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teacher readingDirect Impact: Second Round of Student Opportunity Grants Awarded

Congratulations to the following teachers who have been awarded funds through the education foundation’s Student Opportunity Grant program; and thank you to the many individuals, families and businesses who contribute to the foundation to make these grants possible! Your support directly impacts the lives of student in K-12

Developing Empathy & Compassion through Reading

Brittany Snavely, elementary librarian at Spring Creek Elementary, has been awarded $1,000 to expand the collection of biographies. According to Snavely, reading biographies, books that detail other people’s lives and experiences, helps children learn to see the world through a new lens. Biographies can broaden our worldview and encourage the development of important characteristics like empathy and compassion for others.

Early Access to Technology for College and Career Advantages

Troy Alesi, Technology Education/STEM teacher at State High, has been awarded $2,500 to obtain a Resin Laser 3D Printer for his classroom. A collaboration among the education foundation, Penn State engineering professor Tim Simpson, and Alesi will create advanced learning for students in technology and STEM. Simpson has agreed to match the foundation’s $2,500 grant to help Alesi purchase the printer. Alesi says the grant will enable students to have valuable early interaction and learning opportunities with the type of advanced technology they may use in college and their careers.

Connecting School and Community in a Shared Experience

April Rizzo, an Instructional Coach at Easterly Parkway Elementary, has been awarded a $2,400 grant for a community-building project called “Together We Read.” Rizzo describes “Together We Read” as a special multifaceted event that celebrates reading and incorporates in-school activities, at-home opportunities, and whole-school connections over the course of several weeks. The event will connect students, families, teachers and the community in the shared experience of enjoying and engaging with the same work of literature.

New Equipment to Spur Creativity and Career Planning

John Cimino, an English Teacher at Park Forest Middle School, has been awarded a $978 grant from for the creation of an audio lab with three music and audio production work stations. Cimino says students can use the stations for school projects and to foster their artistic talents by producing unique and creative work, such as podcasts and original pieces of music. In addition to inspiring students’ creativity, Cimino says access to the equipment will introduce students to potential career opportunities.