LEEF gives $10,000 in grants to LISD programs

Grants will fund programs and buying equipment for teachers


More than $10,000 was distributed to 15 LISD educators and their student organizations last month, providing funding for numerous special educational programs, equipment and events.

The Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation (LEEF) delivered grants to a number of schools in the district through the foundation's seasonal grant patrol. Teachers were greeted with oversized grant checks and LISD staff shaking pom poms.

“These educators are doing amazing things in LISD schools, from incorporating multi-sensory teaching strategies for special needs students, to fostering student leadership groups, and expanding learning opportunities in school libraries,” said LEEF Executive Director Gloria Gonzales.

The grants were funded through LEEF’s annual public giving campaign, as well as a grant from Austin-based American Constructors that was awarded to robotics programs at Cedar Park, Vandegrift and Vista Ridge high schools.

Leander High School teacher Amanda Cordes received $500 to buy a Cricut machine. The precise cutting machine is the size of a printer that can cut intricate designs from computer design programs into a variety of materials.

“I was so excited to receive this grant,” Cordes said. “As an educator, I will benefit by having a Cricut machine because I can also learn new tools and programs to share with my students.”

Cordes said the Cricut machine will allow students to learn a new trade.

“It’s cutting-edge art, pun intended,” she said. “With the addition of the Cricut machine in the classroom, students can be more involved in the creative process. I think it will help boost school pride and morale by allowing students to design school stickers, car decals, mugs, and T-shirts.”

With student populations rapidly growing and state funding for public education continuing to shrink, LEEF's role in providing additional resources for teachers and students in LISD is becoming increasingly important, Gonzales said.

“We are excited to see how the grant recipients use these funds to support innovation and enrichment in LISD schools,” Gonzales said.

Included in the grant patrol were the following LISD staff members:
- Leander ISD Admin: Becky Calzada — ReThink It: What's Next for Leander ISD Libraries?
- Rouse High School: Sylvia Wood — FRC Robotics
- Parkside Elementary: Roxanne Youngblood — Big Books for Shared Reading!
- Vista Ridge High School: Katy Dougharty — AP Blackout Studio
- Reed Elementary: Mina Kang — Incorporating Multi-Sensory Teaching Strategies for Students with Autism, ADHD, and other Developmental Disabilities
- Reed Elementary: Susan Hansen — Spanish Poetry Festival
- Reed Elementary: Richard Huey — Bridging the Gap Between School and Community For Students with Special Needs
- Cedar Park High School: Michael Kalb — FRC Robotics
- Cedar Park High School: Debby Barnes — Learning Breaks out of the Box!
- Leander High School: Amanda Cordes — Cricut Machine
- Leander High School: Emily Veraa — Microscopic Views
- Glenn High School: Arturo Lomeli — Hombres de Honor
- Grandview Hills Elementary: Dee Porter — Guided Reading Professional Books
- Vandegrift High School: Irad Allen, Tamany Wendel, Joe Adrian — FRC Robotics