A small group of men and women armed with noisemakers and balloons disrupted classes at schools throughout Royse City on Friday.
But it was OK because they also were carrying checks — big checks that ranged from $870 to $4,990 and totaled $43,289.
The campus visitors were members of the Royse City Independent School District’s Education Foundation Grant Patrol. They were delivering checks that the education foundation had awarded in innovative grants to teachers across the school district.
They made lots of noise as they entered 16 classrooms during their patrol of the school district.
They were led by Jo Nell Melody, executive director of the education foundation. Jim Mellody, Oralia Lopez and Kari Hollifield were among the board members who participated. They made noise and handed out balloons, Mardi Gras beads and “I’m a Winner” stickers to the winning teachers.
The oversized checks were presented by Superintendent Kevin Worthy.
And Sheila Whitney, the director’s assistant, photographed each classroom scene. She also snapped a group picture of each check presentation.
“This is what it’s all about,” Jim Mellody said after the group made check presentations at Davis Elementary School. “This makes all those (fund-raising) calls worthwhile.”
The winning teachers were excited to see — and hear — the grant patrol enter their classrooms. Some did a happy dance, and some jumped up and down. There were some squeals and some tears.
Carrie Stewart, a third grade teacher at Fort Elementary School, was one who started jumping when the grant patrol entered her classroom area. And when she jumped, her students jumped.
Stewart said the children jumped because they saw the balloons and thought it was her birthday. They jumped again when they found out the visitors were delivering a $4,246 check for the purchase of 22 iPod Touches.
“How do you capture a 21st century learner’s attention?,” was a question asked by the teachers who wrote the “iTouch, iLearn” grant — Stewart, Malorie Murray, Angela Homan, Becky Smith, Jennifer Murrey and Catherine Canzoneri.
“This generation of students has had exposure to electronic, instant worldwide communication and information since they were born,” the application stated. “This is the dawn of the information age and as educators, we must respond in a way that will inspire and engage students toward academic excellence.”
According to the grant application, the teachers plan to share a classroom set of iPod Touches throughout the entire third grade for use in all core content areas.
Patty Smith did a happy dance when she saw the grant patrol enter the cafeteria at Davis Elementary School. She’s a music teacher who had lunchroom duty when the grant patrol made its swing through Davis.
Thanks to the $1,000 grant, Smith’s third grade music students at Davis will perform Disney’s, “The Jungle Book.”
“Come join Mowgli as he watches marching elephants, dances with monkeys, is almost hypnotized by a snake and runs from the dangerous tiger,” stated the grant application, titled “Third Grade Jungle Jive to the Jungle Book.”
“Taken from literature, these incredible characters, combined with toe-tapping music, will set the Davis third grade jiving down the halls when they perform Disney’s ‘The Jungle Book.’ Students will use resources from art, music, computer, library and their classes to collaborate with each other and create an incredible production they will never forget.”
Smith said plans call for the musical to be performed in May at the Royse City Hall School auditorium.
Other Davis teachers listed on the application were Jadetta Grant, Melanie Starnes, Michelle Cole Ann Reel, Debra George, Dorothey Smith and Kristin Yeager.
Monica Evans is another Davis Elementary School teacher who could not suppress her excitement when the grant patrol entered her classroom.
The $2,786 for the “Buds to Blossoms” project will lead to the creation of an outdoor learning center — a sensory garden.
According to the grant application, Life Skills, pre-kindergarten and kindergarten students “will have the opportunity to engage in an inclusive outdoor, hands-on, real life exploration motivated by their senses.
“Our students will be able to explain and elaborate on the differences between plant characteristics, needs of different plants and sort various objects based on a particular detail,” the application stated. “Our students in Life Skills as well as kindergarten and Pre-k will be able to fulfill their tactile/sensory goals in our outdoor learning center.”
Along with Evans, teachers named in the application were Wendy Bessey, Ashleigh Nelson, Crystal Anderson, Ron Cochoron, Cristie McNiel and Lacie Holland.
Other recipients of grants are as follow:
•Angela Dickerson and Stephanie Tate, Royse City Middle School, seventh and eighth grades, a $1,045 grant for “Math is Sweeter with Geometer.”
•Vicki Middlebrook, Scott Elementary School, kindergarten-fourth grade, a $2,743 grant for “Instrumental!”
•Mindy Melasky, Jill Hart and Dalllyn Mitchell, Fort Elementary School, first-fourth grade, a $3,651 grant for “An ‘Apple’ a Day Helps the Knowledge Stay.”
•Brad Abell and Alan Gill, Royse City High School, grades nine-12, a $1,500 grant for “Skeletons in Our Closet.”
•Amanda Nichol, David Canzoneri, Jill Grimes, Kristi Coday, Mandy Turner and Maria Vieda, Fort Elementary School, kindergarten, a $1,794 grant for “Get a Grip on Learning!”
•Stephanie Tate and Angela Dickerson, Royse City Middle School, grades seven and eight, a $4,847.71 grant for “ROBOTS-Royse City Building Opportunities in Technology & Science.”
•Mark Dietz, Alternative Learning Center, grades nine-12, a $1,070 grant for “Capturing Kids’ Hearts: Molding Leaders & Building a Strong Community.”
•Elizabeth Seay, Fort Elementary School, kindergarten-fourth grade, a $1,094.86 grant for “What Would Mozart Do with an iPad?”
•Caroline Jones, Royse City High School, ninth grade, a $870 grant for “The Geometry Classroom on “Video.”
•Jill Jeffrey, Royse City High School, grades 9-12, a $4,990 grant for “Bulldog Pride-Seaming Our Way to the Future.”
•Charles Logston, Royse City High School, grades 9-12, a $2,000 grant for “Bulldog’s BEST Robotics.”
•Stephanie Tate, Tonya Anderson, Penny Lalanne and Kelly Jones, Royse City Middle School, eighth grade, a $4,762.94 grant for “MiPads2-Math Innovative Practice Advancing & Developing Skills.”
•Wendy Peek, Crystal Anderson, Nadine Brown, Casey Wilson, Melanie Starnes, Brett Murrey and Dorothy Smith, Davis Elementary School, kindergarten-fourth grade, a $4,888 grant for “Let’s FLIP this Building.”