MAPS alumni give back through grant fund program

MANISTEE — One of the greatest signs of appreciation is when someone gives back to those teachers who helped them get where they are in the world today.

Manistee Area Public School teachers where given grants totally $5,743 with funds set up by a  group of Manistee Area Public Schools alumni set up a fund to benefit teachers in purchases to support curriculum and technology activities that enhance the district. Shown (left to right) are teachers receiving grants including Leah Antal, Andrea Mack, Ruth Simoneau, Bridget Warnke and Brian Veine.(Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

Manistee Area Public School teachers where given grants totally $5,743 with funds set up by a group of Manistee Area Public Schools alumni set up a fund to benefit teachers in purchases to support curriculum and technology activities that enhance the district. Shown (left to right) are teachers receiving grants including Leah Antal, Andrea Mack, Ruth Simoneau, Bridget Warnke and Brian Veine.(Ken Grabowski/News Advocate)

A group of Manistee Area Public Schools alumni set up a fund to benefit teachers in purchases to support curriculum and technology activities that enhance the district. This year six teachers received grants totaling $5,743 for items to be utilized in their classrooms.

Teacher Kevin Postma said they are very grateful that the alumni make this donation to assist children.

“Every year based on the funds that are available we are able to offer the scholarships,” he said. “We really want to say thank you to these people for going above and beyond in offering our kids more interesting and exciting opportunities.”

Video productions class teacher Brian Veine received a $600 grant for items that will assist his class in making their videos even more professonal.

“My grant was for creating a sound booth in my classroom because we have been doing a lot with video production,” said Veine. “So now we are searching for that great quality sound doing voiceovers and possibly recording music. I am really excited about doing this and want to thank the fund committee and the alumni who set this up.”

Physics teacher Bridget Warnke’s grant was for $2,800 for lab equipment for her physics and physical science classes.

“I took a three week intensive training session this summer and a lot of the training  had to do with using the lab equipment,” said Warnke. “Bernier is the company that makes the equipment and it is expensive, as I wanted a whole classroom set and not just a teacher demo set. It will enhance the curriculum and this equipment will last for years.”

Manistee Area Public Schools director of bands Andrea Mack plans on putting her $500 grant to good use in bringing in some guest performers.

“I use the money to bring in some clinicians and guest musicians to help inspire the band,” she said. “That would include specialists on percussion or any particular instrument to get us to the next level.”

Manistee Area Public Schools Early Literacy coach Ruth Simoneau received $500 that will be used to assist students to keep improving reading skills.

“It will be used to purchase additional books for our book exchange,” she said. “We started our summer reading program last year and did book exchanges every Wednesday night during the summer and as an extension of that we are going to continue a book exchange once a month throughout the school year. So we will be able to purchase 250 new books to add to our supply for our free book exchange.”

Elementary teacher Lean Antal received a grant for $300 for two different purposes.

“I am using it for some flexible seating to help my kids be comfortable, but I am getting microphones that look like the old head sets of telephones that they can plug into their iPad and hold up to their ear and then they can read to me for fluency or they can draw a picture of how they solved a math problem and record their voice,” she said.  “It does a great job of cutting out all the background noise.”

Antal said she wanted enough for every two kids so they can work with partners on it.

“A real cool thing we are doing is putting it on an application where parents are connected to it like a Facebook feed so they can see their kid’s journal,” she said. “So when the kids practice their fluency and read it gets sent to their journal and the parents can see it at home and see what their kids are doing with reading or solving math problems.”

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Posted by Ken Grabowski

Ken is News Advocate’s education reporter. He coordinates coverage for all Manistee County schools and West Shore Community College. He can be reached by phone at (231) 398-3125 or by email at kgrabowski@pioneergroup.com.

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