Nine Top Teachers Earn Money for Innovative Educational Projects Through 2022 Leo Seal Grants


GULFPORT, Miss. (WLOX) — Nine of Mississippi’s most outstanding teachers earned high marks and silver Friday as 2022 recipients of the Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grants.

Funded by Hancock Whitney and administered by the Gulf Coast Community Foundation (GCCF), Seal Scholarships recognize exceptional commitment to teaching and fund creative learning projects that enhance students’ educational experiences and support the curriculum of the state in K-12 schools in all eight Mississippi counties Hancock Whitney serves – Forrest, Hancock, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson Davis, Lamar, Madison and Pearl River.

This year’s recipients of one-time Seal grants of up to $2,000 to activate award-winning projects are:

Sarah Jane Badeaux at Pass Christian Middle School – Initially, 45 sixth, seventh and eighth graders from a gifted education class at Pass Christian Middle School participate in “Virtual Reality Exploration in the Classroom” to immerse themselves in a new virtual world innovative designed to help them succeed in today’s real world. world. Using virtual Oculus Quest headset technology, students design, create and solve virtual escape games and explore different environments across all disciplines. They follow and assist historical figures and book characters; perform scientific experiments; travel on NASA missions; investigate the human body when performing medical procedures; and create student-led awareness movements on a variety of topics. Eventually, the project expands to all 500 students at Pass Christian Middle School, including the special education class.

Traci Barrientos at the Lighthouse Academy for Dyslexia in Ocean Springs – Structured specifically to help students with dyslexia, “M Is for Mindfulness Moments for Me” helps dyslexic students and teachers learn mindfulness skills and appropriately use sensory spaces such as tactile, visual classroom hubs and special hearing aids to better understand, manage and remedy dyslexia challenges. The current Lighthouse Academy serves students from four coastal counties, explicitly using the science of reading to remedy dyslexia. As the only program of its kind for students with dyslexia in Mississippi, this integrated mindfulness program not only helps students with dyslexia learn immediate coping skills, but also helps them transition back to traditional school curriculums. Initially, the program is helping over 100 students through 2023, and countless more students are gaining access to these resources as the program expands.

Karen Jean Boutwell at Pearl River Central Middle School in Career — For the 53 students currently enrolled in Pearl River Central Middle School’s Level 3 Tutoring Program, many of whom come from lower socioeconomic backgrounds, the “Take Me There!” a series of field trips to places such as the Infinity Science Center helps them better understand the connections between academic analogies and information with the world around them. Day trips around the state allow students to build the foundation of experiences and knowledge they need to understand English language arts text and informational literature; improve reading skills; become more adept at analyzing, comparing and contrasting information and ideas; learn about their own communities; and consider possible career fields.

Renee M. Dellenger at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School in Biloxi – For students at St. Patrick’s Catholic High School, a personal finance computer simulation course lays the foundation for financial education for a more secure future. Project-based instruction and real-world simulations engage students in in-depth learning that helps them understand smart financial management, from job hunting, budgeting and saving to buying a home. a house, insurance and charitable donations. Using virtual technology familiar to students and perfectly suited for classroom and/or distance learning, “Virtual Business-Personal Finance” empowers students to make wise and confident financial choices, manage risk, and achieve growth. first hand how to plan for success while avoiding financial problems. pitfalls.

Banita Ford at St. Martin High School in Jackson County – Students in St. Martin High School’s Entrepreneurship class put business theory into practice and business ideas into action by learning the basics of sublimation (or transferring a design), engraving/cutting using a CO2 laser or vinyl cutting. By choosing one of these three options and designing their own business, student teams develop business plans, learn software to process images, operate equipment, sell their products and track inventory. , sales, overhead, profit and loss. The “Sublimation & More” team with the most successful company shares the money it earns, while other companies pool their funds for a class pizza night celebrating the success of the program.

Sarah Virginia Israel at Arlington Elementary School in Pascagoula – Across thousands of playgrounds across America, “Peace Path” teaches students how to resolve conflict peacefully, fairly, and respectfully rather than resorting to violence that affects them and those around them. A Peace Walk along the strategically located Peace Pathways around campus offers a literal step-by-step solution for students to listen, cooperate, and compromise in resolving their own disagreements with minimal involvement. or more significant of adults. Part of Arlington Elementary School’s social studies and social-emotional learning development programs, the program encourages cooperation and communication instead of confrontation and aggression, helping students develop interpersonal skills and the emotional maturity they need to succeed.

Tammy G. McKenna at Pass Christian High School – For nine weeks, “Smarter farming from scratch, literally!” challenges environmental science students at Pass Christian High School to learn and use STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) concepts to come up with solutions for sustainable agricultural techniques. Using drone technology from the University of Southern Mississippi, students design and support their plans to address social, economic, and environmental issues affecting today’s global food supply. By studying impacts such as food waste, global food deserts, land use, and food choices, students identify factors that limit or influence the foods people buy or eat around the world; the effects of food choices on the environment; and how the clearing of land for agriculture affects ecosystems.

Jordan Roy at St. Stanislaus College in Bay St. Louis – As a deliberate and specific response to developing and improving students’ math skills and improving career options after high school, “Growing Math Skills and Life Opportunities” offers software for all computers in library and dormitory at St. Stanislaus College to meet the skills of all math curriculum content, from arithmetic to pre-calculus. This robust and easily accessible supplemental resource helps increase student remediation, enrich course content, and provide enhancements for classroom instruction. Additionally, with individual unit objectives aligned with ACT-designated skills, the software supports preparation for college entrance exams and can potentially include content in reading and language arts.

Erica Yong van Norden at Delisle Primary School in Pass Christian – “Galley in the Garden” is a farm-to-table, student-created cooking show teaching the value of sustainable agricultures while sharing food tips from gifted Delisle Elementary School students and members from the community. Combining robotics, hydroponics, innovative agriculture, local culinary expertise, social media and nutrition lessons, the program is an exploratory gastronomic experience involving students, area businesses, farmers markets, local families and the Mississippi State University Extension Service. Approximately 96 gifted students in grades two through seven develop the show through simulated scriptwriting, production, filming and video editing and, with a live studio audience including other students, broadcast live. conjunction with the daily school news. Students collaborate with their families to submit recipes with farm-fresh ingredients, generating opportunities to learn about the community’s history, cultures, and traditions.

“We at Hancock Whitney are extremely proud and congratulate the 2022 Leo W. Seal Innovative Teacher Grant recipients,” said D. Shane Loper, Hancock Whitney’s Chief Executive Officer. “Our founders envisioned an institution meant to serve. They saw a strong bank with a tradition of creating opportunities. They have made it their mission to help people achieve their dreams. From the day we opened our doors, Hancock Whitney has pursued this mission and championed quality education as a means to achieving dreams. That’s why we’ve always viewed the Leo Seal Innovative Teacher Grants program as a natural extension of our mission.

Each Seal Grant recipient receives up to $2,000 to activate their award-winning teaching initiative in their school.

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