52 Dallas ISD educators receive funding through Junior League of Dallas’s Grants for Innovative Teaching program


During a ceremony held September 15, the Junior League of Dallas and Texas Instruments  awarded 52 Dallas ISD educators with grants of up to $2,500 each through the annual Grants for Innovative Teaching (GFIT) program. In total, nearly $113,000 were distributed to fund deserving educators’ winning projects addressing reading and literacy enrichment; diversity; special education; science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); or arts and culture enrichment across one or more grade levels.

“The Grants for Innovative Teaching Committee is in awe of the level of innovation, uniqueness and inclusivity that each of the educators so passionately brought to the table,” said Kiki Gao, 2022–2023 GFIT Chair. “It is an honor to share that due to the innovative projects that are designed by these educators, at least 8,200 Dallas ISD students will be directly impacted this school year.” 

In its history, this JLD Signature Project has impacted nearly 7,000 students and awarded more than $2 million to Dallas ISD teachers, providing students with diverse experiences and highlighting the innovation of the district’s educators.

Some of the grants selected for this year: 

Kids Helping Kids was established 10 years ago by an educator and his students who were constructing wooden rocking horses and donated them to sick children at the Ronald McDonald House during the Christmas Holidays. With the Junior League grant, they are able to carry on this tradition, bring happiness to sick children and raise their own self-esteem and self-worth.

The Heart of Hawthorne (Phase 2) aims to support academic achievement, social, and emotional wellbeing, and the development of healthy lifestyle choices. A campus garden will be instrumental in reducing stress among students, while making a positive impact on self-esteem and overall development. Cross-curricular connections through the integration of all content areas will increase academic success and achievement. This second phase of the Hawthorne garden allows them to expand their program further after seeing great success at their campus after Phase 1, which started the garden from scratch. 

Structure and Functions of the Master Regulators of Pancreas Development provides a meaningful research experience for talented and motivated high school students and teachers to use this training program to obtain crystals for x-ray crystallographic analysis of a novel heterotrimeric transcription factor complex, PTF1, a key regulator of embryonic pancreas development. The groups will present their research at the annual American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology convention in Seattle, Washington, and compete for the Regeneron Scholarship (for seniors). 

2022-2023 Dallas ISD Grant Recipients

Finding Your Zen in My Reading Den Alex Sanger Preparatory School Shannon Smith
Mission Makerspace, Empowering Elementary Students through Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking Annie Webb Blanton Elementary School Katharine Joss
Novel Engineering Lab Arturo Salazar Elementary School Yesenia Amador
Makerspace in Second Grade Arturo Salazar Elementary School Jennifer Perez
Art and Technology Applications Benjamin Franklin International Exploratory Academy Efrain Rivera
Rainbow Rhythm Band Clinton P. Russell Elementary School Francis Zalace
The Art and Science of Photography and Production Dallas Environmental Science Academy Middle School Malcom Newman
Innovating with Minecraft Downtown Montessori at Ida B. Wells Academy Marvin Gonzalez
Fire & Ice Eddie Bernice Johnson STEM Academy Amber Smith
Rock Solid Roadrunner Cheer Squad Edna Rowe Elementary School Tiffany Smith
Authentic Texts for Growing Readers Edward Titche Elementary School Lauren Whitmore
Green and Clean Harvest Emmett J. Conrad High School Monalisa Chadha
Art Survivor Island George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Rebecca Clarke
Retail Therapy at the Bush Galleria George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School James Peerson
Reading to lead with Rosetta, Bilingual Language Access George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Jeanette Newland
Makerspace, Innovation Station George Herbert Walker Bush Elementary School Aleksandra Marczyk
Playback, read Forward, Improving Literacy through Personalized Auditory Feedback George W. Truett Elementary School Elma Martinez Padilla
Regulate Our Roar George W. Truett Elementary School Sue Mendoza
Calming the Chaos in the Classroom Environment George W. Truett Elementary School Shakirae Ajaga
Makerspace in the Science Classroom George W. Truett Elementary School Jennifer Belchi Segura
Creating Collaborative Partnerships Through STEAM Harold W. Lang Sr. Middle School Megan Vance
Structure and Functions of the Master Regulators of Pancreas Development Hillcrest High School Ward Coats
Dance, Technique, & Tech 101 Hulcy STEAM Middle School Whitley Green
We Don’t Talk About Virtual Reality Bruno J.N. Ervin Elementary School Jonathon Salguero
Science Lab for First Graders Jack Lowe Sr. Elementary School Liliana Daza
STEM for PreK James Bowie Elementary School Angela Garza
Dirt Huggers Fresh Air Garden Jerry Junkins Elementary School Theresa Quintans
Bursting at the Seams Jesús Moroles Expressive Arts Vanguard Jamie Nelson
Beyond Grades, Decoding, Differentiation, and Data Joe May Elementary School Stefanie Geoghegan
Break a Leg! John J. Pershing Elementary School Maria Fernandez-Gutierrez
Literacy in Hand K. B. Polk Center for Academically Talented & Gifted Deborah Tubbs
Teaching Calm L.V. Stockard Middle School Jessica Burnett
Voices of Vickery Lee McShan Jr. Elementary School Arianna Zeb
Learner Garden Leila P. Cowart Elementary School Rikki Schramm
Kickin’ It with Keyboards Martin Weiss Elementary School Pamela Jenkins
“Emotionplace,“ My Reading Calming Corner Mount Auburn STEAM Academy Eva Flores-Perez
Kids Helping Kids Multiple Careers Magnet Center Terry Stotts
Exploration Station N.W. Harllee Early Childhood Center Norma Pardee
Ron Clark AcademyHouseSystem Nancy J. Cochran Elementary School Weslyn Moon
Heart of Hawthorne–Learning Through the School Garden (Phase 2) Nathaniel Hawthorne Elementary School Rebecca Ajuluchukwu
Learning with Bots Prestonwood Montessori Jeanette Sambucetti
Partly Arty Ronald E. McNair Elementary School Dorcas Kassebaum
Plugged In… To Poetry Ronald E. McNair Elementary School Cornelia Harris
Journey to the Center of the Earth Rosemont Elementary School Rebecca Lopez
Building Readers for the 21st Century Rufus C. Burleson Elementary School Lidice Martinez
Creating a Sensory Spot School for the Talented and Gifted at Yvonne A. Ewell Townview Center Megan Malone
Personal Investigations, AP Studio Ar Skyline High School Gianna LoScerbo-Starkus
Teambuilding & Fitness Trail STEM Environmental Education Center Sara Ramirez
Forever Healthy Thomas J. Rusk Middle School Kacie Ingram
Leopards Leading the Way W.H. Adamson High School Manuel Rocha
Learning about STEM in PK! Winnetka Elementary School Rodolfo Estrada
Jag Greenscape Young Women’s STEAM Academy at Balch Springs Middle School John Fore

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