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Teachers, students unveil innovative curriculum funded by DPEF grants

Written by Bobby Vasquez. Posted in Schools

Grant recipients from the Deer Park Education Foundation recently demonstrated some of their innovative teaching aides and curriculum to Foundation supporters. The grant showcase highlighted technology, spatial skills, sensory and environmental engagement and more.

DPEFdemos2Deer Park ISD teachers recently demonstrated the innovative curriculum they purchased with grant funds awarded by the Deer Park Education Foundation. The Foundation, celebrating its 25th anniversary, has put more than $2 million back into the DPISD classroms through its grant program. Photo by Bobby Vasquez.Representatives from all Deer Park ISD campuses demonstrated their innovative teaching aides that were purchased through grants funded by the Deer Park Education Foundation. Teachers and students showed off their wares using hand bells, incubators, computer coding toys, geometry and fraction models and much more at the Deer Park ISD Education Service Center.

Kimberly Ayala, a Parkwood Elementary teacher, said receiving a Foundation grant has inspired creativity and learning in her classroom. She and other Parkwood teachers were awarded a grant that brought geometry and fraction models to life.

“We can talk all day about a three-dimensional shape, or draw it on the board, but to actually touch it and see it makes a world of difference. It makes things come to come to life,” she said. “If not for the grants, our students would not be exposed to this.”

The fraction models have allowed students to discover similar fractions – like one-half and two-fourths are the same, she said.

“They can see how geometry works instead of imagining it,” said Ayala.

Jennifer Torres, who heads the Deer Park Education Foundation, said the Foundation is excited to see what teachers do with grant funds.

"The teachers are so excited to share. It creates a community collaboration when they share what they are doing with supporters or other teachers," she said. "They all start with the idea to enhance the classroom experience and have so much joy when it comes to fruition. To see the teachers and students excited makes us excited."

Jennifer Winters and Kelly Butterfras, who also teach at Parkwood, said receiving a grant to purchase an incubator has breathed new life and excitement into their campus.

For 21 days, elementary students watched their textbooks come to life as they eagerly waited for eggs to hatch.

“They got to see from the egg to the hatch,” Winters said. “We incorporated learning calendars and counting and other lessons into using the incubator. It generated a lot of excitement among all the students.”

Butterfras said the students benefited from being able to see the concepts rather than just learning from textbooks.

“Our students are only four and five years old, so the more opportunities we have to provide them visual concepts, the better,” she said. “They can take more from this type of learning. It was hands on and inclusive.”

This year, the Deer Park Education Foundation is celebrating its 25th anniversary and has awarded more than $2 million in grants since its inception.