MPAEF awards $45,000 in Jeanie Ritchie Grants

by Contributed Content on November 22, 2022

The Menlo Park Atherton Education Foundation recently awarded $45,000 in Jeanie Ritchie Grants. These grants were awarded to support 31 innovative projects led by teachers and staff at all four MPCSD schools (Encinal, Laurel, Oak Knoll, and Hillview) and the district’s Early Learning Center (ELC).

Ranging from $222 to $3,820, the grants  provide funding for teachers to integrate innovative curriculum, projects, and experiences in the classroom during the 2022-2023 school year.

 “We received a record breaking 44 applications this year, the largest amount ever!‘ said Francie Maletis and Katie Rottier, Co-Chairs of the Jeanie Ritchie Grant Committee and district parents. “There were many creative and inspiring ideas and we are very pleased to say that we are able to fund 31 of the grants, with 11 grants are focused on Social Emotional Learning and Mental Health.”

 The grant program began in 1984 to honor Jeanie Ritchie, a founder of the Menlo Park-Atherton Education Foundation. District teachers have been applying for these grants for over 38 years. Each year, teachers with unique teaching concepts prepare a comprehensive proposal and present their idea to the Jeanie Ritchie Grant committee who evaluate the proposal to see if it meets the program’s three key qualities of innovation, curriculum enhancement, and sustainability.

Below is a full list of this year’s awarded programs, which will be implemented during the 2022-2023 school year.

  • Play and Learning in the Outdoor Classroom, Cecilia Cruz (Early Learning Center)
  • Sensory Self Regulation Project, Elizabeth Bonilla (Early Learning Center)
  • Let’s Read at Recess, Jeanne McCann & Sydney Merk (Encinal)
  • Learning for Justice Community Read, Michelle Betancourt (Encinal)
  • Author Study – Getting to know the Questioneers, Rachel Naishtut (Encinal)
  • Celebrating Diversity through Art, Rachel Naishtut (Encinal)
  • Leveling the Playing Field, Susan Preston (Encinal)
  • Living the Diversity in Spanish Culture, Benjamin Salas-Velasco (Hillview)
  • Access for All – Participation in Physical Education, Cheryl Arner (Hillview)
  • Your Empowered Self, Jacky Schlegal (Hillview)
  • Connecting the Body Systems with Comic Book Creations, Leonardo Schneiderman (Hillview)
  • Mo’Fone – Introducing the Second Line & Funk, Richard Vaughan (Hillview, Oak Knoll, Encinal & Upper Laurel)
  • Social Justice Community Reads, Eva Sullivan (Lower & Upper Laurel)
  • Shakespeare:  Where There’s a WILL, There’s a WAY, Jeriann Hirsch (Lower Laurel)
  • Make it Stick, Lilana Gomez (Lower Laurel)
  • Cultural Connections Through Latin America Music, Allison Ziff (Lower Laurel, Encinal & Oak Knoll)
  • Sensory Wall for All, Celeste Lopez (Oak Knoll)
  • Outside Math, Elizabeth Wood & Joyce Chan (Oak Knoll)
  • Brave Room, Nicole Scott (Oak Knoll)
  • Weekend Math Game Carts, Sara Bartlett (Oak Knoll)
  • When Does Your Bridge Break, Sara Bartlett (Oak Knoll)
  • Poetry Project for 2nd Grade, Sara Bartlett (Oak Knoll)
  • Valuing Nature in the Steam Lab – Fairy Houses & Lizard Lounges, Steffany Cressey (Oak Knoll)
  • Bioluminescence and Phosphorescence:  Glowing Animals Gruesome and Glorious, Steffany Cressey (Oak Knoll)
  • Mock Caldecott, Jacqui Cebrian (Oak Knoll & Encinal)
  • After the Pink Pot – Slab Built Ceramics, Angela Gardner (Upper Laurel)
  • Notice & Note Close Reading: Diversity and SEL Collection, Kim Nero (Upper Laurel)
  • The Zen Den:  Indoor/Outdoor Wellness Center, Leigh Wilson (Upper Laurel)
  • The Calm Classroom, Sara Teeple (Upper Laurel)
  • SHAPE: a new math curriculum, Sara Teeple (Upper Laurel)

Click here to view some of last year’s (2021-2022) successful Jeanie Ritchie Grants.

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