Crozet Elementary School’s “Drumming to Discover” Program Among Proposals Funded by 2023-24 Shannon Foundation Grants

Crozet Elementary School’s “Drumming to Discover” Program Among Proposals Funded by 2023-24 Shannon Foundation Grants


(ALBEMARLE COUNTY, Virginia)—A dozen Albemarle County Public Schools teachers have been awarded grants by the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education. The grants, which total over $21,000, will support innovative programming in county elementary, middle and high schools in the 2023-24 school year. According to the foundation, teachers who receive Shannon grants each year have documented both greater enthusiasm for learning among students and higher test scores.

One of the major projects funded for next year was designed by Tracy Brown of Crozet Elementary School and will teach students at the school to use drumming as a non-verbal way to evoke and express emotions. Of the “Drumming to Discover” program, Brown said, “Students will learn to appreciate drumming as a channel for reflection on cultural influences locally, nationally and globally. They will also develop a deeper understanding of drumming as a cross-cultural means to connect, communicate and discover.”

That program received $4,615, the largest grant award to a county teacher.

Two other teachers, Hope Caplan, also from Crozet Elementary, and Chelsea Lundgren from Mountain View Elementary, received project grants. With her $4,200 award, Caplan will purchase a new kiln for Crozet that will support the school’s art program. In her proposal, she emphasized the importance of sculpture in building language, social skills, problem-solving abilities, and both gross and fine motor skills. Lundgren’s $1,844 grant will support Mountain View’s third, fourth, and fifth graders by providing a 3D printer to bring their designs to life. Students will engage in active study and problem-solving supplemented by consultation via Zoom with engineers and experts who use 3D printed solutions for real-life problems.

The largest award, $5,000, was for John Baran’s “Strike Up the Band… Saw” proposal. Baran, an instructor at CATEC, the county and city’s shared career and technical school, will help students gain proficiency in the use of the bandsaw as a tool that promotes their mastery of skills in the building trades. Students will utilize the bandsaw to create professional-quality products that the community can purchase, with proceeds donated to a student activities fund for career and technical classes.

Eight other program ideas were selected for funding:

  • At Center I, Amanda Blevins’s “Blogging to Leverage Student Voice” will receive $750 to support seniors in becoming more confident and competent writers by analyzing Hanif Abdurraquib’s National Book Award-winning essays in They Can’t Kill Us Until They Kill Us
  • Chelsea Castro Fitzgerald of Greer Elementary was awarded $750 for her “Building Community” concept, which will allow moderately to severely disabled students to benefit from an inclusive, hands-on, real-life learning and social experience through the use of a café cart to deliver coffee and snacks throughout their school building. 
  • Second graders at Crozet Elementary will use air cannons, a fog generator, gallium, and ampoules of noble gasses to learn concepts that are difficult to master through experimentation. They will participate in teacher Daniel Bowman’s “What’s the Matter with Matter” program at the school, which is receiving $415. 
  • At Red Hill Elementary, kindergartners and first graders will be able to use manipulatives and a special table that lights up from below to build observational, analytical, investigative, vocabulary, and fine motor skills. The “Learning in the Light Lab” proposal, by Beth Kavounas, will receive $750, providing engaging and collaborative exploration time. 
  • Western Albemarle High’s Cassidy Girvin will make it possible for photography students to use macro photography to take photos of small items and reproduce them in a large format with the purchase of a macro-specific lens through her grant “Macro Photography,” awarded $650. 
  • In the grant “Community and Career Exploration with C-Case Students,” Lori Linville, also of Western Albemarle High, will facilitate regular library visits of C-Base students so they can engage in project-based inclusive activities with their non-disabled peers. Her grant is $750. 
  • At Walton Middle, sixth graders will be able to use miles accumulated on under-desk cycles to track Lewis and Clark’s historic trail across the country through Kathryn Kurkee’s “Pedal Power” program, awarded $723.
  • Heather Campbell’s program, “Microscope Matters,” earned $700 and will allow fifth graders at Woodbrook Elementary to use a teacher-created lab book, a microscope, and microscopic slides to conduct scientific investigation and analysis of the properties of the matter in the world around them.

The Shannon Foundation was established in 1990 to fund projects by public school teachers in Charlottesville City and Albemarle County that represent innovative programming. The Foundation is named for University of Virginia President Emeritus Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., and his wife Eleanor in honor of their contributions to public education over many years. Overall, grants this year for both city and county school divisions total $24,128.

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PHONE: 434-249-8379