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Aimee Ryder

Emily Sims

Dr. Gale Lee

Angela Goerger

Janet Heller

Kristi Gray

Nicole Lewis

Cathy Doherty



HCS teachers receive mini grants from the National Council of Jewish Women


Ten Hampton City Schools teachers recently received mini grants from the National Council of Jewish Women. The grant funds will be used to fully or partially fund the following projects (as provided by the recipients):


Angela Goerger, Asbury Elementary – Ready to Read

The grant is called Ready to Read. It will be used for our beginning readers and will allow for Asbury to purchase lower leveled guided readers for small group instruction. We will also purchase some fun reading tools-finger pointers for students to use while reading.


Emily Sims, Burbank Elementary - Mental Health Wellness & Social and Emotional Skills

The current mental health demand in schools has been a national emergency that hits home right here in Hampton. This project will provide individual calming and focusing tools for students in the classroom in order to follow appropriate COVID-19 mitigating strategies as well as provide individual materials for our sensory room. Providing sensory aids and a school sensory walk will allow any K-5 student who is having a hard time focusing and engaging in learning the opportunity to take a quick break from a learning activity or problem to get centered and regulated. One of the learning objectives is for students to appropriately ask for and take sensory breaks so they can get back to class quickly and efficiently without causing disruptions in the classroom. We have many students who need tools and resources to help them de-escalate when feeling upset during the day. Every child has a different story and goes through all different types of traumas. I would like to be able to help teachers support children on how to understand their feelings and how to self-regulate before losing their cool. Students will be able to learn how to control their breathing and learn to talk about how they are feeling and use different social and emotional strategies and tools so they can be successful learners. 


Elizabeth Hester, Smith Elementary – Reading to Learn

This project provides diverse, high-interest books for our students to read during small group instruction to increase their vocabulary, build their background knowledge, and improve their comprehension. While reading and discussing them we will spark our students’ curiosity and increase their enjoyment of reading and learning!


Nicole Lewis & coworkers (Kristi Gray, Tammy Powell, Leilani Powell), Forrest Elementary – Sensory & Self Regulation

I (Nicole Lewis) wrote a grant to purchase sensory paths for each kindergarten classroom. Students are in need of gross motor skills and to be able to get energy out through the day. The sensory path will meet these needs as well as teach self-regulation, by having to wait their turn, by understanding when they are overwhelmed and need an outlet. Implementing a sensory path as a grade level in each classroom will ensure that students are able to have access to something that will enable them to work on these skills. 


Aimee Ryder, Forrest Elementary – Post Pandemic Reading

We received a $200 grant to purchase books for "Book Shopping" giveaways! About four times a year we celebrate a love of literacy here at Forrest by promoting reading as we work to build student home libraries. Our Rangers are thrilled to shop the popular titles they request and then add to their at-home book collection. We are very grateful to The National Council of Jewish Women for this gift!


Kristi Gray, Forrest Elementary – Math

My project is about strengthening number sense in kindergarten. I will use the grant money to purchase math stackers. They are foam blocks that grow in height from 1-10. It gives the visual of which number is greater/lesser, and they can also help with learning addition and subtraction.


Janet Heller, Machen Elementary – Build & Learn with Geometry!

I will be using the grant money to purchase geometry building kits that can be used across the grade levels. From the simple to the complex, the understanding of geometry begins with a concrete understanding of shapes, points, lines, angles, and vocabulary. What better way to enforce these concepts than to allow students to construct the very lessons that we are talking about!


Cathy Doherty, Mary W. Jackson Elementary – Who’s the Author?

Preschoolers can parrot the words “an author writes the book.” They have no idea what that really means. Our program is designed for low-income families that lack exposure to books in the home, vocabulary, and concrete experiences. For these students to meet a real author and read her books would be a unique, life-altering experience. What makes this project unique is that during our author study, the children will be able to compare and contrast the author’s stories, the author’s voice and various illustrators that she employs, as well as re-tell various stories dramatically, improving recall, sequencing events, and attention to detail. The children get to take home several books of their choice, by the featured author.


Adriane Henry, Mary W. Jackson Elementary – Reading Intervention

The money will be used to purchase Guided Readers which is a leveled reading comprehension resource. It will not only target those students who exhibit learning loss due to the pandemic, but also students who are reading above grade level. It will be used for intervention, tutoring, and whole/small group instruction. The digital interactive reader consists of decoding, writing, and comprehension skills. Included with each fiction and nonfiction book are the following activities: guided writing, question stems, vocabulary, and a phonics digital/downloadable resource.  


Dr. Gale Lee, Phillips Elementary – Intergalactic Reading Adventures with Trystan Strong and Book Buddies

The goal of this reading project is to increase the number of words students are exposed to through pleasure reading (independent reading) and refine fluency. The objective is to have identified populations at Phillips show measurable progress in the area of reading.


Twice a month, students in grades four and five will have an opportunity to gather together to read and discuss the novel “Tristan Strong, Punches a Hole in the Sky” by Kwamaa Mbalia. Through this novel reading, complex literacy skills such as inferencing, deconstructing vocabulary, identifying author’s purpose, answering text-dependent questions, and making textual connections are studied using a student guided literature circle format. Students leave the literature circle with a Tristan Strong journal page that helps them focus their reading and discussion until the next book club.


Grade three students will work with buddies to refine their fluency. Twice a month, students in this club will read from the unique “in two voices” book titled “You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You” by Mary Ann Hoberman.  The book uses alliteration, rhyme, repetition and short sentences that allow students to practice their ability to read with speed, accuracy, and proper expression. Students will leave with a copy of a page to continue practicing independently, at home or in the classroom during their independent reading time.


The National Council of Jewish Women is a grassroots organization of volunteers and advocates who turn progressive ideals into action. Grants are funded by contributions from members.