Summer Grant Presentations Completed

This summer the Lawrence Schools Foundation awarded School Assistance Grants, MusicWorks! Grants and Carl Knox Development Grants. In September we recognized the recipients by visiting their schools and presenting those teachers and staff with their checks and principals with their yard signs.  We have such such creative and innovative teachers in our district who really enrich our students' education. Thanks to them and the wonderful donors who supply the money for these grants.

Learn about the grant program and how to apply here.

See this year's School Assistance Grant stories here.

Here are the most recent Innovative Teaching Grant recipients.


Tuesday, September 5Pete Gipson and Howard Diacon


Pete Gipson, Sunflower Elementary (MusicWorks! Grant)

Choral Library ($840)

Principal: Howard Diacon


Funding for this project will continue to provide a varied selection of choral literature for students participating in the Sunflower Elementary School fourth and fifth-grade choir. The project’s overall goal is to continually build a choral library of age-appropriate literature that both challenges and engages young singers to their full potential.



Dena Johnston presented Myron Graber, Andrew Martin and Kylee Wright a School Assistance Grant Kylee Wright and Andrew Martin, Free State High School (School Assistance Grant)

Poetry Team ($1,000)

Principal: Myron Graber


The Free State slam poetry team competed in a national competition in San Francisco this summer. Funding covered the cost of one of the five students who competed in the event. Not only did the students spend the week competing against teams from all around the country, they were able to learn and participate in workshops at the event.





Wednesday, September 6


Megan Epperson and Brian McCaffrey of Broken Arrow Megan Epperson, Broken Arrow Elementary (MusicWorks! Grant)

Ukuleles in the Music Classroom ($824)

Principal: Brian McCaffrey


Expanding students’ learning and literacy levels by integrating ukuleles into the classroom is the goal of this project. The ukuleles will broaden learning and increase critical thinking skills about connecting what is seen on a page and what is heard with the ears.








Carla Scmidt and Brad Kempf of West Middle School Carla Schmidt, West Middle School (School Assistance Grant)

Essentials of Engagement Training ($1,500)

Principal: Brad Kempf


In working towards district goals of engagement, equity and excellence for students, West Middle School is providing Essentials of Engagement leadership training for students in four leadership groups. Approximately 60 student leaders, diverse ethnicities, abilities, talents and socio-economics students will be represented. The training will teach peer-to-peer small group leadership and interpersonal skills.












New York principal Nancy DeGarmo and music teacher Renita Galbreath Renita Galbreath, New York Elementary (MusicWorks! Grant)

Beginning Ukulele Instruction ($768)

Principal: Nancy DeGarmo


This project will include lessons for fourth-graders and will enhance student achievement by requiring students to apply musical concepts in more than one way. Activities will include the anatomy of the ukulele, identifying open strings, strumming technique, scales, defining chords and playing C, F, C7 and G7 chords.









Neil LeValley and Jeremy Phillip at Sunset Hill Neil LeValley, Sunset Hill Elementary (School Assistance Grant)

Breakout Boxes ($1,200)

Principal: Jeremy Phillip


This project requested eight breakout boxes. Students at all grade levels will benefit from these boxes as each box can be easily modified to create problem-solving activities that are grade-level appropriate. Breakout boxes are perfect for hands-on, high-engagement learning and can be easily differentiated for multiple learning needs within a single classroom, as well as across the population of the entire school.





Thursday, September 7

Scott Cinnamon and Tammy Becker Tammy Becker, Hillcrest Elementary and Scott Cinnamon, Cordley Elementary (School Assistance Grant)

Project Based Learning ($3,000)


Cordley and Hillcrest Elementary schools are working with a group of teachers to learn and implement project-based learning in the classroom. To implement this in the classroom, on-going professional development and time for collaboration for the teachers is essential. Funds will help support development days, classroom materials and maker space carts.








Monday, September 11, 2017


Keri Lauxman and Mark Preut, Lawrence High School Keri Lauxman, Lawrence High School (School Assistance Grant)

Student Council StrengthsFinder Assessment ($1,190)

Assistant Principal: Mark Preut


This grant will allow all student officers in the student council to complete the Gallup/Clifton StrengthsFinder 2.0 Assessment, including a half-day results analysis retreat led by a highly-skilled trainer from Johnson County Community College’s Continuing Education team.















Mark Preut, Alan Gleue, Dena Johnston Alan Gleue, Lawrence High School (School Assistance Grant)

Circuit Unit ($2,000)

Assistant Principal: Mark Preut


Students will have the opportunity to work with Arduino sensors and units. Gleue believes that working with this unit will spark a greater student interest in the STEM fields as possible career options, as well as be an exciting way for students to learn about electronics, programming and project design.









Mark Preut, Rachel Dirks, Johanna Cox Johanna Cox and LMCMS principal Jeff Harkin Johanna Cox, Liberty Memorial Central Middle School and Rachel Dirks, Lawrence High School (MusicWorks! Grant)

Fall Orchestra Literature ($600)

LMCMS Principal: Jeff Harkin and LHS Assistant Principal: Mark Preut


This grant will help with the purchase of new literature to be performed by the Lawrence Youth Symphony, a collection of the best musicians from the four middle and two high schools in Lawrence. The full orchestra music will stay in the music library and can be re-used every 5-8 years so that there is such a variety of music that no student will ever perform the same piece twice during their time with the Symphony.







Prairie Park principal David Williams, teacher Kendra Anderson and LSF assistant Mike Strauss Kendra Anderson, Prairie Park Elementary (MusicWorks! Grant)

Multi-Cultural Instruments ($800)

Principal: David Williams

This grant was used to help purchase an extensive collection of multi-cultural instrements to enrich students' experience in the classroom, while looking for more ways to explore the Equity component. Instruments will come from Africa, South America, the middle east and south Asia, India, Europe and Russia, Germany and Ireland.











Grant signs were provided to schools who received grants last spring and already had their check presentations. Those grants include Carl Knox Staff Development Grants, Hanzlik Hands on Academy Grant, Innovative Teacher Grants and the McCown Gordon Teacher Grant.

Principals pictured include Chalita Middleton (Kennedy Elementary), Keith Jones (South Middle School), Joni Appleman (Deerfield Elementary), Patrick Kelly (Lawrence College and Career Center) and Philip Thies (Quail Run Elementary)


Kennedy Elementary
South Middle School Deerfield Elementary



Lawrence College and Career Center  Quail Run