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CoServ funds teacher creativity through education foundation grants

By NICHOLAS SAKELARIS | CoServ

A calculus class at Lone Star High School in Frisco ISD used Dash 6 robots to learn about Riemann sums, derivatives and integrals. The students coded the robots to go specific directions and distances, then recorded the data.

In Northwest ISD, district administrators are filming Science Snacks — short, educational videos that combine science lessons with nutritious food.

What these two school activities from two corners of CoServ’s service territory have in common is that they were funded by grants from the CoServ Charitable Foundation through the districts’ education foundations.

CoServ distributes approximately $280,000 to education foundations in 23 school districts to support teacher-initiated grants each year. These funds come directly from CoServ Members and Customers who participate in Operation Roundup, where their bills are rounded up to the nearest dollar.  

“CoServ believes there is no greater investment in a community’s future than supporting public education. Supporting the grants for teachers is the biggest way we can make an impact in the classroom that is innovative and engaging,” said Jessica Craft, CCF and Outreach Coordinator. “We are a proud partner of education foundations and in turn, our teachers and students.”

Rise of the Robots 

Lone Star High School Math Teacher Anna Ray wants her students to experience calculus in the real world. For years, that meant turning high school students loose with their own vehicles where they would measure velocity and acceleration while driving.

In 2019, she applied for a Frisco Education Foundation grant for Dash 6 robots that students could use for the project instead of their own vehicles.

The results have been amazing for her students because they not only learn advanced math skills but troubleshooting, programming and engineering.

“I can’t thank them enough for investing in me and investing in my students.” Anna said.

Science Snacks is ready to go viral 

Northwest ISD administrators Amy Hollenshead and Kelly Suarez realized early on in the COVID-19 pandemic that there aren’t many elementary-level science videos on the Internet. And many of the videos that are out there have incorrect information in them. 

They decided to do something about it by applying for a Northwest Education Foundation grant for video equipment, books and materials to make their own videos. 

The rest is Science Snack history.

“Outdoor Amy” and “Princess Science,” as they are known, started creating the fun, energetic videos last spring.

The goal is to teach science concepts in a practical manner, expose children to agricultural careers and give them a new appreciation and understanding for where food comes from.

“We did not want to stop scientific learning [in case we had to go to remote learning again],” Amy said. “And the number one thing that brings people together is food!

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