Bay Village Education Foundation emphasizes learning environments with grant awards

Bay Village Education Foundation Grants Committee Chair Ellie Bricmont (back row, left) surprises second-grade teacher Cathy Bogart with an award for her grant application. Normandy Elementary Principal Dan Sebring (right) helps to spring the good news.

Grants awarded this fall by the Bay Village Education Foundation totaled $17,990.71 and focused on some common themes that are central to the learning environment for children.

“Rather than seeing many grant requests for particular activities, we saw teachers applying scientific evidence this year on how to improve the learning environment for students on a daily basis,” said Ellie Bricmont, chair of the BVEF grants committee. “From sound amplification, to seating alternatives, to the reduction of emotional stress, our teachers recognize that learning can be affected positively by addressing physical and emotional needs.”

Second-grade teachers Cathy Bogart and Jill Kuhn, and third-grade teacher Kate Holinek, were awarded grants for digital classroom sound systems. The systems are shown to increase student attention, focus and engagement in the classroom because children can hear the teacher’s voice more clearly. About $3,250 was awarded to enhance sound in those Normandy and Westerly elementary classrooms, with part of the award provided by Bay Village Kiwanis.

Kindergarten teacher John Maxwell, second-grade teacher Lindsay Rinehart and third-grade teacher Kristen Thomas all recognize the strategy of alternative seating for students in supporting their need for physical movement while learning. Whether indulging that need for fidgeting with a wobble chair or balance board, adapting to different positions while learning at a stand-up desk or kneeler seat, or strengthening core muscles while learning on an exercise ball, alternative seating can allow children the ability to be comfortable and active while focusing on their schoolwork. Just over $3,800 was awarded for alternative seating at Normandy and Westerly.

A significant award of $4,550 was given to Bay High social studies teacher Anne Ashley to coordinate an after-school yoga practice, with certified yoga instructor Danielle Harkins Stuhr, open to all Bay High students. The program is designed to provide students a place to reflect, breathe and appreciate themselves in a safe and comfortable environment. The hour-long class will be held weekly for the duration of the school year and will be completely free for any Bay High student wishing to attend. “Students put a tremendous amount of pressure on themselves, along with the additional pressures of competing academically and athletically,” said Ashley. “Reducing the level of stress and anxiety through movement is a positive way for students of all ages to center themselves and have time to reflect at the end of a busy day at school.”

Additional grants were awarded to Brian Reynolds, district technology coordinator ($530 for a 360-degree camera to create virtual content district-wide); Laura Godfray, first-grade teacher ($1,654 to facilitate real-time home-school connections through mobile technology); Bridgit McFarland, family and consumer science teacher at Bay High ($1,999 for quilt-making materials to create quilts for patients undergoing chemotherapy through the Village Project); and Eileen Meehan, intervention specialist ($326 from the Bay Village Kiwanis for her hands-on science project for kindergarteners).

A special $3,000 grant from the Foundation’s Maynard Bauer Leadership Fund was awarded to Matt Spellman, athletic director, for the Positive Coaching Alliance program.

The Bay Village Education Foundation funds grants to enrich classroom education in the Bay Village City School District. Learn more about them at

Karen Derby

Director of Communications for the Bay Village City School District

Read More on Schools
Volume 8, Issue 21, Posted 10:06 AM, 11.01.2016