Winners of the 2013 Project Classroom grants announced

    October 4, 2013

    Greater Iowa Credit Union has announced the four winners of its ProjectClassroom competition which annually awards $1,000 grants to K-5 schools to support innovative academic programming. 

    The winnings schools are: East Sac County Middle School in Sac City, Iowa; North Tama Elementary in Traer, Iowa; St. Cecilia School, Ames, Iowa; and the Ames Community School District, Ames, Iowa.
    “This is one of the most rewarding things we do at the credit union,” said Michael Adams, vice president of marketing and public relations. “Now in its third year, ProjectClassroom gives us an opportunity to contribute something significant to school kids. Teachers love the program; administrators love the program. And we love the opportunity to visit the schools and give them a check in person. You should see some of the thank you cards we get.”
    Each spring, Greater Iowa launches a new call for entries with winning schools announced in October. The deadline for entries is September 1 of each year. The criteria used for selecting the winning schools includes an essay that addresses how the funds will help enhance the academic environment of the school and whether the projects are of a “compelling, creative or unique” nature.
    East Sac County Middle School in Sac City, Iowa
    The East Sac County Middle School will use the funds to “engage (students) in science, engineering, math and technology,” according to the winning essay. Their funds will be used to purchase a K’NEX Amusement Park Experience Education Kit, which provides hands-on study of force and motion using a typical carnival ride. The winning essay was authored by Micheala Engel, who teaches fifth-grade science.
    North Tama Elementary in Traer, Iowa
    The North Tama Elementary project will involve the purchase of some Alta II Reflectance Spectrometers to increase engagement in the study of light and the light spectrum. Students will have the opportunity to work in small groups to design and conduct their own experiments. This spectrometer is considered appropriate for use in a fifth grade classroom. The winning essay was submitted by Lisa Chizek, who teaches fifth grade at the school.
    St. Cecilia School, Ames, Iowa
    Melinda Stahr, writing to support Lisa Teske, who teaches art at St. Cecilia School in Ames, plans to host a week-long Tiny Circus workshop at St. Cecilia’s with the grant. The circus uses the medium of stop-motion animation to create and tell stories, culminating in a school/community-wide presentation of a unique stop-action film featuring the school’s students and teachers. As Stahr wrote in her essay: “(The students) will be able to demonstrate the use of unique one-of-a-kind images and the importance of the idea, as it applies to the visual arts.”
    Ames Community School District, Ames, Iowa
    The Ames Community Schools will use their grant monies to fund a residency by The Des Moines Metro Opera’s educational touring troupe, OPERA Iowa, consisting of five singers and a pianist who conducts musical workshops and treats the third graders to a production of the children’s opera, “The Three Little Pigs,” featuring music by Mozart and the students as the chorus. Linda White writes in her essay: “The idea of a sung-story is new to many of (the students) and opens their minds to classical singing.”
    For more information about ProjectClassroom, visit the Greater Iowa Web site at: