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It's a Wrap! Venture Grants Roundup for 2022/23

Each year, the Great Valley School District Education Foundation embraces the spirit of empowerment by sponsoring our innovative Venture Grant programs. These grants serve as a beacon of inspiration, illuminating the remarkable programs conceptualized and championed by our exceptional teachers and staff. The sheer brilliance and ingenuity displayed in the submissions received this school year left an indelible mark on our hearts. While we would have loved to fund every extraordinary idea, we stand tall, beaming with pride for those programs that receive the nod.



Equitable Access to Library Books


The GVSD Education Foundation was pleased to have awarded our latest Venture Grant to the Great Valley High School Library for books that allow for equitable access for high school students at all reading levels. The books were unveiled at the high school library this week to about 50 students with varying reading abilities.

The grant applicant, Learning Support Teacher, Angela Michaels, calls these resources “high-low books.” High-low books, also known as high-interest, low-reading-level books, are specifically designed to engage struggling or learning-disabled high school students who may be reading below their grade level. These books typically have a more accessible vocabulary and sentence structure while maintaining an engaging and age-appropriate story line.

They offer compelling stories and relatable characters, which can help motivate and encourage students with learning disabilities to improve their reading skills. The foundation is delighted to be able to provide the resources to ensure that all students have equitable access to library books. Kelsey Bogan is a Library Media Specialist who was instrumental in acquiring and disseminating the books. They spoke to foundation staff about integrating the high-low books into the stacks of regular readers in the library. She said: “it’s essential for the kids of different reading levels to be able to have equitable access to these books just as any other student has”. Kelsey went on to say, “ I’ve seen these books help our reading-challenged students become better readers because the material holds their interests and inspires them to read more.”



Calm Down Kits


When children are upset, fearful, angry, depressed or confused, they withdraw, shutdown, or act out. Calm Down Kits are a box of effective tools that can help students refocus so that they can again begin to learn. Items such as a weighted lap blanket, headphones, widgets and manipulatives, stress balls and Magic Sand, all help uptight students regain their composure. Each classroom was provided with a Calm Down Kit. Students, parents, and teachers alike were amazed how these small interventions redirected students back to “normal” and back to learning.

Although the VG requested funds to supply all four elementary schools with Calm Down Kits, the Foundation was only able to fund this initiative in one of the schools. The feedback from this project shows very positive results. As donations allow, the Foundation hopes to fund the project in all the district’s elementary schools. When children are upset, fearful, angry, depressed or confused, they withdraw, shutdown, or act out. Calm Down Kits are a box of effective tools that can help students refocus so that they can again begin to learn. Items such as a weighted lap blanket, headphones, widgets and manipulatives, stress balls and Magic Sand, all help uptight students regain their composure. Each classroom was provided with a Calm Down Kit. Students, parents, and teachers alike were amazed how these small interventions redirected students back to “normal” and back to learning.

Andrew Wyeth: Painting with Egg Tempura


This project allows the Art curriculum at the GVMS to expand to include a new medium for the students. It also connects students with a local famous artist: Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth used egg tempura as his vehicle for many of his paintings. This project allows students to “create” the medium by separating eggs and then using the egg yolk and pigment to practice achieving the effect of building up the image by thin layering. This Venture Grant expanded the learning and firsthand experiences of the middle school students. Although only a beginning, the project may become an expanded and integral part of the middle school art curriculum. VGs are funded exclusively through donations from our community and allow teachers to test new ideas to enrich the regular curriculum.


Child Study Team Intervention Strategies


The Child Study Team is a type of “swat team” of highly trained teachers who come together to focus on the behavioral, educational, or emotional issues that a student presents to them. The team determines if specialized classes are needed to improve the learning opportunities for a particular student. But if the student does not need a special class but needs extra strategies and support in a regular classroom, no such materials or strategies exist today.

This Venture Grant supplied supports like rewards, fidgets, weighted lap blankets, wobble chair bands. Many have to do with sensory input.

Many students today need to re-acclimate themselves to school after the time away with COVID. Behavioral and emotional issues today are much more prevalent as students come back to school full-time. Although the VG requested funds to supply all four elementary schools with the CST Intervention/Strategies project, the Foundation was only able to fund this initiative in one of the schools. The feedback from this project shows very positive results. As donations allow, the Foundation hopes to fund the project in all the district’s elementary schools.






Multilingual Elementary Mobile Library


This initiative for a “lending library” to be used in all the elementary schools wants to address the many different native languages spoken by today’s GV students. Currently the schools have very few illustrated multilingual books, chapter books and novels except for a few Spanish titles.


Having books written in their native language excites students to want to read and feel welcomed in the new environment. Ideally, there would be mobile libraries in every elementary school with ever increasing collections of native language books to meet the needs of this growing population.




















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