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The Prize Posse Finds FISD Teachers with Great Ideas (December, 2005)

The FEF Prize Posse takes its cue from Publisher’s Clearing House, knocking on classroom doors and catching the winners unawares – though no one has ever been caught in a bathrobe!

Jeff Crowe and K JonasJeff Crowe, winner of one of this year’s Frisco Education Foundation’s Grants for Great Ideas, had just e-mailed the FEF offices asking when the grant winners would be announced when the FEF Prize Posse showed up at his door to tell him that his request for a grant to supply students with maps for Mapping Texas into U.S. History was now a reality.
Members of the FEF Board of Directors saluted the teacher and bragged about him to his students.

“I had just asked your office when we would be finding out,” Crowe said laughing as he thanked the FEF Director K Jonas and the board for their support of his idea.

The Prize Posse goes out every year armed with balloons and a giant check prototype. The winning teacher’s projects are selected by a FEF committee as the most deserving of FEF funds for the Grants for Great Ideas program. Teachers must apply for the grants for specific educational enrichment programs. Crowe teaches at Clark Middle School and he was joined in winning by Catherine Wright who teaches science. Mrs. Wright won a grant for building a solar racer with her students. Mrs. Wright, who spent her summer at space camp, was excited to win and the FEF board members all asked if they could come see the solar racer project when it is completed.

Second graders at Shawnee Trail were excited to learn that the entire second grade teaching team had won money to study Which Comes First, the Chicken or the Egg? The students will be watching eggs hatch in their classes to learn about the life cycle of the chicken.

Ashley ElementarySince beginning the Grants for Great Ideas program in the 2001-2002 school years, the program has given out more than 40,000 – that includes this year’s grant funds of $11,500. The money comes mainly from the employee payroll deduction program at FISD.

Other winners of the Grants for Great Ideas programs this year include: Laura Petty from Borchardt Elementary School for her Family Funpacks idea; Karen McCollister of Ashley for a Building a Stronger America through Science and Literacy program and Laura Smith of Ashley for a grant for guided reading books that will deal with science and social studies; Meredith Brown of Wester for a project entitled US Presidents Survivor Series; Leigh Ann Jones and all the district librarians for the Frisco Reads program; Pam Meis of Rogers for a program called Boomwhackers: A Totally Tubular Experience, and Christie Talley for “Zoo”rific Science at Rogers  and Rogers Principal Susan Nesmith and Robin Waterbury for Comprehension Counts; Fisher’s team headed by Debbie Thompson was selected for a program called the Dendrite Connection; Bright teachers Missy Yeager, Lynne Rhodes and Michelle Snow were all winners this year for programs Math Mania, Big Books for Bright Kids, and Wild Walking Winners; Christie Cutherbertson of Pioneer Heritage Middle School won a grant for Scrapbooking School Memories and Susan Hendrix and Tracy Viars of PHMS won for a program called Writers in Toyland.

Many of the teachers worked with teams to apply for their grants and the money will help all the classes in specific courses and grades.

FEF Board members said they enjoyed going into the schools and meeting the teachers and students who benefit from the FEF grants. The board looked at bulletin boards, visited with students who were out and about and got to see FISD campuses at work. At Clark, Crowe’s bulletin board outside of his class featured construction paper men’s ties decorated with history of the American Revolution under the heading Cutting Our Ties With England.  The Prize Posse was very impressed with the concept and told Crowe so. Ever honest he admitted that it was a “great idea” he borrowed from another teacher.