Gallery: Plano ISD Education Foundation awards grants to teachers across the district

Special Education teacher Aleli Nucum-Jones was the one of the first to receive her grant Nov. 12 during the Grant Patrol. Her grant will go toward literacy kits for Special Education students and students in all grades at Meadows Elementary. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Special Education teacher Aleli Nucum-Jones was the one of the first to receive her grant Nov. 12 during the Grant Patrol. Her grant will go toward literacy kits for Special Education students and students in all grades at Meadows Elementary. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

Special Education teacher Aleli Nucum-Jones was the one of the first to receive her grant Nov. 12 during the Grant Patrol. Her grant will go toward literacy kits for Special Education students and students in all grades at Meadows Elementary. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)

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Dallas Gutierrez is caught off guard by the Grant Patrol as she leads her fourth-grade students down the hallway of Meadows Elementary. Her grant will pay for museum instructors from the Perot Museum to visit fourth-grade students in their classes. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Third grade teacher Ellen Nagoski begins dancing in celebration as the Grant Patrol approaches. Her grant will go toward speaking centers to encourage parent engagement and increased language skills. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Head Start teacher Kristi Vest recieves a grant for improvements to the writing program at the pre-K level, including tools to strengthen motor skills and writing strokes. Superintendent Sara Bonser embraces Vest as she presents the award. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Students from Kristi Vest's Head Start class celebrate their teacher's grant award for pre-K writing. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Superintendent Sara Bonser arrives at Armstrong Middle School as part of the Grant Patrol. Eight cars left from the Park Place Lexus Plano to begin awarding grants to teachers and staff Nov. 12. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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AVID teacher Kristin Haney reacts as the Grant Patrol enters her classroom. Her grant will allow for Armstrong Middle School to take a schoolwide college campus visit. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
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Armstrong Middle School teacher Mary James shows her grant award to her classroom. The grant was awarded to James by Cherie Lo, senior manager of corporate communications at Huawei, one of the Grant Patrol's sponsors. James' grant will go toward the school's Social-Emotional Support Site Team and will provide tools for calming and restorative teaching practices. (Liesbeth Powers/Community Impact Newspaper)
Grants to Educators, a program run by the Plano ISD Education Foundation, provided $125,000 in grants to more than 100 teachers across the district. To present these grants, the Grant Patrol visited winning classrooms the morning of Nov. 12.

“It's such a great day because you have no idea until you've done this how much it means to the teachers for their thoughtful innovation to be honored by the foundation and supported,” Plano ISD Superintendent Sara Bonser said. “They really, really believe, and that does make such a difference in the teaching and learning that our students are receiving at Plano ISD.”

Grant applicants can be submitted by individual teachers, groups of teachers, grade levels or entire schools. Winning amounts range from $250-$1500 and provide funding for projects demonstrating instructional excellence, according to a Nov. 8 release by PISD.

“We did have a little bit of a different twist on this year's application—is that every teacher who submitted a grant had to connect it back to the new strategic plan,” Bonser said. “Every grant that was submitted and that was granted today will move us closer to meeting the pillars of the strategic plan.”

Armstrong Middle School received 6 grants—the largest amount awarded to one campus this year. Principal Melissa Blank said she encourages her staff to apply every year.


“We encourage every department to submit as many grants as they can, so I'm so glad this year,” Blank said. “This is really a great example for them [students and teachers] to see and to know that there are so many people who care about Armstrong, who love us and support us.”

The Grant Patrol was made up of district and community leaders, sponsors, parents and volunteers. The patrol was sponsored by Medical City Plano, Huawei and Park Place Lexus Plano, who provided eight cars for travel between campuses.
By Liesbeth Powers
Liesbeth graduated from Baylor University with a degree in new media journalism in December 2018. She gained her newspaper experience as a staff writer and multimedia editor at her campus paper, The Baylor Lariat. Liesbeth joined the Community Impact team in August 2019, where she reports on all things Plano, including education and transportation.


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