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New Caney ISD libraries will benefit from $50,000 Education Foundation Cornerstone Grant


New Caney ISD libraries will benefit from $50,000 Education Foundation Cornerstone Grant


June 16, 2016 | Thinking Innovatively | Libraries across New Caney ISD will receive technology items that will encourage creativity, collaboration and problem solving thanks to a $50,000 Cornerstone Grant from the New Caney ISD Education Foundation.

The Education Foundation held a grant presentation at their monthly board meeting June 9 announcing the NCISD Digital Learning Department as the recipient of its first ever Cornerstone Grant.

“The Education Foundation's vision for this grant is to fund a big idea that has longevity while positively impacting students at more than one campus,” said Michele Dykstra, Executive Director of the NCISD Education Foundation.  

The Cornerstone Grant is a grant that ranges from $25,000 to $50,000 and benefits a significant number of students. It must also support the district’s Portrait of a Graduate REALITY model which focuses on developing graduates who are Responsible Citizens, Effective Communicators, Academically Prepared, Lifelong Learners, Interpersonal Collaborators, Thinking with Innovation, and Yes Minded!

Digital Learning Department members including Director of Digital Learning Jeannie Reed, Elementary Instructional Technology Specialist LaSonya Cobbs and Secondary Instructional Technology Specialist Gretta Rogne partnered with the campus Media Center Specialists to design Transforming the Media Center for REALITY & Beyond, a program designed to shake-up the traditional library setting.  

By incorporating age-appropriate Makerspace stations on sixteen campuses, New Caney ISD's Media Centers will now be child-led creation stations. Offering students hands-on educational tools helps foster communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity using items such as 3D printers, LEGOs, robotics, claymation, and green screens for video production.

“It will give kids a chance to tinker and make things,” said Rogne. “They can explore and create independently in a Makerspace.”

“It’s a free area for kids to play with technology and not be afraid to break something,” said Reed. “We don’t want media centers to be stuffy places. We want them to be active and engaging places for students.”

“Makerspaces allow them to collaborate with their peers,” said Cobbs. “It will all be based on their interests and they can try out different things they might not be exposed to elsewhere.”

The Digital Learning Department will be purchasing the items over the summer and plans to have them implemented for the next school year. In addition, campus librarians will receive training on how to use all the new equipment.

"We're excited to help support district innovation as these opportunities will help our students grow in REALITY,” said Dykstra. “We are grateful for our donors continued support, especially the East Montgomery County Improvement District and those that support Employee Payroll Deduction. We couldn't do it without their continued support."

For more information about the NCISD Education Foundation, visit