Teachers Receive $1,000 Grants for Classrooms Projects

The Community Foundation of NCW recently visited schools across North Central Washington delivering Classrooms Can! grant awards to teachers in their classrooms. Staff, board members, and selection committee volunteers surprised teachers in their classrooms with their award certificates.

Classrooms Can! is part of the foundation’s Community Grants Program that provides teachers with a $1,000 grant for innovative and exciting classroom projects that engage the hard to reach learner. Over 130 applications were received and 47 were funded. Awards were distributed in five areas: Arts Education, Literacy, Math & Science, Technology, and Wellness. Teachers in K-12 public schools were able to apply for grants in one or more categories, with up to 10 projects to be funded in each category.

Each area had a selection committee comprised volunteers in the community with expertise and experience one of the five areas and one student. Projects will be implemented in the 2013-2014 academic year.

Award recipients by area are as follows:

Arts Education

  • Bridgeport Elementary – Ms. Tabitha Brownfield, Classrooms Can Take a Trip Around the World: purchase of two floor maps to take students around the globe and learn about different animals through drawing and poetry
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Mr. Clifford Bull, Classrooms Can Share Cultures through Mariachi: purchase of mariachi instruments for each student to be able to take home, practice, and return to share
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Ms. Maria Gonzalez, Classrooms Can Perform Reader’s Theater: perform stories and have students evaluate performances
  • Lincoln Elementary – Mrs. Tanya Iwaasa, Classrooms Can Make Musicians with Ukuleles: purchase a class set of ukuleles and teach students to play
  • Methow Valley Independent Learning Center – Ms. Kim Odell, Classrooms Can Be Art: students to work with local artists and craftsmen on unique art pieces with a focus on community and identity
  • Okanogan Middle School – Mr. Dan Brown, Classrooms Can Create in 3D: creaste plaster 3D works of art, casts of hands, plaster masks
  • Virginia Grainger Elementary – Mr. Jim Anderson, Classrooms Can Connect Art and Fish Biology: design and create original block prints of fish while learning about fish habitat and healthy communities
  • Virginia Grainger Elementary – Ms. Gail Ridenour, Classrooms Can Bring the World to Students: learn a West African song and dance and perform it at a school concert
  • Wenatchee High School – Mr. Brian Higgins, Classrooms Can Bring Shakespeare to Life: bring a Shakespeare troupe to Wenatchee High School so students can experience the plays and have an opportunity to perform
  • Washington Elementary – Ms. Lynda Huson, Classrooms Can Master Math Through Theater: students will participate in Mastering Math, a theater production, and will be charged with set creation, costume design, and performance


  • Foothills Middle School – Ms. Jana Sutton, Classrooms Can Become History Professors: students will choose a time period and become experts through screen media, nonfiction and historical novels, and become “professors” by sharing with the class
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Ms. Lucy Garcia, Classrooms Can Read Successfully with Soccer: a reading tutoring program where students meet reading goals that are recorded on a soccer-themed class graph with an end of the year celebration with the Wenatchee Fire soccer players
  • Liberty Bell Junior/Senior High School – Ms. Dani Golden, Classrooms Can Romance the World: poetry residence with poet laureate Sam Green to include student reflection assignments, poetry writing, and presentation with an opportunity to be published through Methow Arts Alliance
  • Manson High School – Ms. Jennifer Koth, Classrooms Can Read College Bound Novels: challenge students to read college-bound novels, particularly those written by women and minorities that have readability accessible to all levels
  • Mission View Elementary – Ms. Mary Berdine, Classrooms Can Become Voracious Readers: “Good Fit Books” to increase fluency rate, take home, and use to read out loud at Family Literacy Night
  • Peshastin-Dryden Elementary – Ms. Lindsay Camp, Classrooms Can Kick-Start Literacy: “Kick-Start” literacy boxes that include a book, retelling materials (such as puppets, action figures, masks, etc.) and journaling to go home with students on a rotating basis
  • Pioneer Middle School – Ms. Sandra Lancaster, Classrooms Can Read Better Through Technology: purchase audiobooks to use for Battle of the Books competition where students are grouped in teams and read 22 books and battle through questions about the books
  • Vale Elementary – Ms. Alicia Smith, Classrooms Can Bring a Character to Life: students will research a famous person, write a speech from the character’s point of view, and perform it in costume during a classroom-created “was museum”
  • Wenatchee High School – Ms. Malia Renner-Singer, Classrooms Can Impact Public Policy: 12th grade students will work in teams to identify a problem in our community/state, its current solution, evaluate alternatives, determine their own solution, and create an action plan
  • Wenatchee High School – Ms. Mary Symonds, Classrooms Can Inspire Young Students to Read: videotape Natinoal Honor Society club members at Wenatchee High School reading and sharing their enthusiasm for books and share it with first and second grade classrooms in the district

Math & Science

  • Beaver Valley Elementary – Mr. Eric Tiegel, Classrooms Can Collaborate, Construct, and Celebrate Imagination: build a geo-thermal schoolyard playhouse with garden roof and solar enhancements, designed and built by 1st-4th graders
  • Bridgeport High School – Mr. Eric Schmidt, Classrooms Can Learn about NCW Biology: observe ecological diversity of neighboring abandoned orchard through sampling plants, insects, fungi, and birds that inhabit the area
  • East Omak Elementary – Ms. Lisa Baum, Classrooms Can Be a Measurement Lab: create a centrally-located measurement labe for grades 3-5 that they will access once a week to build their measurement skills
  • East Omak Elementary –Ms. Cathy Darley, Classrooms Can Plant Seeds of Learning: a holistic garden project emphasizing sustainable foods and ecology using seed-to-table gardening
  • Foothills Middle School – Mr. Kyle Hurst, Classrooms Can Go Beyond the Building and Be Thrilling: dynamic review games where students have physical challenges mixed with academic challenges, answering academic questions while performing physical activities
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Ms. Nancy Navarro-Ortiz, Classrooms Can Become Greenhouse Biologists: purchase of a greenhouse to teach plant life cycles and characteristics over time
  • Liberty Bell Junior/Senior High School – Mr. Bob Wilson, Classrooms Can Make Electric Guitars: teach STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts thorugh assembling electric guitars
  • Peshastin-Dryden Elementary – Mr. Dan Phelps, Classrooms Can Reduce Food Waste: students will collect fruit and vegetable lunch scraps and recycle it through vermicomposting and use resulting casting for school garden box
  • Washington Elementary – Ms. Jill Reinfeld, Classrooms Can Make Math Fun: create math games from simple items found in the home, focusing on teaching a particular math skill, with some students presenting their games at Family Math Night
  • Wenatchee School District Enrichment Program – Ms. Kari DeMarco, Classrooms Can Invent: “Invent Washington”, a program for 4th and 5th grade visual/spatial learners in “studio” classrooms to help think outside teh box and become inventors


  • Cashmere High School – Ms. Karin Blomquist, Classrooms Can Bring Enthusiasm for Exercise: develop fitness curriculum to inspire students to seek exercise outside of the classroom, including yoga, pilates, modern dance, and zumba
  • Columbia Elementary – Mr. Ryan Weaver, Classrooms Can Focus and Learn While Having a Ball: exercise balls for students to use as chairs in the classroom
  • Entiat Elementary School – Ms. Floy Kay Arras, Classrooms Can Move: movement activities to develop hand/eye coordination, gross motor skills, balance, and cooperation
  • Entiat Elementary School – Dana Cada, Classrooms Can Inspire Healthy Living: implement the “Stress Free Kids” curriculum that includes reasearch-based stress management techniques, stories, songs, movement, books, and lesson plans
  • Foothill Middle School – Ms. Tracey Reese, Classrooms Can Motivate Students to be Active: purchase mini trampolines for student exercises
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Ms. Maria Gonzalez, Classrooms Can Cook Farm Fresh Food: purchase seasonal foods from Community Farm Connection and prepare healthy recipies in the classroom while learning about classifications of plants and food
  • Lincoln Elementary – Ms. Tina Nicpan-Brown, Classrooms Can Learn While They Burn: exercise balls for each student in the classroom to use as their chairs and use during transitions and for “brain breaks”
  • Tonasket Elementary – Ms. Rose Corso, Classrooms Can Grow Healthy Minds: build a school garden
  • Washington Elementary – Mr. Aaron MacKenzie, Classrooms Can Go Old School: purchase of “The Exploerer Kit”, a field guide that includes directions on how to facilitate over 100 energentic, comprehensive activities including equipment
  • Waterville Schools – Mr. Dan Lopez, Classrooms Can Cross Country Ski the Plateau: create a cross-country ski club


  • Entiat Junior/Senior High – Mr. Dan Durr, Classrooms Can Create Engineers: design a solar-powered car
  • Icicle River Middle School – Ms. Anastasia Habergerber, Classrooms Can Create Movies: help students develop media literacy skills through creation of personal narrative films and documentaries using iMovie or Moviemaker
  • Lewis and Clark Elementary – Ms. Maria Gonzalez, Classrooms Can Publish Digital Books: digitally publsh a story through iMovie
  • Liberty Bell Jr/Sr High School – Mr. Bob Wilson – Clssrooms Can Build Electric Guitars
  • Lincoln Elementary – Ms. Tina Nicpan-Brown, Classrooms Can Learn Robotics: introduce STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) concepts and robotics through “Lego WeDo” kits
  • Manson High School – Mr. Erik Helleson, Classrooms Can Solve Crimes Using DNA: students become forensic scientists and solve crimes through interviewing subjects and analyzing fingerprints through DNA electrophoresis
  • Valley Academy of Learning – Mr. Jim Mugg, Classrooms Can Compute: purchase of Raspberry Pi single-board computers to teach students basic computer science, revealing the inner working of connections and computers

In partnership with the United Way of Chelan-Douglas Counties, Classrooms Can! grants are funded for 4 years (through 2016) through a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Xitlali Cruz


I am currently pursuing a degree in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Computer Science at Stanford. Since the beginning of my freshman year I have been involved with clubs such as Stanford’s Space Initiative (SSI) and the Society of Latinx Engineers (SOLE). In SSI I built a rocket and launched it.


Aero Methow Rescue Service


Due to being rural, remote, and geographically isolated, we must be prepared to do more than respond to emergencies. We have become a healthcare partner who fills gaps in service. The grant allowed our board the time and ability to work with a Strategic Planner to modify our plan to address those gaps.


Chelan Douglas Volunteer Attorney Services


The grant provided funds to hire a Housing Justice and Outreach Coordinator to visit rural and underserved areas. Rosie’s bilingual and bicultural skills and experience have increased equity of service. Rosie is building partnerships with local organizations through events such as the Columbia Valley Community Health’s Back to School Drive, as well as posting yard signs.

Tenoch Mandujano

Tenoch Mandujano

Scholarship Recipient

My father was a migrant agricultural worker who eventually started his own cherry and apple orchard. He told me if I wanted to live a better life, I had to get an education. I plan on starting a career with the Chelan PUD with a passion for renewable energy and in turn give back to my parents and community for supporting my dreams.

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