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Foundation Awards $19,000+ in Instructional Grants to Impact 5,000 Students in 2023-24

The Suffolk Education Foundation is proud to announce its financial support of the following classroom instructional programs that will impact some 5,000 students during the 2023-24 school year. The total to be awarded is $19,280.  


Each year, the Foundation invites instructors at all Suffolk Public Schools to apply for up to $2,000 for innovative projects within their classrooms. The programs that receive funding demonstrate the innovation of our teachers and their commitment to engage students in the classroom. The Suffolk Education Foundation has funded close to $400,000 in instructional grants over the years. 

The Suffolk Education Foundation is excited to support the creativity of the dedicated teachers in Suffolk Public Schools.  These grants are made possible through the community’s financial support at events like our annual Gala for the Arts and our annual Milton Liverman Golf Tournament, set this year for Friday, Oct. 27.


  • All High Schools – Bringing Guitar to Suffolk Public Schools
    Guitar is now a part of the division’s fine and performing arts curriculum. Student interest is
    high. This grant will provide each high school with 15 beginning-level guitars to help provide
    instruments for in-class instruction.  Impact: Up to 60 students … Joleen Neighbours  ($2,553)

  • All Elementary Schools – Do Your BIT with micro:bit!
    This project offers a new, cross-curricular way to teach Computer Science to fourth-
    and fifth-graders city-wide. Facilitators will use tiny programmable computers designed to make
    coding easy and fun at the same time. Students will see their coding in a whole different light by
    learning to program the LED lights to light up in a variety of ways, whether through simple
    designs or animated expressions. Impact: 2,000 students … Rachele Hirsch-Brooks  ($2,000)


  • Kilby Shores Elementary School – First-Grade Decodable Library
    First-grade teachers will create a decodable book library to use for phonics instruction. Having multiple books for each phonics pattern will help students become accurate, fluent, and confident readers. Impact: 90 students  … Brandi Terry, Leah Moulton, Megan Bales & LaTasha Peede  ($1,900)


  • Oakland Elementary School - Eyewords
    First-grade students will use this program to quickly learn and effortlessly sight read their high frequency words in a fun and engaging way. The Eyewords program enables students to feel good about themselves as learners, empowers themselves with confidence, and engages them in movement. Impact: 80 students ... Rebecca Knight ($1,761)


  • Creekside Elementary School – Robotics for PreK to Grade 2
    Using KIBO, young elementary students can build, program, decorate and bring their own robots to life. Students become engineers, designers, programmers, artists, and writers … Anything they want to be.  Impact: 400 students … Angela de Mik  ($2,000)

  • Nansemond River High School – 3rd Annual Earth Day Educational Fair
    Oceanography students will hold this third annual fair in April on Earth Day 2024, designing their own games, activities, display boards, and student-made videos to promote environmental awareness among their high school peers and the community.  Impact: 150 students, plus school-wide participation (1,700 students) … Jessica Koury  ($1,500)


  • King’s Fork Middle School – Engage with Electricity …
    Middle schoolers will be able to explore the basic properties of electricity and electronics, using circuit kits. Students can create series and parallel circuits, and understand how energy can be transferred by sound, light, heat, and electric currents. Impact: 400 students … Elizabeth Zartman  ($650)


  • Lakeland High School – Virtual Business Personal Finance
    This personal finance simulation tool teaches students key concepts such as banking, finding a job, paying taxes, finding housing, insurance and investing. Using the simulation will allow students to have practical experience with concepts taught in the class. Impact: 200 students … Stacey Ellis  ($1,800)

  • Nansemond River High School – World Language Digital Tool
    The online learning platform, NearPod, will help students to be comfortable speaking, reading, and hearing their target language with confidence. The more ways students have to practice, the more we can reach diverse learners in a way that meets their individual learning needs. Impact: 800 students ... Amy Eccleston ($477)


  • Florence Bowser Elementary School – Story Time Chess
    Story Time Chess teaches the fundamentals of chess by transforming chess pieces into a memorable cast of quirky story characters. Children will learn piece mechanics, basic strategy, and endgame … as well as how to concentrate, take turns, and behave during a game of chess. Impact: Up to 100 students ... Graziela Lobato-Creekmur ($1,000)


  • Creekside Elementary School – Inclusion Classroom Sensory Space
    Creating a sensory space in the classroom will reduce student stress and anxiety, and provide a quiet area for learning. Students will have the opportunity to use the space to regroup, complete work, and self-calm during transitions.   Impact: 25 students … Michae’l Smith  ($1,000)


  • Mack Benn, Jr. Elementary School – Bringing Learning Outside
    This project will create Outdoor Classrooms on a Cart, each stocked with the resources to allow for classrooms to move their lessons outside. Each cart would have outdoor seating, dry erase clipboards, markers, erasers, and a teacher easel. … Casey McKenna ($900)

  • Oakland Elementary School – Wobble Stools for Wiggly Kids
    By using the wobble chair, children can get their wiggles out and be able to concentrate more on their studies. The flexible seating allows them to wobble, rock, bounce or lean, which increases oxygen flow to the brain to helps keep young minds more alert and focused.  Impact: 25 students … Bobbi Schuermann   ($850)


  • Southwestern Elementary School - Coding with OzoBots
    Third-graders will apply problem solving, teamwork, and coding skills to program the Ozobot to perform various actions. Ozobots will extend their learning in math and science through interdisciplinary projects. Impact: 100 students … Bonnie Young  ( $887)


A committee makes awards following an application process and review. The committee includes members of the Suffolk Education Foundation’s board of directors and volunteers. Selection criteria include academic impact on the most students, collaboration with other programs, and potential for sustainability.

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