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Mini Grants for Teachers
The Petal Education Foundation encourages innovative programs in the classroom by offering mini-grants for teachers.
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2021 Mini Grant Winners

Petal Education Foundation/Forrest County Board of Supervisors

PES Sensory Room—Caitlyn Castille and Kristina Warren—The Sensory Room provides physical and mental stimulus for children with physical disabilities, developmental delays and sensory impairments.  All activities are designed to further develop sight, sound, touch and hearing, as well as encouraging independence.


Get a Cue!  Gifted teachers; Beth Roberts, Brittany Gerlach and Robin Rector—the grant will purchase Cue, a Wonder Workshop product.  The program is designed to develop computer science skills, fundamental skills of critical thinking, problem solving and collaboration.  Coding with JavaScript.


Breaking into Engagement with Breakout EDU-Kelly Locastro—275 students will be served this coming year.  Teachers will create student-centered, collaborative tasks with high levels of engagement.  Students will be provided literature and informational passages to find the “code” to unlock the next assignment. 


Shredded Paper Fire Logs—Karen John—The grant will purchase 2 paper shredders, briquette maker, jumbo roller garbage cans, storage containers, buckets, painter mixer, wire rack.  Students will take repurposed material to create a product useful for consumers.  The academic achievement will be three-fold 1) understanding the process of recycling and eliminating waste, 2) realizing the process of creating a product, 3) engaging in consumer-based science of purchasing and buying.  The 6-10 students are classified with significant cognitive disability.


The Panther Stop-A One Stop Shop—Paige Hutchinson—CTE students will form a business, the Panther Stop, to provide a place that is student run, but available to all PHS students. 

Students will be faced with a real work environment, to learn problem-solving, teamwork, and drive to succeed in the workplace.  Management, merchandising, money management and soft skills are part of the learning experience.


Panther Brew 2.0--Kaitlyn Perry—Alternate Diploma students at PHS will go into the community to learn employability and job readiness skills through job shadowing and simulated work experience.   They will partner with ScreenPrince, and will produce apparel for Panther Brew Coffee Shop.  After apparel is produced, the student will stock and sell apparel within the Panther Brew Coffee Shop.


Getting Linked in. indeed with Laptops—Heather Reid—Project SEARCH students will boost networking abilities, by working on Laptop computers for the creation of Linked in and indeed accounts, build resumes, set goals and participate in employment searches.


Disc Golf. Developing Students. Developing a Course.—Wendy Hogue—9 Disc golf baskets and accompanying sets  will be purchased.   The creation of a disc golf course around campus is designed to promote the healthy development of high school students both physically and socially.  As a school PHS hosts multiple disc golf tournaments within the PE classes and among the students and staff as a whole.


Dr. Amanda Williamson—“This Little Light of Mine”- The grant will serve the teen parent population and their child birth-three years of age.  Funds will help establish Parents as Teachers Teen Parent program within the Petal School District.


Debbie Kreiser—“Bilingual Boost”—during an hour-long weekly class, four-year-old limited-English speakers who are not enrolled in any preschool will practice academic skills and social routines needed for kindergarten success.  A parent/guardian will attend with each child in order to learn the English needed to practice skills/concepts with the child at home.


Samantha Bryson & Mary Cirino-“Dramatic Play for Pre-K”—during weekly Playshop sessions, the preschool age children will engage in dramatic play, also known as pretend play or creative play.  Dramatic play is one of the primary ways young children develop self-concept.  This grant will expand the dramatic play props and setting currently set up in the Playshop auditorium of The Coleman Center for Families and Children.


Samantha Bryson—“Balanced Kids”—Balanced Kids will be an introductory yoga class provided to pre-k students and children served through The Coleman Center introducing breathing techniques, stretching, simple yoga poses, and meditation.  The main focus will be to encourage students and children to breathe and relax their minds.

Ready to Read-- Nicole Cooley, PMS-Sets of books purchased would enhance the classroom libraries of all 8th grade ELA teachers.  Nicole states that students need to read books for pleasure, books that they choose.  Researchers assert that enthusiasm, interest, enjoyment, and satisfaction are all emotions associated with increasing student engagement.  By giving students a wide variety of books to choose from and by giving them the simple ability to choose, it is believed that their engagement and success will exponentially increase.


2020 Mini Grant Winners

Petal Education Foundation/Forrest County Board of Supervisors


Step Into STEM by Jana Perry, Petal Primary School is an evening event that provides hands-on engagement in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Math industries by partnering with businesses and organizations in Petal and the surrounding areas.  The grant will provide the opportunity to grow the tried and true event that was held last year and to grow it and allow funding to teachers to increase the rigor and type of experiments and experiences for their primary students.


It’s Not Easy Being Green:  The Tower Garden Project, Sherrill Adamo, Petal Elementary School

Approximately 210 gifted education students will participate in a hands-on gardening experience from planting to harvesting by utilizing engineering skills to build a vertical areoponic growing system. 


Operation Celebration, Amy Farris, Petal Elementary School

This project will be a culminating carnival event to encourage third graders, celebrate their learning, and recognize their efforts of mastering the four mathematical operations of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division by participating in a carnival which will include math problems, games, music, food, and fun.


“Os”mazing Learning, Amanda Graham, Petal Elementary School

The grant will purchase the Osmo system; Genius Starter Kit and Explorer Starter Kit.  Mathmatical as well as social skills will be enhanced when third and fourth grade students apply addition, subtraction, reasoning and observational skills in the Detective Agency format and the Pizza Company Osmo system.


I Hear It, I See It, I Read It! Dana Reed, Petal Elementary

The goal of the project is to increase students’ reading fluency, expression, and comprehension by utilizing Speak & Listen Recording Microphones, Fiction/Non-Fiction Read Along Sets, Headphones, CD/Cassette Players W/Bluetooth and a Mobile Listening Center. 


Brains Over Strains, Nicole Cooley and Brooklyn Woodrow, Petal Middle School, will purchase class sets and reference books to create a cross-curricular unit to alleviate some anxiety due to false information concerning pandemics and outbreaks from former times in history.  The books will serve two purposes:  one, to inform the student of the serious nature of viruses and why certain public health measures are necessary; and two, to teach the student humanity’s history with viruses. 


Epic Buzzer-Battles of History, Skye Morgan, Petal High School

Grant funds will aid in the preparation for future History Bowls and Bee competitions that require approved hand-held electronic buzzer systems.  The PHS History Bowl Team will now have systems to effectively practice and prepare for competitions across the United States.  The grant will also provide startup funds for competition travel.



Copy, Coffee and Conversation:  Book Clubs in the Den, Lisa McDonald, Petal High School

Mini grant monies will be used to purchase books that the Book Club organizers choose to purchase for the club.  Book club members recruited are those uninvolved in extracurricular activities.  Book clubs will meet before school in “The Den” to enjoy coffee and conversation about the selected reading. 


Reconnecting in the Courtyard, Darin Farris, Petal High School

Outdoor games, such as, Outdoor Chess/Checkers, Jenga, Four In-A-Row, Yard-Zee, Giant Dominoes, Jumbo pick-up sticks will be purchased.   All students who are waiting for school to begin or waiting for the bus in the afternoon will be encouraged to play with the materials and develop supportive connections. The goal, particularly for those who ride buses and those who might not be engaged in extracurricular activities, is to provide the opportunity to connect with their peers and teachers.  A storage bin and wooden crate will be purchased to house the equipment.



Attention Grabbing “ Cricut”  Kim Hinton, Petal High School

The Business and Marketing curriculum will this year, require the addition of a school store.  The grant funds will purchase the Cricut machine so as to allow students to create many types of advertizing items.   Students will get firsthand knowledge in product service management, promotion, selling, and marketing planning.


Panther Transit  Julie Fondren, Petal High School

Panther Transit will serve 25 families experiencing homelessness or economic need of transportation assistance.  The need of medical care, both physical and mental is included.  The goal of the project is to aid the parent so that the child can receive the care they need and in turn, increase their attendance and ability to engage while at school.  This project will partner with a local transportation company, Grove Transit.

2018 Mini Grant Winners

Digital Storytelling: The Stories We Tell, Kristy Linton and Whitney Howard.  Petal Primary students will create a musical story using a set of images and their own imaginations. Students will record their own narration, and create a soundtrack to accompany the story on the 4 iPads that will be purchased.

iCreate by Anna Henderson.  Anna plans to enrich her creativity lab experience by providing 4 iPads so students can mesh hands-on artwork with digital enhancements.  They will be able to create an online art portfolio whereby additional funds could be generated for art through Artsonia.

Andrea Picket will Keep Book Bowl Rolling—this grant will allow PES students to continue the opportunity to participate in the fun, quiz show type competition that encourages students to read award winning, high interest books.  Challenging puzzles and solving clue mysteries help to reveal the books.  The Book Bowl Game Championship completes the 10 week experience.  

Calling All Travelers from Wondering to Wandering (Part 2), by Cathy Lee and Melinda Moore, Using Nearpod technology and VR headsets, teachers can link places and videos for a virtual visit to places across the globe. With the purchase of a 360 degree camera, students will be encouraged to create their own VR lessons as they travel to historical places. 

Microcontrollers for Middle Schoolers by Tracy Mosley.  A possible 120-130 students will be part of a pilot program to implement Cyber Foundations I, Cyber Foundations II, and a Computer Science and Engineering class.  Students will be taught to explore problem solving create Apps, and intro to HTML, coding, algorithms and programming.

Shannon Rehm wrote the proposal, Robo Panthers.  Shannon plans to start a robotics team at the Petal Middle School and to continue the robotics programs from the elementary schools.  This STEM program will allow students to continue the data analysis, critical thinking, and data collection, for each competition.

Panthers Printing 3-D by Kathy Townsend will allow for the purchase of two 3-D printers and filament.  The 3-D printers will “unlock the potential in every student to create, innovate and fabricate.”  Middle school students will be subject to 21st Century skills.

Lindsey Iosty’s grant proposal--CS4MS@PMS  This project will benefit students by providing a hands-on experience to assemble robots and collaborate with classmates to construct and/or program the robots to perform actions.

World Language Learning Lab Stations- Laura Lee Moore.  Three unique learning stations in her World Language classroom will allow for integration of technology so lessons can be designed to support language acquisition for interpretive, interpersonal and presentational skills.  Students will receive continuous and rapid feedback that is critical in the acquisition, maintenence, and generalization of foreign language learned skills

Missy Hamilton –Young Einsteins’ Discovery Lab—A room at the Coleman Center for Families and Children will be repurposed as a math and science lab for use by preschools, primary school classes, private tutoring sessions, and families in the community who which to enhance or reinforce learning in the subject areas of both math and science.  A learning lab stocked with materials, manipulatives and furniture appropriate for younger learners will fully benefit the young Einstein

Dr. James Hutto Social Studies Grant—  Cathy Lee, History Alive   7th grade students will be assigned to research a historical figure, create an oral presentation and an artifact for the Traveling Trunk Show.  Students are then connected to Professional interpreters that portray their chosen historical figures.  These special guests are nationally renowned interpreters that will visit the PMS history classes and bring history alive for the students.


2017 Mini Grant Winners


Calling All Travelers from Wondering to Wandering, by Cathy Lee and Melinda Moore, Using Nearpod technology and VR headsets, teachers can link places and videos for a virtual visit to places across the globe. With the purchase of a 360 degree camera, students will be encouraged to create their own VR lessons as they travel to historical places. 

Lisa Holmes’ grant,  Body Walk will allow Health Science I, high school students to research, create, and prepare a life-sized interactive body system model  and guide Petal Elementary 4th grade students through each system.  High schoolers will explain structures, functions, health maintenance and disease prevention of each system.  

The AIM Experience was submitted by Angelia Cline. The mission of this club type AIM Experience will utilize literacy-based areas like Digital Media, Drama, and Debate to offer a project-based learning aspect of ELA and to motivate students academically and increase attendance. 

Adam Reynolds-- Interactive Learning Experiences:  Mississippi Armed Forces Museum.  In Adam Reynolds World History class students will have the opportunity to tour the Mississippi Armed Forces Museum at Camp Shelby.  They will be exposed to military history and prominent wars.  A class set of globes will be purchased and utilized to examine and analyze the regions geographically, that are being studied.

Missy Hamilton -Investigation Station:  Preschool STEM Integration.  Interactive STEM materials will be purchased to set up  learning centers to provide investigating, building, problem-solving, role-playing and observation at both at the center and on the Backyard Bus. 

Maker Space Classroom:  STEM Projects by Jill Tryner,  Students will be able to program robots to follow commands, set up a coding system using an Osmo and iPad, build models with electrical circuits, design mazes and print 3 objects. 

Courtney Phillips, BAM Time:  Books and Motivation:  Motivating Students to Become Readers—The grant will purchase book sets that sixth grade ELA students are interested in reading.  Group reading and discussions with peers as well as writing blurbs and book reviews to publish in Scholastic and local newspapers will be encouraged.

Bird, Bee and Butterfly Gardens by Mary Cirino and Missy Hamilton… The goal of the project is to engage pre-school age children in learning about habitat, pollination, life cycle and the environment through the development of an outdoor classroom.  The bird, bee and butterfly garden will provide for a ‘hands-on approach’ to discover nature. 

Wiggle While You Work by Jennifer Delatte.  Funds from this grant will purchase kinesthetic tools to allow students the vehicle to release pent-up energy as they focus their attention to learn through a variety of alternate seating options.

Tina Holmes—Exploring Historical Artifacts—PHS Social Studies students will be given the opportunity to explore historical artifacts that correspond with units of study.  Some items include a piece of the Berlin Wall, gas mask, flags, ration book, music and audio files.

Dr. James Hutto Social Studies Grant— Cathy Lee, History Alive   7th grade students will be assigned to research a historical figure, create an oral presentation and an artifact for the Traveling Trunk Show.  Students are then connected to Professional interpreters that portray their chosen historical figures.  These special guests are nationally renowned interpreters that will visit the PMS history classes and bring history alive for the students.

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