Provide quality INNOVATIVE learning experiences for your students!

The Promise of Innovation Award serves to inspire local educators to be INNOVATIVE, think differently, be creative, design novel curriculum and activities for student learning.

2017 Awardees

2017 Awardees

Thank You to Our 2017 Funders!

Thank you to the Joseph and Vera Long Foundation and Antone E & Marie F Raymous for your generous support of our teachers and the Promise of Innovation Award!

Joseph and Vera Long Foundation: $10,000
Antone E & Marie F Raymous: $2,500

Amanda Boyer

Amanda Boyer, Christine Sipherd Elementary, Empire Union SD: $524

Music Curriculum

Project Description:

Amanda received $524 to implement music curriculum to supplement instruction in all content areas to help meet the diverse needs of her students. Amanda teaches a Moderate/Severe Special Day Class with Kindergarten through third grade students. All of her students require instruction in areas beyond academics including self-help and adaptive skills, fine-motor skills, behavior modification, communication, functioning skills, and vocational skills. In a classroom with such varying needs, music can be a versatile tool. "Tuned into Learning" is music curriculum that Amanda was able to purchase with these funds, which was developed by Board Certified Music Therapists to help meet the needs of students with Autism and other cognitive disabilities. Amanda will be compiling a video of her students singing and following along to the songs and using them in their small work groups to master IEP goals.

Project Updates:

August 22, 2017: For the 2017-18 school year, Amanda moved from Primary to a Intermediate Moderate/Severe classroom and was a little nervous that the Tuned In To Learning program would be too immature for my new kids, but it's actually working out perfectly! Amanda is starting over with them on the first set of songs and worksheets and they are loving it! She uses one song in particular to remind them about making good classroom behavior choices throughout the day and has aligned her classroom rules to match the song.

May 16, 2017: Amanda did an action research project for her Lab Inquiry class on the social skills unit from Tuned In To Learning. She wrote about the program and researched whether there was an increase in social skills in the structured environment and spontaneous social interactions on the playground. Check out her paper here!

Marianne Chang

Marianne Chang, Lockeford School, Lodi USD: $2,500

3-D Printing in the Visual Arts Classroom

Project Description: Applying Science, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics Using 3-D Technology

Marianne received $2,500 to purchase a MakerBot Replicator and Desktop 3-D printer to integrate technology and the engineering design process into their art experience, as well as introduce this disruptive manufacturing technology to the entire school of over 500 students. Most of the 7th and 8th grade Visual Arts students have been a Lockford since Kindergarten and act as role models for the younger grades. With this project, these middle school students will actively model for the entire school community how science, math engineering, and art knowledge can be used with 3-D printing.

Project Updates:

Getting Her Students Familiar: the Visual Arts students have been informally dabbling on Tinkercad modifying some of the already available designs, as well as creating their own, as we are finishing up other projects before we launch in full throttle into the 3D printing. The main goal at this point is for the Visual Arts students to get familiar with the Tinkercad program and how to manipulate designs using the program. I have a student doing a slide show on 3D printing and another who is looking through Engineering Design Cycle graphics to figure out which ones we could use with the various grade levels. Students did start putting up questions about 3D printing on a question board.

Project Updates

Tinkering with Tinkercad: While students were waiting for the 3D printer to arrive, they tinkered some more in Tinkercad becoming more familiar with its features and how to work the program. Some students discovered the bank of 3D design ideas already on line and chose to modify already created designs, while others started working on their own original pencil topper design starting from scratch.

Designing the pencil topper ended up being harder than they originally thought once they found out they had to include a hole for the pencil topper to fit over the pencil. Trying to figure out the depth and width of the hole was one problem, while trying to figure out how to put a hole in the actual design and then a hole to the necessary measurements were two entirely different problems. Research, experimentation and lots of collaboration and sharing of information was needed to resolve that road block.

Project Updates

The 3-D Printer Has Arrived: After much delay, the 3D printer finally arrived! With the POI money and some other money students had raised, we ordered a MakerBot Replicator+ along with a supply of large spool filament. I put the 8th grade boys in charge of unpacking and setting up the printer. This required more than “plug-in and play,” and the boys found themselves doing some problem solving trying to figure out how to put the filament in properly and how to set up a MakerBot account.

At first, the filament stream seemed to be coming out of the extruder perfectly, but then after about 5-minutes, the machine stopped. After a few more days of frustrating research, the group discovered they had not fully unpacked the printer. They had left some styrofoam around the extruder that, once heated, melted and blocked the plastic from coming out properly. Once the problem was identified, the boys got to work on solving it and got the printer working in no time.

Project Updates

First Test Prints: Once the 8th grade boys got the 3D printer up and running, they did a few test prints using the designs in the internal memory. The class was fascinated with watching how the printer printed out the designs. I also shared the metal alloy cube that I was given when I attended the 3D Teacher Research Academy at Lawrence Livermore Laboratory. It is made out of 11,000 layers in an open-lace pattern. I also showed them my pencil topper and my cube I designed during my LLNL workshop. Students were absolutely fascinated.

After the test prints were done, the 8th grade boys decided they wanted to change the filament and ran into a problem! Once again, the printer stopped printing and the filament would not go in properly. Back to research they went and solved the problem by the end of the class.

Project Updates

First Prints: Students were really excited to start printing something of their own choosing or of their own design on the 3D printer. We had big plans, but unfortunately due to lack of time, plans did not work out completely as hoped.

Students thought that they could simply connect their chromebook to the 3D printer and have their designs printed like that. It took some time for the class to figure out they needed to convert their Tinkercad designs into STL files and then had to arrange those files on the MakerBot program. They were not only learning how to use the physical equipment and the design programs, but what else was required to transfer digital designs into actual product.

Project Updates

Students thought that they could simply connect their chromebook to the 3D printer and have their designs printed like that. It took some time for the class to figure out they needed to convert their Tinkercad designs into STL files and then had to arrange those files on the MakerBot program. They were not only learning how to use the physical equipment and the design programs, but what else was required to transfer digital designs into actual product.

Some students actually got to print out their designs and took their learning a little further by going through a mini- engineering design process cycle along the way. One student chose a fox design and learned that some times great designs don't translate well in the next step of the process. The legs on the prototype fox were too skinny and broke off very easily. Modifications were definitely needed.

The 8th grade boys wanted to try to design a key chain to give to all the out-going 8th graders as a memory. They modified an already existing graduation cap design they found online. The first prototype, the cap was too tall and the support rafters too hard to clear off from under the cap. Plus, the 2017 numbers the students added apparently weren’t connected well enough to the actual cap so fell off once the cap was printed. The tassels also were too delicate and broke off after a few hand-offs. So the group reduced the size of the cap and made the other required modifications. The smaller cap was much shorter so they had solved the rafter problem, but the numbers still fell off and the cap was now too small in size to make for a sturdy keychain. Unfortunately, they were not able to get a design solidified and printed before the promotion ceremony, but they certainly experienced the engineering design process in action. Maybe next year’s group will be able to make the deadline.

Samantha Coughran

Samantha Coughran, Grange Middle School, Fairfield Suison USD: $2,500

Film Production

Project Description:

The $2,500 that Samantha was awarded allowed her to purchase several iPad Mini devices. These devices will be used to create the film adaptations of the script that students groups will write and create. Through this project, Samantha's students will be given alternative methods to show mastery of the content in the area of English.

Students will first read the Twilight Zone episode "Monsters are Due on Maple Street" and then watch the actual TV episode to have a better understanding of the script. In groups, students will choose two scenes

Project Updates:

May 10, 2017: Samantha's class is currently working on their scripts and filming their movies!

To the right is a picture of students working on their movie, "Monsters Are Due on Maple Street." Check out the script they wrote here!

May 24, 2017: Samantha shared the final version of the filmed version of the above script! Check out the video below.

Elizabeth Lowy, M.Ed.

Elizabeth Lowy, M.Ed., Waverly Elementary, Linden USD: $2,500

Waverly Robotics Lab

Project Description:

Elizabeth was awarded $2,500 to purchase 6 Blue-Bot robots, Blue-Bot Card Mats, and 4 sets of robotics mats from the SJCOE Print Shop. for the start of a Waverly Robotics Lab. With the funds, she will also hire trained presenters from the San Joaquin County Office of Education, STEM Department to provide professional development to the school staff and support them in running one of their future science and engineering nights. Students will use robotics to learn sequencing and programming/coding, as well as gain practice with college/career readiness skills such as collaboration, communication, creativity, and critical thinking.

Project Updates:

May 11, 2017: The Kindergarten and First Graders just wrapped up their after school "Success Shop." This is a 1 hour/3 days a week after-school extension program open to all students. They learned so much about programming their Blue Bots. Next year, Waverly will have a "STEM" Room where teachers can bring their students to play, learn, and engage with STEM tools!!

February 8, 2017: Elizabeth, along with six teachers, her administrator, PTC President, and a parent PTC member went to the K-5 ROBOTICS training at the San Joaquin County Office of Education with funding from the Promise of Innovation Award. They learned about how to introduce programming language (coding) as "human robots" to their students, used blue bot robots, programmed (play) with Dash, and built/programmed legos using the WE DO 2.0 kits that have been updated to cover NGSS Standards.

Phillip Merlo

Phillip Merlo, Franklin High School, Stockton Unified: $2,500

Franklin High School Material Cultures Library

Project Description:

The $2,500 that Phillip received has given him the opportunity to create a materials cultures library at Franklin High that will allow teachers to incorporate material culture-historial artifacts into the classroom. Phillip plans to work with the textbook services coordinator at the High School to create a collection that educators can access and check out historical artifacts for their classroom. Phillip's analysis shows that the inclusion of materials culture applied in lesson planning improves student learning and does align with the educational standards.

Project Updates:

August 9, 2017: All funds have been spent. Phillip has collections of fascist and communist posters from the 20's-60's, New Deal Era Posters, an original employee handbook for new members of the Civilian Conservation Corps, WWI and WWII military uniforms, canteens, and shaving kits, children's books and toys from the WWII era, a massive collection of dresses from the 1920's, 1940's, 1960's, 1970's, 80's, 90's, and 2000's, television/radio/record player sets from the 1930's on, with accompanying records, videos, cassettes, cds, a walkman, an original iPod, and an iPhone, board games dating to the 1920's, fishing rods and camping gear from the 60's and 70's, a collection of vintage video game material from the 80's and 90's, cell phones dating to the late 1980's, as well as cigarette packs from throughout the 20th century.

The museum will be up and running on campus in mid September. Lesson plan implementation will be up and running by the beginning of October, as well as a website with lesson plans and documentation of all artifacts. In addition to visitors having the option to visit the museum during the day, there will be likely one evening a month where the museum will be open to the public.

Phillip also has extensive documentation of student scores and behaviors for six lesson plans from last February, March, and April utilizing primary sources for source evaluation from last year. He plans to comparatively evaluate the efficacy of artifacts as primary sources in the classroom.

April 13, 2017: Phillip has recruited a crew of ten interns who will be working on exhibits, collating materials, and running their website. They have started working on a weebly for the website, with the hope of having it running by May.

Below is a photos of Nazi SS officer war knives!

Project Update
Kristina Pinto

Kristina Pinto, Rancho Las Positas Elementary School, Livermore Valley Joint USD: $2,500

Technology in the Classroom

Project Description:

With the $2,500 that Kristina was awarded, she purchased her level-two Google for Educators certification, as well as purchased several Chromebooks and district licensing fees for her students. Kristina works in a mild/moderate special day class. With the chromebooks and Google Classroom, her students will be engaged through the use of many different google for education applications, and individualized activities, that are aligned to their personal individualized education program (IEP) goals. Individual and collaborative projects will be compiled into a digital portfolio.

Project Updates:

August 9, 2017: Kristina is finishing up her Google training and preparing to use the chromebooks with 9th-12th graders this year! She will be using more google apps with this group, as well as, incorporating web based portfolios.

March 21, 2017: Kristina did her first presentation on digital portfolios at today's staff meeting! She also has a training scheduled in April. Here are a few pictures of the presentation.

Sarah Sanchez

Sarah Sanchez, Cunningham Elementary School, Turlock USD: $700

Flexible Seating

Project Description:

Sarah was awarded $700 to implement a flexible seating project. Sarah purchased scoop rockers, cube chairs, bean bags, and pillows to choose from. Before purchasing the flexible seating, Sarah took data on student on-task behavior and after the flexible seating was implemented, she looked at their on-task behavior. Check out the research paper below with her findings!

Project Updates:

Sarah and her students love the flexible seating! In fact, Sarah did a research action study, and found that flexible seating decreased off-task behaviors with her students.

View Sarah's Action Research Paper Here

Project Update
Linda Sumrall

Linda Sumrall, Manteca High School: $2500

Creative Technology Resources

Project Description:

The $2,500 that Linda was awarded gave her the ability to purchase an online license of EduBlog and WeVideo (collaborative, cloud-based online video editor) for her students to create storyboards, video shorts, and musical scores as part of their language-arts curriculum. Linda's students (9-12th grade English students) will create various projects based on their original writing tasks as part of their curriculum. EduBlog and WeVideo will assist students in developing real-world technology skills while tapping into the creative thinking process.

Project Updates:

March 9, 2017: Below are a few pictures of Linda's Science Fiction Literature students working/collaborating on their original short stories and scripts. Some students are already planning out their digital storyboards and casting classmates to act out scenes from the stories.

Project Update
Tracey Vitale

Tracey Vitale, Lake Canyon Elementary, Galt Joint Union Elementary: $1,275

Large Playground Games

Project Description:

Tracey was awarded $1,275 to purchase large games to motivate students interactions during students' recess time to create a more structured environment and eliminate negative behaviors on the playground.

This structured play will allow students the opportunity to learn: math strategies, collaboration, communication skills, and more with a structured play environment.

Project Updates:

March 6, 2017: Below are few pictures of the outdoor playground games! Tracey's students are loving them!

Project Update

May 18, 2017: Bowling Fun!

Project Update
William Xenos

William Xenos, Merlo IET, Stockton Unified: $2,500

Robotics in the English Classroom

Project Description:

William was awarded $2,500 to purchase Sphero robots and their accompanying programming applications for his 9th and 10th grade English Language Arts students. This robots will be used to represent the challenges and triumphs of the main character in the unit's novel.

Students will present their project and write a paper justifying why their specific choice of movements and color changes accurately portray the character. Throughout the project, students will log their progress and cite the sources they are using to help with program their robot. Students will reflect on the process and make arguments regarding the successes they and their classmates had.

Project Updates:

September 27, 2017: Check out the video below from the culminating project at the end of last year!

Merlo is entering our second year of having a weekly "Genius Hour" where students can pursue their passion projects. Many of my students are interested in robotics and are currently using the Spheros to get a better understanding of programming.

April 28, 2017: William implemented his first lesson with spheros. His students LOVED it and were so engaged in the curriculum. The picture on the right is from the lesson.

April 18, 2017: William was able to pick up the Spheros today!

2020 Awardees