How Dallas ISD teachers use grants to innovate their classrooms and education

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When you look at some of the most successful classrooms today, you find many of them share commonalities, including opportunities for students to explore, problem solve, collaborate, create and innovate.

Every year, Dallas ISD’s most innovative teachers determine ways to bring all of these components to their classrooms through hands-on activities that provide incredibly rich learning experiences for kids.

The Junior League of Dallas supports many of these teachers by awarding Grants for Innovative Teaching to help bring their projects to life. This year, nearly 70 teachers received grants to increase student learning, and eight of those teachers are here in District 7. They are: Barbara Ruth Hale, Raul Quintanilla Middle School; Nicola Muchnikoff, Rosemont Elementary; Mark Hillegass Jr, Sidney Lanier Expressive Arts Vanguard; Octavio Gutierrez, Stevens Park Elementary; Bennett O’Connor and Donielle Edwards-Tyeskie, Trini Garza Early College; and Paula Gonzales and Rodolfo Estrada, Winnetka Elementary.

Here’s an exciting peek at their projects.

Sustainable gardens with aquaponics at Trini Garza Early College

What’s aquaponics? Students at Garza Early College are growing a sustainable garden through this process that combines fish waste and water to fertilize plants and vegetables. It may not sound too inviting, but it allows students to grow indoor gardens in a much smaller space and at a faster pace.  The program uses a multidisciplinary approach for students, combining aquaculture, math, biotechnology, zoology and much more.

Also at Garza, students evaluate ecosystems through their study of water quality and air pollution. With the help of watersheds that sit on wooded areas surrounding the campus, students analyze the effects of man-made activity that impacts climate change.

The science of sound

Sidney Lanier students explore the science of sound through music classes that focus on percussive learning using the Joia tubes that were inspired by the Blue Man Group.

Student produced broadcast news

Students at Quintanilla Middle School explore the world of broadcast news as they plan a broadcast, design storyboards and develop the best ways to tell stories that impact their world.

Robotics and fractions

Stevens Park and Winnetka elementary schools are adding or expanding robotic programs that will engage students in building and developing programmable robots, and Rosemont students are utilizing manipulatives to better understand fractions.

Innovation drives excellence in our classrooms. Thanks to our friends at Junior League for supporting and encouraging learning environments that help students thrive.

Other news in District 7:

Several schools are holding fall festivals in the next few weeks:

Oct. 20 – James Bowie Elementary, 4 to 5 p.m.

Oct. 27 – John Reagan Elementary, 4 to 7:30 p.m.

Nov. 10 – Felix Botello Elementary, 5 to 7 p.m.

Audrey Pinkerton
Audrey Pinkerton

Audrey Pinkerton is the District 7 representative on the Dallas ISD Board of Trustees.

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