Annual Award Winners Announced

We have great teachers in Madison, and we are very pleased to share their names and schools with you. They represent the level of teaching, learning, and caring for our students that make us very proud!

Watching them walk up to the stage of the Madison High School auditorium to be recognized at the School Board Meeting on May 15, we were reminded of the impact one teacher can have on the life of a student. These women and men make a difference for our students. THANK YOU!

MCEF Awards 9 Scholarships to Graduating MCHS Seniors

MCEF Awards 9 Scholarships to Graduating MCHS Seniors

This year the Madison County Education Foundation awarded scholarships totaling $9500 to students who will pursue their dreams. They will continue to learn. Then they will teach, farm, compute, build, write, experiment, discover, and change their part of the world.

Award winners were Sarah Catherine Coates, David Lewis Dyer, Jr., Grace Katherine Fox, Mikayla Nicole Gardiner-Alger, Sarah Elizabeth Good, Jared Christian Ross, Isiah Diamonté Smith, De’Ondre Rashaud Twyman, and Jiani Zang. Awards were presented by MCEF Board members Rachel Graves, Jayne Penn-Hollar, and Barbara Kres Beach.

Community commitment to the education of our students is nowhere more evident than at Awards Night in the Madison High School Auditorium, which celebrates the achievements of graduating seniors.

At Awards Night, 42 community organizations and individuals came together to assist our students and their families ease the burden of the Big Move from high school to two-and-four year colleges and universities, trades education, career and technology institutions, and the military.

Congratulations to all the graduates of the Class of 2017. You define Madison Pride and you make all of us very proud.

The Board of the Madison County Education Foundation

Camp Unakite Builds Classroom Success!

MCEF/Schools Partnership–
CAMP UNAKITE BUILDS CLASSROOM SUCCESS

by Michael Rider

Camp UnakiteCamp Unakite is a grant-funded STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) educational opportunity for rising third through eighth-grade students in Madison County and is co-sponsored by the Madison County Public Schools and the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF).

Students explore their natural world through STEM activities during a summer camp held at Graves Mountain Lodge. These activities include animal studies, mineral understanding, soil investigations, water cleanliness and movement, volcanic eruptions, and others.

“Camp Unakite has made a significant difference in the lives of young people in Madison. MCEF has supported Unakite for over four years. In partnership with the Madison Schools and Graves Mountain Lodge, it has provided a learning and camping experience for students that has awakened new interest in learning and confidence in their own abilities,” said Barbara Kres Beach, MCEF president.

Quantitative data for the 2014-15 school year, developed by Superintendent Matt Eberhardt, were compared to the data for the 2015-2016 school year to assess the impact of Camp Unakite. The study group consisted of sixty-seven students in grades three through seven attending Camp Unakite in the summer of 2015. Nineteen students in grades seven through eight attended in the summer of 2016.

The assessment results which have translated into the classroom are impressive:

GRADES 3-6 Participants

47.6% improved in attendance
14.3% improved in behavior
13.6% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics
65.2% of Unakite students earned a Reading letter grade of B or better in the third grade year
78.9% of Unakite students earned a Mathematics letter grade of B or better in the third grade year

GRADES 7-8 Participants

31.6% improved in attendance
42.1% improved in behavior
21.1% improved in reading
31.8% improved in mathematics

The Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) has supported Camp Unakite since its inception. It has won a line item in the MCEF budget because we believe strongly that the goals and results of the program merit our commitment.

What pays the bills for this outstanding program? Approximately half of the costs are borne by the Madison County Public Schools. The other half comes from monies raised by the MCEF.

The MCEF funds supporting Unakite are raised at the annual March Madness fundraiser. Your attendance at March Madness helps tip the scales in favor of this learning-by-camping experience.

Join your friends and neighbors on March 18. Come to MARCH MADNESS at Graves Mountain Lodge’s picnic pavilion starting at 4pm. Tickets are available online at www.madisonedfoundation.org or by calling Carty Yowell, March Madness chairperson, at 757-615-0626. Your donation and participation in March Madness makes Camp Unakite possible for hundreds of school children. Because of citizen commitment, Unakite makes a difference!

High School Teachers Win MCEF Grants

Madison County MountaineersMadison High School faculty were exceptionally inventive and penetrating this year, agreed the Grants Panel of the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF). “The applications addressed a range of needs designed to broaden the scope and depth of classroom learning and to engage all students at the high school,” observed Stephanie Mendlow, a member of the Panel. “We were very excited about them.”

Awards were presented by representatives of the MCEF Grants Panel: Clarissa Berry, Jayne Penn Hollar, and Stephanie Mendlow. They were joined by Bill Hinkes, vice president of the Foundation.

MCHS Librarian, Becky LaVoie, will extend the use of games in education. Ms. LaVoie attended a conference sponsored by the American Association of School Librarians; it focused on the use of games as instruments for learning. Teachers in her school have been working on ways to encourage students to become more active participants in learning. The games project supports SOLs, collaboration between library and classroom teachers, student teamwork, and post-game reflection.

Stephen Shilan, Mary Davis, Chelsea Taylor, and Ryan Rakow and others will work with a new program “Gizmos for Geometry,” which will enable students achieve the math credits required for their high school diploma. “Gizmos” is a web-based software program that teachers control, selecting simulations that students may log on a given day. It uses the question-and-response Socratic approach to shape student learning. The program supports Virginia SOLs for science and math in high school. The program has shown excellent results nationally and will be evaluated by Madison teachers as well.

Ashleigh Pugh and Tiffany Kitner—high school and middle school art faculty–had another challenge: they looked for ways to keep costs down, extend the use of clay so it could be re-used multiple times (purchase and shipping of clay are costly and lowering these costs makes possible the purchase and use of other art materials in the Middle and High Schools.) Because of this grant, faculty will be able to introduce students to pottery work—a new and accessible art medium for many. The MCEF grant will help teachers purchase a “pugmill” which wedges clay, reduces risk of air bubbles, saves money, and prevents wasting recyclable clay. It will be available for use throughout the Madison Schools.

Judy Heffron and Michael Gabney proposed materials that would bring a project in environmental science to life. They called it “The Answer My Friend Is Blowing in the Wind.” Part of the alternative energy unit, it will use project-based learning techniques to create an optimal output wind turbine using Vernier technology. (We read this and agreed that we all need to go back to high school for this class!) Approximately 50 students will engage in this project yearly, and will work collaboratively with their peers to experiment with gear ratios, blade designs, generators and ways to measure weightlifting and electrical power.

“Swinging into Fitness,” a proposal from Mark Arrington, extends his mission to make fitness a part of each Madison student’s life after graduation. He will introduce students to an award-winning “BirdieBall” that responds like a traditional golf ball in flight (hook, slice, draw and fade—and instant feedback from your swing are all possible). The “BirdieBall” produces an “uncanny turbine sound” according to Arrington, after a good “wack.” More important, the program teaches the lifetime sport of golf, helps develop motor skills, skill analysis, golf etiquette, and equipment care.

“These grants initiated by our excellent high school faculty,” noted Barbara Kres Beach, MCEF president, “show how students can use programs like these to reinforce students’ excitement about learning and their engagement with it. Our teachers have the keys that unlock exactly what is needed. We applaud them!”

Four Primary School Teachers Receive MCEF Grants

Four outstanding teachers from Madison County Primary School received special grants from the Madison County Education Foundation (MCEF) to support projects that will enhance learning.

Jeannette Michels and Carrie Wintersgill received a grant to purchase “Little Mice for Little Hands.” The young-child-size mouse enables a primary-age student to learn to manipulate a computer mouse to work on projects, respond to directions, and engage in computer assessments. The teachers believe the “mice” will have lasting value for the students. The grant purchases 50 “mice,” which will be used by Pre-K through grade 2 students.
Martha Clements received a grant for her project entitled “Balancing It All.” This grant will purchase 25 balance discs that research demonstrates will enable young children to “focus greater attention on learning by helping them balance their natural tendency to move around and lose concentration.” Ms. Clements said children will carry the balance disc from their seats to various learning centers. “When our extraneous movement isn’t taking brain power and creating distraction,” she says, “we have clarity to successfully complete the task at hand.”

Jennifer Taylor will engage in a special project, “KIDS and Canvas.” Noel Spence, an artist, was formerly a pre-school to third grade teacher. She will work with Ms. Taylor to acquaint students with easels, paint, brushes, and other mediums. Ms. Taylor noted that although “there are no specific SOL objectives for preschool, “KIDZ and Canvas” will show students how to follow the sequence of steps used in creating art. They will create art related to a unit of study. They will identify spatial relationships—left, right, top, bottom, side, center, front, back, over, and under—and will learn about colors, textures, lines, shapes, and patterns.” Perhaps most important, “the students will express themselves through their art work and will leave with a completed work to bring home.”

Asked recently why Teacher Grants are an important part of the MCEF mission, Barbara Kres Beach, president, answered, “We believe in teachers; they are our most valuable resource in Madison County education, and their insights into student needs are on target. We are all fortunate that the County has such a great teaching staff.” Additional grants will be announced by the middle of November.

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For the Kids!