The grants totaled $3,919.97

Partners In Education continues to help teachers more effectively impact the lives of the students they teach.

PIE presented its spring grant requests on Monday to several teachers in USD 490.

The first stop was at Skelly Elementary School, where Taryn O’Brien was “arrested.” Their theme during the presentations was one of a western style, with the PIE member all wearing cowboy hats and bandannas to make up a sheriff’s posse.

The grant was presented during the morning assembly.

“We have a teacher here that we came to arrest,” Barb Dankert, PIE board member, said. “We are very thankful to her. She wrote us a grant.”

She had written a grant for More Starfall Bigger and Better, Part IV, which would allow them to continue with the new edition of Starfall. The academic Web site covers reading and math concepts. She was fully funded at $270, with the money coming from Al Chambers, technology funds and Intrust Bank.

“It means I’m able to reach kids in a different way that can be more motivational and reaches different learning styles of kids” O’Brien said. “We wouldn’t be able to do it otherwise.”

From Skelly, the posse split up, with one group going to Jefferson and Lincoln and the other at Grandview, before they joined back up at the high school, then traveled to the middle school.

At Jefferson, they presented Tonya Cogan with a grant for $228.45, which fully funded her request for the Primarily science program that gives students hands-on instructions exploring critters, weather and plants. It was funded by El Dorado Charities and Benson. She also received a $506 grant for Zoozoo Animal World, a series of non-fiction books, which was funded by donations from Lou Clennan, El Dorado Charities, Intrust Bank, Cheryl Campbell and Sara Luehrs.

“We’re here to give her something for all the work she does for you guys,” PIE Board Member Leon Leachman told the students in her classroom.

“It just allows me to be able to bring other resources of high interest into the classroom,” Cogan said. “At this age, they want to know why and how.”

She said most of the grants she has received have been used for high-interest, non-fiction reading.

At Lincoln, Jim Shum received a grant for $125, which provided partial funding for his grant request, Beyond the Classroom, a request for the equipment for continued long distance learning. He said many of the IDL programs are beginning to cost.

“I am so excited,” he said. “I just thought I would go for it.”

At Grandview, they presented a grant to Rachel Norris for her request, Superhero Social Thinkers. This will provide interventions in an effective, enjoyable manner and help students with social use of language, developing their own superhero thinking processes. She received $192.50, which was funded by donations from Steve Pershall, Bob McCollum and unrestricted funds.

At the high school, grants were given to Travis Wyss for Reaching Self-Made Goals, Falisa Calhoun for Vocabulary through Diversity and Angela Quiram for Using Poetry to Understand and Respond to our World.

Wyss received $1,000 through donations from El Dorado Clinic, Hazel Cook, Dave Clymer, and academic and unrestricted funds to help students learn how to pole vault while enriching their math, English and science skills. It allows students to relate school lessons to real life.

Calhoun received partial funding of $210 through donations by 53 Communications, drug awareness and Connell History, which will help pay for the Bluford Series, a program addressing specific teen issues in a manner they can relate to including different cultural issues.

Quiram received partial funding of $425.52 from donations by Sara Luehrs for the program that will provide students with an in-depth look at what makes poetry great, why people still write poetry in a digital world and how poetry writing can be used to understand ourselves and the world around us.

Two teachers at the El Dorado Middle School received grants.

Kirstie Towner received $129.80, from a donation by Luehrs, for A Mash-Up of Fairy Tale and Science Fiction, a program using pop-literature to help students process and present information.

Catherine Terrell received $644 from a donation by Luehrs to fund her grant request, High Interest Reading Kit. This is a program for struggling readers to provide targeted, meaningful practice in particular strategies and help them think meta-cognitively about their own reading performance.

The grants totaled $3,919.97.

They also were announcing an upcoming fundraising event for PIE. At 10 a.m. May 3, they will be holding a dodgeball tournament.

“We would like for you to come and bring your parents,” Dankert said.

She said the teachers will be forming teams and encouraged them to come and watch the events.

Julie Clements can be reached at