One of the truly innovative and powerful programs supporting education in our region is the North Central Education Foundation, which honors innovative teachers with grants to bring hands-on learning into the classroom.
Eldene Wall, who is the organizational hero behind the foundation, recently sent me progress reports from a number of grant winners. The care for kids and the passion for helping them progress jumps off the page when you read what they have written. Here are a few stories to brighten your day.
Counselor Trevor Sill of Quincy Junior High School received funding for “Ukeleles for Lunch” and the program has been a big hit.
Students come to his office during lunch and sometimes before school to learn ukelele technique, chord progressions and practice songs by accessing the doctoruke.com
Sill mentioned that he had to restring a couple of Ukeleles for left-handed players. Now that’s going the extra mile for students.
One particular story from Sill stands out. A mental health worker brought a student who was experience high anxiety to Sill’s office. As they were talking, Sill gave the student a ukelele and starting showing him some basic chords.
The student kept playing, began stringing chords together. He told Sill it was the best day at school all year. The student went home with a ukelele and continues to play. “I am happy to report this student has been doing much, much better and although it may not be due solely to a ukelele, I believe music played a part.”
Here’s another powerful story, this time from 2nd grade teacher Brandy Martinez at Mission View Elementary in Wenatchee. She received funding for a modern literature set for her class.
Students read fiction and nonfiction stories in small groups or as partners and they’ve been loving it.
“I hear students say things like, ‘I wonder what will happen next’ or ‘I can’t wait to see how it ends,'” Martinez writes. “It’s truly refreshing to hear students talk enthusiastically about reading,” she added.
She has noticed that students are choosing books during library that are sequels or similar genres to what they have been reading in class, demonstrating that the program is planting important seeds of discovery through the program.
We are so fortunate to have great teachers in North Central Washington and a foundation dedicated to supporting these hands-on learning efforts.
How you can get involved: The North Central Education Foundation partners with organizations, businesses and individuals to provide teacher grants. If you would like to fund a grant or learn more about the foundation, please access ncesd.org
or contact Eldene Wall [email protected]
Quincy counselor Trevor Sill’s ukelele program has engaged students