Teachers receive classroom supplies totaling more than $16,000

Arroyo Seco Jr. High School student Kadin Anderson, right, holds up the xylophone that will be replaced with the one in the picture that Kelvin Flores is holding thanks to a grant from the The SCV Education Foundation at the Barnes and Noble in Valencia on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Jim Backer, the president and founder of the foundation, stands in the middle. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Eighteen teachers from all five of the Santa Clarita Valley’s school districts received classroom supplies, technology and equipment totaling more than $16,000 from the SCV Education Foundation on Wednesday.

Items given to teachers included everything from drums and iPod touches to digital microscopes and Perma-Bound copies of “Freek the Mighty,” and the help is expected to touch of lives of thousands of students.

“I can tell you first-hand that this new xylophone will provide a more professional sound and allow us to achieve higher success in our the percussion section, foster a deeper love for music and provide us a reliable instrument to grow musically and academically,” said Arroyo Seco Junior High School student and band section leader Kadin Anderson, whose teacher Kelvin Flores received a new xylophone for the school’s music program.

Since the SCV Education Foundation’s inception, the group has donated more than half a million in grants to teachers throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.  The grant process began in November when teachers submitted their applications and a committee reviewed each one to select which grants to fund.

At Castaic Elementary School, one of these grants will allow students to explore STEAM learning and integrate technology in the classroom.

Stephanie Cruz with the Sulpher Springs School District holds up a Lego kit at the Barnes and Noble in Valencia on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. She received eight of them thanks to a grant from the SCV Education Foundation. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

“Last year, we bought some Dot and Dash robots to do coding with our younger students, but the iPads we had to run them were so old and outdated they didn’t work appropriately,” Castaic Elementary School Principal Stephanie Beach said. “This grant is going to take those robots out of the box and get them in the hands of kids tomorrow.”

Additional technology-focused grants will allow students to become global learners and citizens at Santa Clarita Elementary School, participate in LEGO Education clubs in the Sulphur Springs Union School District, access the general education curriculum at West Creek Academy and go on mobile expeditions at Old Orchard Elementary School.

“We’re going to use Google Expeditions to travel the world,” said West Creek Academy SHINE program teacher Stephanie Nelson, who works with students who have been expelled or suspended. “We’re going to go visit the ancient coliseum, we are going to go to outer space, we are going to visit colleges because anyone can go to college and we are going to help these kids learn to love school again and become writers.”

La Mesa Jr. High School’s Aaron Kirkland holds up a copy of Freek the Mighty at Barnes and Noble in Valencia on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. He received 105 copies thanks to a grant from the The SCV Education Foundation. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Some gifts supported classroom lessons and student achievement like digital microscopes to study plant cells at Castaic Middle School and T1-30XS Calculators to provide 100 percent of students with access to calculators at La Mesa Junior High School.

Several Remo Drums donated to Kerry Summers at Live Oaks Elementary School are expected to support the visual and performing arts school’s newly established music program.

“I am an advocate for the arts, it is a time for kids to shine in a day full of rigorous content standards,” Summers said. “It’s going to help them build teamwork and use their creativity and expression and be the best they can be.”

And a large donation of 105 novels to La Mesa Junior High School Aaron Kirkland will not only help his students, but also the entire teaching staff by allowing English teachers to teach the same novel at the same time.

“There’s a direct correlation between teacher competency and student achievement and the best way, I think, to improve teacher competency is to get us working together, collaborating,” Kirkland said.  “By getting all these books for these students we’re now able to concurrently teach a novel, we can all work together, share lesson plans, and student achievement will hopefully go through the roof.”

The crowd applause at Barnes and Noble in Valencia as the SCV Education Foundation gives out grants to local teachers on Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018. Nikolas Samuels/The Signal

Teacher Grant Recipients:

Arroyo Seco Junior High School

  • Kelvin Flores: One xylophone

Castaic Elementary School

  • Kristen McGaffee and Stephanie Beach: 4 iPads
  • Lynda Ashley: 6 HP Chromebooks and console

Castaic Middle School

  • Lori Tompkins: 2 digital microscopes

La Mesa Junior High School

  • Michael McGeever: 80 T1-30XS Calculators
  • Aaron Kirkland: 105 Perma Bound copies of Freek the Mighty

Live Oaks Elementary School

  • Kerry Summers: Remo Drums

Old Orchard Elementary School

  • Stephanie Nelson: 5 iPod touches, 1 iPad, Google cardboard viewers

Santa Clarita Elementary School

  • Amanda Howard: 5 Samsung Chromebooks and books

Sulphur Springs Union School District

  • Stephanie Cruz: 8 Lego Education WeDo 2.0 kits

West Creek Academy

  • Valerie Hackney: 4 Dell Chromebooks
  • Brook Griffiths, Jennifer Fleming, Anne Riggin, Tarra Messick, Nicole Hale and Jennifer Border: Writing slates and wood letter pieces

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