab equipment like beakers, cylinders and test tubes; they are able to feel as though they really are scientists. This project will include a 50-minute science lesson each week in the 4th, 5th and 6th grade classes.

22. Information Texts, Nancy Wehrle, Washington Elementary
This grant will provide informational texts for the 3rd through 6th grades at Washington Elementary. These texts were specifically requested by our teachers to support the achievement of Idaho State Common Core Standards. Besides the informational texts, we will also be able to purchase fiction that corresponds to the subject being studied.

23. Orienteering, Liz Gollen, Sagle Elementary
The study of Orienteering provides students with hands-on experiences with real-world problem-solving in the subjects of math and science. Fifth and 6th grade students will use FIFID (Fundamental Investigation of the Environment Leading to Discovery) kits. Students will master the use of compasses in orienteering activities and challenges.
24. Science Inquiry, Jody Russell, Farmin-Stidwell Elementary
This equipment grant will encourage science inquiry in Farmin-Stidwell’s 3rd through 6th grades. It will allow students the opportunity to use scientific equipment to learn science that is grade appropriate, emphasizing scientific inquiry.

25. Library Books for Core, Leann Kopsa, Kootenai Elementary
E-Books are becoming an increasingly popular reading tool that we introduced to the entire school this past year. We are finding that even reluctant readers are interested in reading a book if it is on an electronic device. Teachers have requested a variety of e-Books in chapter book form as a top priority.

26. First Lego League Lego Robotics, Dinah Gaddie, Washington Elementary
First Lego League (FLL) provides opportunities for students to think like scientists and engineers and is designed to get them excited about science, technology, engineering and math. In addition, it teaches them valuable employment and life skills. In FLL, students build and program an autonomous robot.

27. MakerBot, Dinah Gaddie, Washington Elementary
This project will allow our students to make connections between 2D and 3D shapes, computer skills and problem solving. Upper elementary grades will use CAD software to solve real-world problems. Participating in the “MakerBot Academy” will be instrumental in encouraging more students toward an interest in advanced math and science.

28. Rock ‘n Roll Literacy, Sandy Lange, Lake Pend Oreille High School
Critically acclaimed Sigmund Brouwer will present his authentic literacy program, “Rock ‘n Roll Literacy,” to students at LPO. This program is designed to immediately engage students in the world of literature through live music and cinematography – connecting with “at risk” youth.

29. Time Magazine, Deb Davis, Farmin-Stidwell Elementary
Time for Kids and National Geographic Explorer expose students to the conventions of a variety of nonfiction reading. They will expose students to real-world current events, which will build valuable background knowledge and vocabulary for their future learning.

30. Idaho Tech Mars Rover Design Challenge, Karin Beno, Southside Elementary
This is a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) competition sponsored by the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium and the University of Idaho. Fifth and 6th grade students team up to design, build and test Mars Rover Lego models following a structured engineering design process.

31. Ovations Education Outreach, Debbie Love, District-Wide
Ovations operates in conjunction with POAC’s acclaimed annual performance series, held at the historic Panida Theater in Sandpoint. This program provides approximately 2,000 students the opportunity to experience enriching, education-based performances hosted by nationally and internationally renowned performers and artists.

32. Green Screen Video System, Mike Turnlund, Clark Fork High School
Access to a green screen system will serve as an incentive for increased student mastery of technology and as a means to increase learning and communication. The amount of research necessary to make an effective green screen presentation (and reach the instructor’s learning goals) is heightened in contrast to what might be necessary for a PowerPoint presentation.

33. Idaho Tech Mars Rover Design Challenge, Ray Bird, Sagle Elementary
The Idaho Tech Mars Rover Design Challenge program is a STEM-based (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) competition sponsored by the NASA Idaho Space Grant Consortium and the University of Idaho. Fifth and 6th grade students team up to design, build and test Mars Rover Lego models following a structured engineering design process.

34. Shakespearience, Melissa Baker, Sandpoint Middle School
Students will read and discuss a Shakespearean play and its characters during a two-week time frame prior to the performance they will attend. All 7th and 8th graders will be involved, and they will see the play, discuss it with the acting troupe, and will engage in post-performance activities with their teachers. Thirty students will participate in the Actors’ Workshop.

35. Before-School Enrichment Program (Tutoring), Jayne Sturm, Northside Elementary
This program encourages students to extend their academic school day by an additional 30 minutes prior to the regular school starting time. Often 90-100 percent of students in the participating grades attend the program. Classroom teachers direct their own enrichment groups, so activities are very pertinent to units of study.

36. Drama Microphones, Jeannie Hunter, Sandpoint High School
These two USB microphones will allow our students to record their voices when working on songs for a musical, listening to their voices when using accents, or helping them memorize lines. This will allow for more creative character development and aid in line memorization.

37. Tools for Inquiry, Perky Hagadone, Northside Elementary
With GPS units and microscopes fitted to our iPads, students can be outside creating their own learning – developing their own questions for investigation and otherwise working like scientists.

38. Bus Safety with Buster, James Koehler, District-Wide
The Buster the Bus program teaches young children school bus safety and the importance of staying safe on and off the school bus. Bus safety is taught by using Buster the School Bus, a fully animated remote controlled robot that interacts with students.

39. Acadeca CORE, Mary Bird, Sandpoint High School
Academic Decathlon CORE enriches the lives of Sandpoint High School students who participate in Acadeca by exposing them to a curriculum that they are unlikely to otherwise encounter during their high school experience. The program requires students to study seven different subjects related to a central them, and then compete in interscholastic academic competitions.

40. Microphones for Music, Jeannie Hunter, Sandpoint High School
Hanging microphones placed strategically on the stage will aid in boosting the sound during performances. The microphones will boost sound and help students gain more confidence in their performances.

41. National Journalism Conference, Barbara Tibbs, Sandpoint High School
Members of the SHS Cedar Post newspaper and Monticola yearbook staff participate annually in numerous regional and national journalism conventions and workshops. There they train in the most current techniques of newspaper, magazine, yearbook, writing, advertising, student press law, and photography production.

42. Kindergarten Scholarships, Jenny Shelton, Hope Elementary
The value of an All-Day Kindergarten program is incalculable in communities like ours, where transportation and access to enriched learning opportunities (such as supervised after-school activities) are extremely limited or non-existent. The most effective strategy to move children out of poverty is to provide them the best education possible early in their learning.