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WFISD teachers surprised with IDEA grants

Published: Nov. 19, 2021 at 10:09 PM CST
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - Three teachers at Franklin Elementary thought they were having a normal meeting on Friday morning, but that quickly changed when multiple WFISD Foundation representatives, administrators and News Channel 6 burst into the room cheering and banging cowbells.

When art teacher Shelly Proctor asked what was happening, Abi Parker knew right away.

“We got it!” she exclaimed, and she was right. Abi Parker, Cody Kenner and Shelly Proctor were three of 17 teachers surprised Friday morning with the news that they had won an IDEA Grant.

Idea Grants have given WFISD educators the financial support to try new things in their classrooms since they were established in 1991. They frequently introduce a special opportunity to an entire grade level or even the entire school, thus exposing students to innovative teaching strategies and special events.

As Franklin Elementary’s “Specials Team,” Parker, Kenner and Proctor had created an original program that combined their respective areas of expertise: music, physical education and art. Their “We’ve Got the Beat!” initiative will let students drum away on unique exercise balls.

“It’s such a great way to combine all the arts and movement and excitement all into one program,” explained Parker.

Franklin principal Ashley Murdock expressed her happiness that the trio’s success would encourage other arts teachers to apply for the grant. “It shows you don’t have to be a math teacher to get one,” she explained.

“We are so blessed to have this opportunity where the community has come in to help us financially for the kids of WFISD,” said Proctor.

The WFISD Foundation has awarded more than $317,000 to teachers to date.

A full list of this year’s IDEA Grant recipients is below:

Mikki Zellner, Head Start educator at Booker T. Washington Elementary

“Little Scientist”

Alissa Donaldson, art teacher at Booker T. Washington Elementary

“Clay Art for Our Community”

Jamie Newberry, first grade teacher at Burgess Elementary

“The Book Fairy Comes to 1st Grade”

Autumn Weber at Career Education Center

“Cyanoacrylate Laboratory Fuming Chamber Kit”

Mary Coleman & Daniele Chavez at Fain Elementary

“STEM Engineering with Squish!”

Abi Parker, Cody Kenner & Shelly Proctor, music, P.E. and art teachers at Franklin Elementary

“We’ve Got the Beat!”

Bethany Calloway, music and art teacher at Haynes Northwest Academy

“Ukulele My Classroom”

Brandi Perkins, theatre teacher at Hirschi High School

“Alterations: For Theatre and Life”

Cindy Smith & Diane Perry at Kirby Middle School

“Los Estudiantes Quiero Libros en Espanol”

Cindy Smith at Kirby Middle School

“Transforming Boys into Super Readers!”

Donna Burch at Milam Elementary

“AWESOME Area 2.0″

Bryce Henderson & Brionne Perry at Rider High School

“Scoping Out Forensic Science”

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