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PHMEF Awards more than $16,000 in Spring Grants

Penn Orchestra Director Anne Tschetter practicing with her class

The Penn-Harris-Madison Education Foundation recently announced the recipients of the Spring 2017 grants—with grants totaling $16,640!


Traditional Grant Recipients


Kelso’s Kit: Tools for Kids – Horizon Elementary – Joann Hartline’ Grade K-5  —  300 students; Awarded: $636.73
Kelso’s Kit includes 23 comprehensive lessons that help children make good choices and solve conflicts on their own. The kit will give classroom teachers and/or college practicum students additional tools needed to help students with their everyday life difficulties.

iPod Touches for Walt Disney’s A/V Team


iPod Touches for Walt Disney’s A/V Team – Walt Disney Elementary – Robi Davidson, Emily Beeden; Grades K-4  —  510 students
Awarded: $597
The purchase of the iPods (3) will allow the AV team to record live broadcasts and to connect to other forms of media. In addition, the iPods will allow the team to explore new technologies such as music recording, computer coding, app review, and more extensive photo and video editing.


Wiggling Our Way to Success – Mary Frank Elementary – Lindsay Helman; Grades 3  —  40 students; Awarded: $1,432.34
Alternative seating at Mary Frank will support students who have difficulty focusing. In addition, these seats provide health benefits that include increased metabolism, motivation and engagement, creating better oxygen flow to the brain, and improve core strength.


Strumming Our Way To Musical Success – Horizon Elementary – Jon West and Jeannie Chettleburgh; Grades K-5 — 650 students
Awarded: $1,170
Recently, due to the increase use by pop performers, the Ukulele has quickly risen in popularity. The creates a phenomenon whereby students are expressing a desire to learn to play chords and sing with the Ukulele. The teachers intend to use this natural interest to continue to each the Indiana Music Standards using Ukuleles.


The Walking Classroom – Moran Elementary – Louise Black; Grades 5 — 80-90 students
Awarded: $3,950

Student learning is not limited to sitting in the classroom. This program would allow for a class to walk around/throughout the hallways while listening to pod-casts lessons. Each student audio device is preloaded with 111 pod-casts that are aligned with the 5th grade Common Core curriculum covering language arts, social studies, and health topics.


Documenting Bat Activity in an Urban Habitat Elm Road School – Jackie Anderson; Grade K-5 —  520 students
Awarded: $323.61

From a school’s FIRST Lego League team, this bat house is located on the edges of the school ground. A remote camera, with infrared lighting, will allow students to observe the natural patterns of bats.


Penn Orchestra – Barrage 8 –  Penn High – Ann Tschetter (P-H-M’s 2017 Teacher of the Year); Grades 9-12 —  20 students
Awarded: $450

Earlier in the year, Penn High School hosted an international string group – Barrage 8 – whose focus is to introduce student to the new eclectic and contemporary side of being a string performer. Furthermore, Penn currently houses contemporary music performing groups in band and choir, but not orchestra. This inspired the teacher to create a before or after-school group where students would take their classical training to a “show” format. Students will learn a wide variety of popular, ethnic jazz, and show tunes. The grant will support purchasing 5 musical instruments for students to perform.


Cafetorium Acoustic Development – Grissom Middle – Heather Baker; Grades 6-8 —  600 students
Awarded: $5,181.39

The school’s cafetorium is used for numerous events throughout the school year, including meetings and conferences. The current sound situation involves outdated technology and bare walls to enable a massive amount of reverb and echo. A new system would increase the quality for musical performances, student news programs, athletic events, and student body assemblies.


Serving Students with Calming Sensory Tools – Elm Road – Audrey Kim; Grades K-5 —  520 students
Awarded: $800

As an educational assistant, the teacher has helped students with anger and behavior issues using sensory tools. Students have enjoyed using manipulative tools to help them calm down. Creating boxes that are readily available for students to help channel their frustrations in appropriate ways.


EZ grant recipients ($250 or less)

  • Occupational Therapy Materials: Mary Frank Elementary – Tess Weaver; Grade PreK-8; Awarded: $246.67
  • Book Clubs in the Classroom – Not Just for Adults; Prairie Vista Elementary – Karen Hlade; Grade 5; Awarded: $244.43
  • Electronics Components for Updated Physics Curriculum; Penn High School; Jonathan Lockwood; Grades 11-12; Awarded: $225
  • Aquaponics Experiments to Promote a Sustainable Food Future; Penn High School – John Gensic; Grades 9-12; Awarded: $247.99
  • It’s All About the Bass Bow; Discovery/P-H-M Middle School Orchestras – April Oppenheim; Grade 6-8; Awarded: $234
  • Bike to Build Muscles! Walt Disney Elementary – Kathy Greve; Grades K; Awarded: $250
  • Take a Stand; Discovery Middle – Murray Weaver; Grades 6-8; Awarded: $250
  • Pay Attention! Elsie Rogers Elementary – Stefanie Hanks; Grade K-5; Awarded: $245
  • Table Top Easels; Penn PALS/Elsie Rogers Preschool – Alison Minegar; Grades Preschool; Awarded $250

As a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization established in 1996, the PHMEF develops alternative sources of income to support learning while strengthening the partnership between schools and community.


Since the Foundation’s inception, more than $520,000 have been distributed in innovative teaching grants supporting P-H-M teachers, staff, and students. Click here to see the grants awarded Fall 2016. The Grants Committee is comprised of Foundation board members, community representatives, and a P-H-M administrator who evaluate each grant application.


Dedicated business leaders, administrators, and community volunteers, representing a cross-section of the school community, serve as the board of directors. PHMEF supports education through awarding innovative teaching grants, scholarships to students, staff development and other corporation-wide initiatives.


PHMEF’s funding comes from special events such as its premier Silver Mile Health & Fitness Fair, Donna & Dr. Jerry Thacker 5K Run/Walk for Education, the State of Indiana from the purchase of Read On Education License plates, Corporations for Education, Thank a Teacher, Entrance to Excellence bricks, and individual donations.