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Learning Alliance to award $10K in grants for teacher ideas

Junior Gonzalez
York Dispatch

The York County Alliance for Learning is looking to help fund teachers' classroom ideas and make them a reality through its Innovation Grants program.

The York County Alliance for Learning awarded 12 Innovation Grants to local educators totaling nearly $10,000. The selected applicants were honored at YCAL’s Career Education and Work Standards Symposium on Feb. 23. Pictured are grant recipients, from left, Tom Laure, of Susquehannock High School; Joyce Marburger, of Kennard-Dale High School; Kellin McCullough, of Susquehannock High School; June Stratmeyer, of Kennard-Dale High School; Toni Shearer (a grant writer); Angela Jordan, of Fawn Area Elementary; Becki McCullough and Jenell McKowen, both of Manheim Elementary; Matt Corwin, of Dallastown Area High School; Melissa Halcott, of Lincolnway Elementary; Denise Fuhrman, of York Suburban High School; Brian Heisey, of Central York Middle School; and Beverly Evans (grant committee member of York College). Other grant recipients are Chad Riddle and Jessica Rathell, both of Manheim Elementary, and Kevin Schussler and Rob Sealover, both of York County School of Technology.

The alliance started accepting applications in October and will continue through Jan. 2.

The grants aim to fund ideas drafted and submitted by teachers, with the help of local businesses, according to York County Alliance for Learning Director Kevin Appnel.

“This is a program that will essentially marry a school to a business,” he said.

More:York High students to run Bearcat Bistro

One recent example of the grant’s use was the opening of the Bearcat Bistro at William Penn Senior High School in May.

The coffee shop includes students in the York City School District’s Life Skills program, which assists those with moderate to severe disabilities.

Students in the program are given responsibilities to manage and run the shop several days per week.

The shop used ground coffee  from nearby coffee shop The Green Bean Roasting Co. and food service chain Aramark.

“They brought this project to life,” Appnel said of the business partners and Life Skills support staff, adding he believes the bistro's operation will give students important experience in running a business.

Appnel said he is hoping to fund $10,000 worth of Innovation Grant projects in 2018, about on par with the total  grants awarded for 2017.

Teachers can receive up to $1,000 for their “innovative” idea, according to the grant application.

Appnel said he has received grant applications asking for help funding campus businesses, starting a live news production or purchasing equipment such as drones or 3D printers.

“There is a wide range of ideas,” he said, “but we’re looking for teachers to think outside the box.”

For more information and to obtain a copy of the grant application packet, visit the YCAL website at http://www.ycal.us/innovation-grants.

Reach education reporter Junior Gonzalez via email at jgonzalez@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter @EducationYD.