Grants Approved by LDFF during 2022-2023, Benefiting Students of the Lower Dauphin School District
Outdoor Learning Environment (HS)—$1,234.97
This spring Science National Honor Society (SNHS), Art National Honor Society and Product Design/Manufacturing students worked together to create an outdoor classroom for the High School. Six picnic tables were built and painted by students. The tables are centrally located under a pavilion in the middle of the SNHS garden. Students created stone paths and a stone border which are visually pleasing and require very little maintenance. The garden also contains raised beds to grow vegetables. These beds have been filled with soil and are ready for vegetable planting. Over the summer students will harvest the vegetables and donate them to the Hummelstown Food Bank. The outdoor classroom is available for all teachers to use. Note: the pavilion itself was previously built by an LD student with the help of a grant from LDFF.
Cooking Club (Londonderry)—$496.12
Chocolate dipped strawberries, banana snowmen, heart toast and winter mix are just some of the yummy foods Londonderry's Cooking Club whipped up. Twelve students from the autism support classrooms learned new skills. Grant funds were used to purchase a microwave, toaster oven, storage cart, blender and various cooking tools (spatulas, plates, bowls, measuring spoons, etc.). The Cooking Club provided the students with a chance to work on numerous skills ranging from social, executive functioning, communication, fine motor and sensory. Plus, by helping to make the food, the students were more willing to touch and taste new foods! The students and staff look forward to this activity every cycle and are excited to be able to do this for many years to come.
Outdoor Learning Environment, (HS)
Soft Starts (Nye)—$996.79
The second grade students at Nye Elementary began their days with Soft Starts--using STEM bins purchased with a grant from LDFF. The STEM activities have been a huge success and are a stress-free and enjoyable way to begin each day. Quote from second grader: "I love STEM because you can build, create and do much more!" Students are building and trying new things using various materials. As students build, they’re using their creativity and problem solving skills, while also learning important social skills. Soft starts promote collaboration, peer learning and social interaction--opportunities that young learners need frequently to thrive socially. Students are taking pride in their creations and show enthusiasm to share their process, ideas and final products. It has also created a greater sense of classroom community as students are interacting across social groups, introverts are stepping outside their comfort zone, and they are cheering each other on and complimenting outside of the box thinking. Students who otherwise struggle with academics and social interactions are given a place to shine.
Free Voluntary Reading Library for Foreign Language Learning (HS)—$665.52
Actual quote from student: "I can't wait for tomorrow, it's reading day!" Thanks to the Free Voluntary Reading Library for Foreign Language Learning, students in Spanish classes are making cultural connections while discovering new vocabulary. More than 150 high school students are able to pick out books at their level of language learning that are interesting and comprehensible. When the timer goes off, the teacher has to actually encourage students to stop reading and put their books back. What a wonderful resource to grow foreign language skills!
Soft Starts, 2nd Grade (Nye)
Youth and Government (HS)—$1,000
Not all grant requests come from teachers or our community--sometimes they come from students themselves! Elizabeth Fredrick (LD HS student) requested a grant to help Youth and Government attend three events this school year: Elections Convention (Springfield Township HS), Pre-Legislative Session (CD HS) and the Model Convention (Capitol Building). The club teaches the student members how to be effective communicators and thinkers. They also learn how our government works and gain a better understanding of our democratic process in an impactful way. Multiple members of the LD delegation were recognized for their excellence. The students were very grateful to the faculty advisors who gave their time to the program this year.
One Book, One School (Nye)—$482.30
Nye Elementary finished up their One Book, One School initiative in February. Thanks to a grant from LDFF, each student, teacher and staff member received a copy of Mysteries According to Humphrey by Betty Birney and a calendar of events was created. They had guest readers from LD district administrators as well as Hershey Bears hockey players and a traveling hamster! The kids got excited about reading and were able to share a common experience across grade levels. This fun activity created a sense of unity between the students, staff and families throughout the entire month.
Youth and Government, 2023 (HS)
Falcon PRIDE Feast (MS)—$250
Lower Dauphin teaches students characteristics of PRIDE (Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Discipline and Excellence) starting with kindergarten. At the middle school, at the end of every marking period, staff from each team selected one student who displayed each of the PRIDE traits. A Falcon PRIDE Feast occurred once a marking period after school. Students and their families were invited to attend and share in the recognition of the student, enjoy appetizers/desserts and participate in activities/games. The grant funded supplies and materials for the 192 students awarded during the 22/23 school year.
9th Street Quartet, (MS and HS)
Guest Artist Orchestra (HS and MS)—$2,000
"I learned that just because you may not want music to be your whole career, doesn't mean that you can't still have it in your life." One of the many statements made by HS and MS students after spending time with the 9th Street Quartet whose visit was funded by an LDFF grant. The talented musical group visited the HS and the MS on February 16 and not only performed at both schools, but held Q&A sessions as well as masterclasses and lessons helping numerous students improve their skills. What an amazing opportunity that created an invaluable experience with an incredible impact!
Secret Stories Phonics Resource (Nye)—$156.50
Want to know a secret? First grade students at Nye Elementary certainly do. Room 101 students learned "secrets" that are actually phonics rules helping them to increase their reading and writing skills. As they learned a new secret, they added them to the folders created for them by their teacher and listed words that utilized that particular phonics skill. At the end of the year, they took home their Secret Story folders as a reference and a reminder of the fun they had while learning.
Indoor Bocce Court (MS)—$817.53
This grant request stemmed from the high school’s indoor Bocce team that participates in Special Olympics. The middle school health and physical education team wanted a Bocce court for their Life Skills students to use during class, with the hope of them playing after school with other students joining them. This project will enable the Life Skills students to learn a new game in PE, as well as get to know other students in an after school setting, working together and fostering new relationships.
Secret Stories Phonics Resource, 1st Grade (Nye)
Coffee Cart (SH)—$531.84
South Hanover Elementary has a Coffee Cart program for learning support students that processes orders for the building staff. The students take turns running the different stations of making coffee, hot chocolate and tea as well as delivering the beverages. They worked on matching skills to ensure orders were correct. The students fine-tuned their math skills and their social skills while processing orders and taking payments. At the end of the day, they did a journal entry about what they did well as a team and where they could improve for next time. A wonderful experience that will continue throughout the year for these students.
Pickleball is a game that is becoming increasingly popular across the United States and can be played at any age which makes it a great game to learn for lifelong fitness. This grant funded Pickleball paddles, nets and balls for use by fourth and fifth grade students at East Hanover initially and will then be shared by all LD elementary schools. The program and equipment used in PE class exposes students to a game that they can play with family or others in the community. Yet another program that gives kids an option for putting down screens/devices and being physically active instead!
2nd Grade STEAM Day, (Conewago)
Instruments for All (district-wide)—$1,000 approved
Music is a way to synchronize with others, to heal from trauma, to learn leadership skills, to cooperate and collaborate with others, to hold one's self accountable, and to understand the importance of being a part of something larger than one's self. Lower Dauphin is fortunate to have not only a general music program, but band and orchestra programs, as well. These ensembles provide high quality, life-changing musical instruction for students but can be expensive and exclusive. This grant supports the refurbishing and upkeep of donated and existing instruments for the elementary music program so that all students have the opportunity to play.
Robotics for STEM (MS)—$799.90
This grant helped to expand the minds of STEM students in the HS and the MS. Funds were used to purchase Lego Spike Prime kits which provided students of all abilities with the opportunity to problem-solve. Students were able to design and build an original robot design or use one of the step-by-step robots designed by Lego. After building the robot, students were required to write original code to direct the robot to complete specific tasks. Other options were to upload code from Lego and conduct an error analysis. The two additional kits provided by this grant helped meet the goal of having every 7th grader use technology, engineering and mathematics to solve real-world problems.
Hummelstown Summer Recreation (Hummelstown Borough)—$1,000
LDFF has supported this five-week camp for several years. The program is a recreation, learning and fitness camp for students who have completed kindergarten through fifth grade. Attending ensures that the children have interaction with other kids their age, work on projects together, make friendships and simply socialize. This camp also provides them with a beneficial daily structure, which they usually do not have in the summer months. They used our grant to help fund their Snapology activity which focused on STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) concepts. This year’s camp benefitted nearly 70 students.
Outdoor Education/Recreation (Price Building)—$1,440
The Price School is a full-time emotional support program consisting of one middle school room with 6 students and one high school room with 12 students for a total of 18 students in the 22/23 school year. The students participate in weekly outdoor and recreational activities providing a therapeutic outlet as well as life experiences. This granted funded a new outdoor basketball hoop and fishing supplies. Basketball is a great outlet for the students to get physical exercise. When playing together they work on teamwork and social skills such as fair play, sportsmanship and following rules. When the students go fishing, they learn more about the freshwater ecosystems that fish inhabit as well as conservation, but most importantly, they unplug from technology.
2nd Grade STEAM Day—$839.54
Second grade students from most LD elementary schools gathered outside at Conewago on May 17, to put skills they've learned in class to practice. The event consisted of five stations—one for each discipline: science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics. All of the activities were hands-on, and allowed students to use problem solving and critical thinking skills to design, apply, create, construct and synthesize the cross-curricular concepts they were learning in class. Throughout the activities, students collaborated and communicated with each other for a deeper learning experience. There were high school and parent volunteers on hand to assist with the stations. Feedback was positive and they are looking to hold the event again next school year.
Libros para todos (Books for All)—approx. $500
Leaving your home to migrate to a new country can be a challenging endeavor. New places, new food, new school system, and, of course, a new language. This project assisted native Spanish Speakers in the acculturation process by providing access to Spanish language fiction and nonfiction reading materials. Grant funds were used to purchase these materials to add to the current reading selections available to all students. Student input was solicited to provide a range of genres and authors of interest. While these materials will provide native language support to English Learners, they can also be accessed by any student at the high school.