Opening doors for education

Leander teachers receive Innovative Teaching Grant

by Jharna Kamath, Reporter

The Leander ISD Educational Excellence Foundation is helping to fund education through their Innovative Teaching Grant that is available twice a year.  Teachers Mara Johnson-Petrinec, Maria Molina, Meaghan Wiechmann and instructional coach Cammie Toomey all received grants from LEEF this fall. 

“Every time positive growth and change happens as a result of learning, our world becomes a better place for all of us,” Toomey said. “This opportunity will afford me the opportunity to further my own professional learning so that I can share it with others.” 

Each teacher has different plans for the money they received. Johnson-Petrinec is using her $400 for fees to attend the National Council for the Social Studies Annual Conference in November, where she will be presenting. She said she looks forward to talking with other AP history teachers.

“I love my subject material, and I love passing that love on to students,” Johnson-Petrinec said. “I also believe that history is essential to helping us understand the challenges we’re facing now and find solutions. Plus, as the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, it’s important to understand and value other cultures.”

Molina said that the application process requires teachers to know exactly what the money is going towards and is using her $500 to buy licenses for IXL.

“This grant is going to help me get students back to the basics in math,” Molina said. “This will help them close the gaps they currently have and they will be able to make more connections and feel that math makes more sense.”

As an English teacher, Wiechmann will use her $350 grant to buy a greater variety of books for her classroom. She said she was able to purchase 76 books of different genres by authors of different backgrounds.

“When I was growing up, reading helped form many of my goals by introducing me to ideas, worlds, and possibilities that I otherwise would not have known existed,” Wiechmann said. “I hope that the books I’ve added to my classroom library can inspire my own students through new ideas and opportunities.”