Fresno, CA – Thousands of students have the opportunity to participate in innovative
educational projects, thanks to a long-standing program funded by the California Table
Grape Commission (commission) on behalf of California table grape growers.
The “Innovation in Teaching” grant program was created in 1993 to support innovative
teaching projects in the California table grape growing regions of the San Joaquin and
Coachella valleys. Projects include the areas of agriculture, math, science, art, health, and
In total, 51 education grants worth up to $750 each were awarded. The funded projects will
be implemented in the current academic year and will reach over 9,000 students, grades K
“It is great to see so many exciting and innovative projects being implemented by teachers
in the state’s table grape growing regions,” said Kathleen Nave, president of the
Examples of projects being funded this year include using robotic kits, mannequins that will
help teach students how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and the creation
of mobile applications.
California grape growers are proud to support the following education grants awarded to
schools in the San Joaquin and Coachella valleys:
Bakersfield City School District
How Green is Your Garden
Kathryn Douglas-Tierney, Owens Intermediate School
Fifth grade students will grow vegetables to blend into smoothies and dehydrate into healthy
snacks as they learn about physical wellness and good food choices. Grant funds will be used to
purchase an Aerogarden, seeds for herbs and vegetables, a dehydrator, and a blender.
Make Math Fun Again!
Amanda Madkins-Choyce, Mount Vernon Elementary
First grade students will integrate math learning with all the other subjects, like science, art,
and reading. Grant funds will be used to purchase Lakeshore curriculum kits to learn about
season and weather, bugs and insects, force and motion, shapes and counting, patterns,
measuring, and more.
Our Kinder Garden is Blooming!
Valerie Padilla, Evergreen Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase raised garden beds, soil, compost, and gardening tools for
these kindergarten students to learn about how food grows.
Tasting the Rainbow
Jessica Ercoli, New Teacher Support
Grant funds will purchase healthy eating books, fruits, and vegetables for kindergarten and first
grade students to taste and try in lessons about health, science, math, reading, and writing.
The Munsey News Network
Sarah Reiss, Munsey Elementary School
Fourth and fifth grade students will write scripts and produce a twice per week news show for
the entire school. Grant funds will be used to purchase a camcorder, microphone, editing
software, and news team t-shirts.
The One-Mile Club
Laurie Kessler, William Penn Elementary School
Fifth grade students will run one mile in 12 minutes or less to pass the California State Physical
Education test in April. Grant funds will be used to purchase a standing digital timer,
stopwatches, tally counters, ankle weights, a wagon for transporting the equipment, and an
Water Necessary for Optimum Plant Growth
Shun Yee Florence Flesche, Munsey Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase tools and plants for the garden planters as these fourth
grade students explore science, technology, engineering, and mathematics to conduct science
experiments and find out how much water to use to yield optimum plant growth.
Water to Help our Garden Grow
Rachel Lenix, Downtown Elementary School
Sixth grade students will contribute grant purchased water barrels to the school garden as they
learn about the water cycle, water conservation, science, water safety, and nutrition.
Central Unified School District
United Physical Education
Theresa Bollier, Central High School
Grant funds will be used to purchase outdoor recreation and fitness equipment and games for
high school students to engage in dynamic learning to improve fitness, flexibility, strength, and
endurance in an inclusive class where peer coaches learn leadership skills and apply their
Clovis Unified School District
Innovating with Adafruit Circuit Playground
Delaine Johnson, Reyburn Intermediate School
Seventh and eighth grade students will program and code a design of their own invention all
the way to the prototype stage with this grant-funded coding educator’s pack of hardware and
Coachella Valley Unified School District
Hydrogen Fuel Cell Car
Edwin Detoya, Bobby Duke Middle School
Grant funds will be used to purchase hydrogen fuel cell car science kits for these seventh and
eighth grade students to learn more about chemistry, renewable resources, science, and
engineering with real life applications.
Coalinga-Huron Unified School District
Applying Measurement and Geometry Through Quilting
Jessica Fairbanks, Coalinga High School
Grant funds will be used to purchase sewing machines, irons, ironing boards, cutters, and
cutting mats for this after school program for ninth through twelfth grade students to learn
about quilting, geometry, and measurement as they create their own geometric patterns. Each
student will create a block for a “Quilt of Valor” that will be donated to a local veteran.
Your Body is a Walking Wonder
Lauren Andrade, Sunset Elementary School
Fourth and fifth grade students will use grant fund purchased pedometers to learn about
physical education, nutrition, health, mathematics, physiology, and kinesiology.
Delano Union Elementary School District
Lights, Camera, Action!
Rene Mendivil, La Vina Middle School
Eighth grade theater and performance art students will explore their creativity as they write,
direct, illustrate, perform, record, edit, and publish original plays. Grant funds will be used to
purchase a camera, software, and memory cards.
Virtual Reality Classroom
Patricia Guzman, Nueva Vista Language Academy
Grant funds will be used to purchase virtual reality headsets for second grade students to see
and be a part of the Discovery Channel, academic games, and far-away places, as every lesson
becomes a real experience.
Mindfulness Through Fitness
Griselda Boydstun Gomez, Nueva Vista Language Academy
Grant-funded exercise equipment and healthy snacks will allow third through fifth grade
students to value themselves and each other as they learn about health, fitness, and nutrition.
Desert Sands Unified School District
Career Girls Day
Kayla Adler, Palm Desert High School
Fifth through twelfth grade students will learn about science, technology, engineering, arts, and
math (S.T.E.A.M.) career pathways at Career Girls Day. Grant funds will be used for activity kits
and follow-up classes to learn coding, 3D printing, and a Women in Ag Saturday workshop.
Edison School District
Edison Middle School Garden Expansion Project
Brian Holle, Edison Middle School
Grant funds will be used to purchase fencing and related supplies to secure, beautify, and
define the expanding garden. Seventh and eighth grade students will help with the expansion
project in addition to being able to grow fruits, vegetables, and ornamental plants in agriculture
Firebaugh Las Deltas Unified School District
Ana Herrera, Firebaugh Middle School
Students in the sixth through eighth grades will explore their creativity as they learn to apply
the artistic process and principles of design to sculpt original works of art. Grant funds will be
used to purchase wire, clay, and sculpting tools.
Fresno Unified School District
Eat Your Pudding and Your Spoon!
Janice Kruse, Yokomi Science and Technology Elementary School
Grant funds will purchase edible spoon makers and groceries for fifth grade students to learn
next generation science standards as they figure out how to eat soup, pudding, and frozen
yogurt using basic kitchen ingredients to construct an edible spoon.
Suzanne Webster-Jones, Figarden Elementary School
Fourth grade students will learn about California missions and California farmland as they learn
math and history playing Minecraft. Grant funds will be used to purchase 20 Xbox controllers
to allow students to build quicker.
We Need Flexible Seating!
Kristy Page, Wilson Elementary School
Kindergarten through sixth grade students will be able to move, release stress, improve
circulation, and stay calm with grant fund purchased balance ball chairs.
Hanford Elementary School District
Healthiest 5K on the Planet
Jennifer Bays, READY Expanded Learning at Roosevelt Elementary
Third through sixth grade students will learn about the importance of exercise, a healthy diet,
and their impact on the body with grant fund purchased t-shirts and dye for team participation
in the culminating activity, a 5K run and obstacle course.
Kern High School District
CSI: Forensic Investigations
Kevin Crosby, AIM Center/Kern High School District
Grant-funded forensic kits like “Who Stole the Gold” and “Case of the Missing Mascot” will
allow ninth through twelfth grade students to collaborate and analyze the data as they collect
clues and solve mysteries via realistic crime scenes.
Matter and Energy Cycling in Aquaponics Ecosystems
Kristin Hudlow, Centennial High School
Ninth and tenth grade students will study food chains, food webs, biogeochemical cycles, and
macromolecules with a grant fund purchased aquaponics system for classroom use.
Multicultural Classic Books for Diverse Students!
Andrew Chilton, Stockdale High School
Twelfth grade students will choose books to read from a diverse assortment that are
multicultural in content and written by well-respected international authors. Grant funds will
be used to purchase books.
Kings River – Hardwick Union Elementary School District
Fact Fluency Through Games
Tim Price, Kings River – Hardwick Elementary School
Second grade students will learn math fluency through games and fun activities with grant
funds purchasing dice, cards, dominoes, locks, and more.
Stepping it Up
Tim Price, Kings River – Hardwick Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase activity trackers for second grade students to learn about
health and wellness as they track their progress, learning math and geography in the process.
Kingsburg Elementary School District
Lepidoptera Life Cycle and Metamorphosis
Gini Muradian, Central Valley Home School
Grant funds will be used to purchase caterpillars to enhance the science curriculum of the
kindergarten through eighth grade students as they learn about life-cycles and metamorphosis.
Kingsburg Joint Union High School District
Mobile App Development
Joshua Woods, Kingsburg High School
Ninth through twelfth grade students will use grant fund purchased tablets to test their apps as
they collaborate with peers and professionals to research, develop, and present their very own
Madera Unified School District
Early Literacy Skills Builder
Chelsea Cappelluti, Sierra Vista Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase Early Literacy Skills Builder curriculum to focus daily on
reading and target comprehension skills for kindergarten through sixth grade students.
Everyone can be a Hero!
Patty Hanson, Madera South High School
Ninth through twelfth grade students will be able to recognize when someone is choking and
respond appropriately with these grant funds being used to purchase five choking “Manikin”
vests that students will wear to safely and successfully practice the Heimlich Maneuver.
Norris School District
Differentiated Learning Through Flexible Seating
Christy Nelson, William B. Bimat Elementary School
Sixth grade students will be able to choose where they want to sit throughout the day to
maximize engagement; collaborate, communicate, and think critically with better posture; and
increase core strength and metabolism. Grant funds will be used to purchase balance ball
chairs, wobble seats, a table and chairs, futon, and more.
Palm Springs Unified School District
Sensory Garden for Functional Life Skill Special Education Students
Nicole Stayskal, Rancho Mirage High School
Grant funds will be used to purchase horticultural therapy supplies including seeds, gloves,
grow lights, and a starter kit for ninth through twelfth grade students to enjoy hands-on
learning about science, math, art, and literature.
Panama Buena Vista Union School District
Hands on STEM Kits for Kindergarten
Joni Wattenbarger, Panama Elementary School
Kindergarten students will use science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) kits to be
active learners and problem solvers. Grant funds will be used to purchase Design & Build
Engineering centers, Create a Path Magnetic Center, and Fairy Tale Problem Solving STEM kits.
Porterville Unified School District
Robert Aguilar, Porterville High School
Grant funds will be used to purchase roses, perennials, and landscaping tools for ninth through
twelfth grade students to design, beautify, and maintain their school campus.
Riverdale Joint Unified School District
Design and Build 3D Printed Cars for Safety During Collisions
Loretta Anders, Riverdale High School
Twelfth grade students will design and print their own 3D race cars to minimize impact forces
during a collision. Computer simulations will assess and test the physics of the car crashes.
Grant funds will be used to purchase the sensors required to collect momentum and impulse
Yoga for Kids with Special Needs – Sensory Management
Shawna Vital, Fipps Primary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase yoga mats, yoga carpet, bead packs, balance stones, and
more for these transitional kindergarten through third grade students to learn spatial
awareness, motor skills, self-regulation, and manage symptoms of anxiety for overall learning
Roman Catholic Diocese of Fresno School District
Catherine Cash, Our Lady of Victory Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase a subscription to BrainPOP Junior videos that captivate the
attention and imagination of second grade students as they learn about reading, writing,
grammar, science, math, health, arts, and more.
Jordan Faiman, Our Lady of Victory Elementary School
Third and fourth grade students will have a choice of flexible seating to regain focus and keep
their brain moving at all times. Grant funds will be used to purchase stability ball chairs,
wobble stools, and classic adjustable round tables.
Jordan Faiman, Our Lady of Victory Elementary School
Third and fourth grade students will learn about science, technology, engineering, and math
(STEM) at engaging, hands-on centers. Grant funds will be used to purchase Design & Play,
Survive the Quake, Power Tiles Circuit, Shpero BOLT, and Hot Dots Multiplication problem
solving STEM kits.
Rosedale Union School District
Making Musicians in Music Club
Steve Winn, Freedom Middle School
Grant funds will be used to purchase bongos, drums, maracas, and a cowbell beater for seventh
and eighth grade music club students to learn about and enjoy drums and hand percussion.
These instruments are needed to accommodate the members of this club.
Sanger Unified School District
Fairmont Fresh Farm Store
Christine Klistoff, Fairmont Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase tilt display shelves, basket displays, and a cash register for
these kindergarten through eighth grade students to upgrade their fresh farm store from selling
under a tent to a dedicated building near their farming operation.
Selma Unified School District
Building Language Through Science
Monica Tovar, Laura Zuniga, Rosa Flores, and Eleanor Salazar; George Washington
Kindergarten students will learn about science and animals, writing about what they learn, as
grant funds make possible a field trip to the Fresno Chaffee Zoo, and a follow-up ZooMobile
presentation to get up-close and personal with different animals.
Tehachapi Unified School District
Debbie Haeberle, Jacobsen Middle School
Grant funds will be used to purchase printing, photography, and art supplies for sixth grade
students to create original pieces of art, laminated foil prints of landscapes.
…The Academies Charter Management Organization…
Jennifer Denham, Sycamore Valley Academy
Grant funds will be used to purchase kindness curriculum for each grade, kindergarten through
sixth, to stop bullying, build self-esteem, and cultivate compassion while building children’s self-
value and academic achievement.
Running on Raspberry Pi
Gloria Ramos, Blue Oak Academy Charter
First through third grade students will use grant funded machine building, coding, and
programming kits to collaborate about problem solving, electrical circuits, and electrical
engineering as they build robots and machines.
Tulare City School District
Graphic Design on iPads
Ryan Turner, Cherry Avenue Middle School
Seventh and eighth grade students will create original fliers, posters, business cards, t-shirt
designs, and much more as they study graphic design using the iPad and Apple Pencil purchased
with grant funds.
Visalia Unified School District
Fictional Writing with Legos
Salvador Campos, Golden Oak Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase Legos for fourth grade students to create characters and
scenarios for fictional writing projects.
Full Steam Ahead… Preparing the Next Generation of Scientists and Engineers!
Diane Medeiros, Linwood Elementary School
Fourth through sixth grade students will design, build, and code various kinds of robots as part
of their studies in science, engineering, and math. Grant funds will be used to purchase robotic
“WeDo” Love Hands-on Science in the First Grade!
Teresa Conard, Linwood Elementary School
Grant funds will be used to purchase LEGO Education WeDo 2.0 Core Set software to allow first
grade students to construct science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) projects
designed for the Next Generation Science Standards.
For more information on the “Innovation in Teaching” grant program, go to