Led by Scottsville’s Study of the Role of Bread Making in the Development of Civilizations
Since its first appearance in 8000 B.C. in Egypt, bread making has been a powerful catalyst in the development of civilizations. In the upcoming school year, students at Scottsville Elementary School will gain a greater appreciation of that relationship, thanks to a hands-on project funded by a grant from the Shannon Foundation.
Scottsville is one of four Albemarle County public schools that received a total of eight grants for the 2018-19 school year from the Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education.
Teachers at Baker-Butler Elementary School, Burley Middle School, and Western Albemarle High School also were awarded grants for innovative learning projects.
The Scottsville project was proposed by Kristie Obrecht, the school’s gifted education teacher, who also serves as the school librarian. Her grant, Our Global Hearth: Exploring Cultures Through Traditional Foodways, will engage students in all grade levels.
“The process of baking bread and learning about its role throughout history is a fun and memorable way to incorporate math, science, social studies, and language arts into learning,” said Obrecht. “We even added a community service component, because in addition to bread, our students will bake dog biscuits for our local animal shelter,’ she added.
The most grants awarded to teachers from one school were the five awarded to Baker-Butler. Second-grade teacher Lisa Harman received two grants, one to study the various states of matter and one that will bring together second and fourth graders in the use of LED lights to illustrate their own fairy tales.
The school’s ESOL (English for Speakers of Other Languages) teacher, Sabra Timmins, will use her grant to allow students to hydroponically grow vegetables, adding to a greater understanding of the scientific method and scientific vocabulary by ESOL students.
Two other second-grade teachers, Nancy Kendall Williams and Lisa Baker, received grants that will showcase how American Indian tribes incorporate art forms into their lives and how to make weather instruments from everyday objects.
Burley Middle School’s visual arts teacher, Katie McKinley, will use her Shannon Foundation funding to have seventh graders use three-dimensional pens to create their own representations of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions. They then will use the same technique to develop their own ideas from sketchbook to 3D design stage.
At Western Albemarle High School, two teachers, Jason Collier and Forrest Garrison, named their project, Chickapig, for the popular board strategy game. Working with special education students at the school, they will use the game to improve the social-emotional and communication skills of these students with their peers.
The Edgar and Eleanor Shannon Foundation for Excellence in Public Education was established in 1990 to provide funds to public school teachers in Charlottesville City and Albemarle County for use in innovative programming. The Foundation is named for University of Virginia President Emeritus Edgar F. Shannon, Jr., and his wife, Eleanor, in honor of their contributions to public education over many years.
According to the Shannon Foundation, teachers who have received grants have documented an increase in student test scores and greater enthusiasm for learning among students. All administrative costs for the foundation are funded through contributions from its board of directors, so 100 percent of monies received from the public are used for school projects.
Among last year’s grant recipients was CATEC, which used its funding to help convert a school bus into Technical Eats, a working kitchen and food truck that made its debut earlier this year. The project, believed to be relatively unique across the country, brought together students in various school programs, including culinary arts, auto body, electrical, healthcare and medical services, and information and engineering technology, as key contributors.