PPIE announces 2015 'Innovative Education Grant' winners


The Pleasanton Partnerships in Education (PPIE) Foundation announced Wednesday its 2015 Innovative Education grant recipients, awarding almost $40,000 to 19 educators from a variety of elementary, middle school and high schools in the Pleasanton Unified School District.

PPIE offers educations grants for PUSD employees to fund projects that are student-focused, promote creativity and innovative thinking, and offer expanded learning opportunities to students. Grant requests are accepted in amounts up to $3,000 to supplement, but not to replace, district funding.

Local companies, specifically Oracle Corporation, gave PPIE a grant of $30,000 for science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) related projects. In addition, The Clorox Company granted the Innovative Grant Program $5,000.

According to PPIE representatives, the foundation was able to fund close to half the number of grant requests received due to the generosity of local companies.

"We are grateful to our corporate partners who support this program. They recognize innovation can be explored at all ages and all grade levels," said PPIE executive director Susan Hayes. "Their participation also extends to the grant committee, where they bring insight and enthusiasm to the process."

This spring, PPIE also awarded competition grants to PUSD's comprehensive high schools. The grants aim to support school-sponsored, non-athletic programs, clubs and teams advancing to regional, state and national levels.

A $1,000 grant was awarded to Amador Valley High School's Competitions Civics Team, and Foothill High School's Debate Club and Model United Nations both received $500.

"The reality is that the more successful these academic teams become, the higher the out-of-pocket costs required to continue in the competition process. PPIE is honored to help offset those costs to support these hard-working students," Hayes said.

PPIE's student, education and competitions grant programs have awarded over $900,000 in grants to date throughout the Pleasanton school district. Companies interested in donating to the PPIE Innovative Grant Programs can email Hayes at

The following were named 2015 Innovative Education Grant recipients:

• TEDx Amador Valley High School

$2,850.00 – Erik Scherer and Amber Carrion, Amador Valley High School

Funds support an official TEDx event for freshman slated for September, 2015.

• Creating a 21st Century Classroom

$2,500.00 – Wendy Connelly, Amador Valley High School

Funds support transitioning to modular-style classroom

• Interactive Document Camera

$770.00 – Michael Leitz, Foothill High School

Funds support enhancing student writing with interactive document camera

• Alisal Library Re-Design

$2,990.95 – Elizabeth Shakelford, Alisal Elementary School

Funds infrastructure improvements for library re-design

• Robotics and Automation- Solving Real World Problems

$2,714.00 – Linda Boveda, Lydiksen Elementary School

Funds 10 iPad Minis for Project Lead the Way STEM projects

• Engineering Earthquake Applications

$2,992.40 – Laurie James, Amador Valley High School

Funds purchase of Earthquake simulator "shake table" for Project Lead the Way

• Digital Electronics Workshop Kits

$2,921.20 – Cheri Weinhagen, Hart Middle School

Funds purchase electronic circuitry workshop kits to be shared with all three middle schools

• Anatomy Clay

$1,698.02 – Diane Farthing, Amador Valley High School

Funds purchase Maniken Models for kinesiology projects

• Bringing Zoology to Life

$2,541.76 – Francisco Garcia, Foothill High School

Funds provide lab supplies and models for zoology projects

• Protein Models

$2,182.86 – Lata Mistry, Amador Valley High School

Funds support modeling projects in alignment with new standards

• STEM Teacher Training

$1,500.00 – Kristin Mulhern, Alisal Elementary School

Funds support Project Lead the Way Training at elementary level

• Bringing Anatomy to Life through Hands-On Dissection

$1,200.00 – Renee Ogle, Amador Valley High School

Funds provide project supplies for hands-on project and student video tutorial

• Supporting NGSS with Tablets in Chemistry

$2,050.00 – Paula Simms, Amador Valley High School

Funds support purchase of tablets and projector for modeling and virtual exploration

• Biographies in the 21st Century

$1,478.48 – Carol Digirolamo, Alisal Elementary School

Funds support purchase of chromebooks for online literacy research to bring user ratio to 2:1

• Welcome NGSS and Common Core

$2,827.10 – Amy Turner Bull, Amador Valley High School

Funds to purchase tablets to convert data collection from single computer to multiple users aligned with life science standards

• Bringing STEM to Alisal with Project Lead the Way

$1,500.00 – Cassandra Fuller, Alisal Elementary School

Funds purchase iPads to support launch of Project Lead the Way curriculum at the elementary level

• 3D Printers- From Tortoise to Hare – Project Lead the Way

$2,756.00 – Warren Jensen, Pleasanton Middle School

Funds purchase three Robo 3D Printers for the 3 middle school Project Lead the Way Gateway to Technology classes.

• iPads and Movie Cameras for Journalism

$1,500.00 – Kathy Nichols, Pleasanton Middle School

Funds purchase iPads for enhancing video reporting projects for The Imprint, online newspaper.

• Digital Video – The Next Generation

$2,005.00 – Yoko Oda, Pleasanton Middle School

Funds purchase VIXIA HF R500 Video Cameras for collaboration in video journalism.

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