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(Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) – Broward Estates Elementary teachers Lundy Karen and Raquel Gandy use Lego™ models and robots to help students solve mathematical calculations, learn about construction and develop general problem-solving skills. The “STEM Explorations Using Lego” project culminates in a field trip for the students to Legoland in Winter Haven, Fla., and the chance to exhibit their inventions at various robotics competitions. The teachers received $2,000 to help implement this innovative teaching program.

Karen and Gandy are among the nearly 500 teachers, administrators and sponsors who gathered recently at the Broward County Convention Center for the annual Broward Education Foundation Teacher Grant Awards Ceremony. Teachers received individual grants up to $2,000 each to support innovative classroom programs. Nearly $50,000 was distributed to 48 teachers to launch their own innovative ideas. Twenty-two teachers received a total of $20,000 in “IMPACT Disseminator” grants. When innovative new ideas are implemented in the class- room and proven successful, additional teachers receive support to adapt these innovative ideas into their own classrooms.

In addition, 300 teachers received more than $120,000 in “IMPACT Adapter” grants. These teachers have worked with IMPACT Disseminator grant award winning teachers and will adapt these innovative ideas in their own classrooms.

Broward Teachers Receive $187,000 in Grants from BEF 2Pembroke Pines Charter Middle School teacher Dayna Cole received $1,200 to incorporate “Smart Music,” award-winning, interactive music software, into her classroom. The software provides “the ideal practice environment and helps improve performance of its user by delivering immediate feedback,” she stated in her grant proposal. “The program grades a musician by assigning a percentage of accuracy in terms of correct notes and rhythm.” Incorporating technology into the music curriculum allows the band director to bring musicians into the classroom and provide a more enriching and effective learning environment for the aspiring young musicians.

Terry Darmody, a teacher at Cross Creek High School, received more than $1,000 to implement MEAL (Monitoring Earthquake Activity and Locations). Each morning students use an IPad app to check the previous day’s records for any 5.0 quakes. They then record the longitude and latitude of the quakes and mark them on a world map. Skills developed include understanding mapping, charts, diagrams and graphs, and developing a more in-depth comprehension of the impact of volcanoes and earthquakes around the world.

Superintendent of Schools Robert Runcie, members of the School Board, and members of the BEF board of directors were on hand to congratulate the teachers and thank the sponsors who made the grants possible. BrightStar Credit Union underwrote the event, with additional support from BECON TV, Ford Motor Company, Nova Southeastern University Fischler School of Education and Human Services, PNC Bank, State Farm Insurance, The Forum Publishing Group, Wells Fargo, Chartwells, NSU Catering, and the State of Florida School District Education Foundation Matching Grants Program.

About the Broward Education Foundation:

Established in 1983, the non-profit Broward Education Foundation (BEF) seeks private contributions to supplement the public funding schools receive. The Foundation raises support from the private sector and charitable foundations to provide scholarships to college- or trade-bound high school graduates who have exhausted all other sources of support, grants to support innovative curriculum in the classroom and free school supplies to teachers in Title I low income schools through the Tools for Schools Broward center in Pompano Beach.

BEF was ranked as the 10th best education foundation in the nation for its effectiveness in generating and sustaining financial resources and distributing funds to students in the district, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Dewey & Associates consulting firm. During the 2011-12 fiscal year, the Foundation contributed more than $1.7 million in scholarships, school supplies, teacher grants and other school support.

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