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Innovative Teachers Granted Funds for Special Projects

"Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” —Nelson Mandela

Ventura County teachers know firsthand about the power of education to spark a student’s interest that can lead to a lifelong love of learning. In their pursuit to create meaningful educational experiences for students, 15 exceptional teachers were recently recognized by the Ventura County Office of Education for their unique and creative lessons.

Named as 2023 Ventura County IMPACT II grant recipients, local teachers received funding—$500 each and $1,000 for teams—for their projects in a variety of subjects, including history, language arts and social sciences.

From creating community mini book libraries to understanding feelings and health and safety issues, the projects aim to inspire, instruct and elevate student learning and can be replicated for years to come. Grant recipients shared their detailed lesson plans for free use by other teachers near and far online at VCOE.org.

Funded by local businesses and organizations—Amgen Foundation, Sage Publications and Corwin, and STS Education—in support of classroom innovations, the nine Impact Grants include the following projects:

·       A Day on the Farm, by Mia Rogers, Glen City Elementary

·       ¿Quién soy yo?: Defining Identity Nomenclature in Our Community, by Gloriana DeCandia, Isbell Middle School

·       Loteria: Not Your Abuela’s Mexican Bingo, by Jennifer Epley, Isbell Middle School

·       A World of Feelings: Understanding Our Emotions to Help Ourselves and Others Thrive, by Holly Johnson, Ventura Charter School

·       Covid 19 - Coping and Resiliency, by Tess Potchen, Brittnee Veldman and Danna Lomax, Los Primeros, CSUCI and VUSD Educational Services Center

·       Mini Libraries: Access to Books for ALL!, by Emily Noel, Hector Rodriguez and Michelle Wilson, Ventura Charter School

·       Informational Podcast: Discovering your Voice, by Mona Pinon, Channel Islands High School

·       Roxaboxen is. . . Empowering Young Children to Learn and Grow Through Imaginary Play, by Karen Mercer and Eric Cowen, Oak Grove School

·       Our Traits Are Great!, by Maria Geib and Alli Silverman Quiroz, Junipero Serra Elementary School in Ventura

In the past 3 decades, with the support of local organizations, more than $400,000 has been awarded to approximately 1,000 local educators for innovative and creative curriculum. Each year teachers of Grades K-12 submit their projects to be judged by a team of fellow educators and representatives from the business community.

IMPACT II aims to share excellent teaching ideas throughout the county and recognize innovative teachers with funds to continue their cutting-edge classroom projects, raising community awareness of exemplary classroom practices and boosting teacher morale.

Learn more at VCOE.org.