DATE: July 29, 2019
CONTACT: Phil Giaramita, Public Affairs and Strategic Communications Officer
Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education Funds 10 Classroom Projects in Five Elementary Schools
(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia) – Bringing learning to life through technology, environmental sciences, and the arts characterizes the 10 classroom projects funded for the 2019-20 school year by the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. Teachers from five elementary schools will receive funding for the coming school year, with Baker-Butler teachers earning approval for four projects. Other schools that will benefit from Shannon Grants include Cale, Crozet, Red Hill, and Woodbrook.
Two of the most interesting ideas came from Woodbrook Elementary School educators. Third graders, under the guidance of Marian McCullough and Annie Joyce, will create and operate their own civilizations over the course of the school year. In a second project, “Windows, Mirrors and the Sliding Glass Doors,” Christopher Howell will use his grant to diversify the school library. He noted the importance of children having access to books that reflect a broad variety of life experiences and culture. “Diverse books break down barriers and promote empathy for others and unity within a classroom and school,” he wrote.
Baker-Butler second graders in Nancy Kendall Williams’ class will design, build and test battery-powered paper airplanes to learn about engineering and the science of energy and motion. Lisa Baker’s second graders will combine math, science, reading and art in their study of the life cycle of silkworms and butterflies. Also utilizing their artistic talents will be Lisa Harmon’s second graders, who will decorate personal book bags at the public library in preparation for a new second-grade family book club. Students in Sabra Timmons’ class will learn how to use hydroponics to grow fresh vegetables.
At Cale, Terry Graff’s third, fourth and fifth graders will learn about renewable energy sources through their hands-on work with solar, wind and hydropower models. Rachel Caldwell’s fourth graders will have the opportunity to visit exotic locations on the ground and in outer space using virtual reality.
In a proposal called, “STEAMING Ahead, Stitch by Stitch,” Gay Baker’s students at Crozet Elementary School will apply their science, math and art skills to design and complete a sewing project that has personal significance. The arts also will play a prominent role in Beth Kavounas’ Red Hill kindergarten class when they learn about the relationships between patterns and rhythms in math and music.
The Shannon Foundation was established in 1990 to provide funds to public school teachers in Charlottesville City and Albemarle County for innovative programming. This year, the Foundation awarded 15 grants totaling $20,246 to city and county teachers. On Friday, August 16, the Foundation will hold a ceremony to recognize this year’s recipients.
The Foundation is named for University of Virginia (UVA) President Emeritus Edgar F. Shannon, Jr. and his wife, Eleanor, in honor of their contributions to public education over many years. In addition to being an English professor at UVA, Mr. Shannon was the university’s president from 1959 to 1974. Ms. Shannon served as a member of the Board of Trustees for Sweet Briar College and Rhodes College.