Members of the Douglas County Education Foundation have listened to teachers' requests for the new school year and subsequently donated $14,000 in grants throughout the district.Recipients of DCEF grants this year include the following: Pion Hills Elementary, $2,000, Lego robotics; Meneley Elementary, $4,434, math Digi-Blocks; Jacks Valley Elementary, $2,500, outdoor learning greenhouse/garden; Jacks Valley and Pion Hills elementary schools, $848, music literature and play production; Minden Elementary, $650, die-cuts; Pau-Wa-Lu Middle School, $988, rockets to teach physics; and Meneley Elementary, $3,000, iPads. “Thanks to the DCEF, gifted and talented students at Pion Hills Elementary will build autonomous robots using Lego Mindstorms and Lego WeDo,” said PHES GT teacher Jeanne Blum. “Students will be able to apply higher level thinking skills in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math.”Allison Avery, a science teacher at Pau-Wa-Lu, thanked the foundation for funding a ninth-grade rocket program.“In this program, my students are able to apply what they have learned during the school year by studying the physics and chemistry of rocketry,” Avery said. “Students are able to see the laws of physics and chemistry in action. This program hits all levels of learners, and without this DCEF grant, I would not be able to continue my program.” MES early childhood education instructor Cyndee Joncas explained how their grant-funded die-cuts would enrich student experience.“The grant money we received was used to buy die-cuts for the Ellison die-cut machine,” Joncas said. “We bought 27 die-cuts which included shapes such as an umbrella, farm animals and wild animals. The cut-out pieces will be used to support learning with manipulatives throughout the school.”Meneley teacher Nancy Valiquette likewise explained the use of grant-funded Digi-Blocks.“Digi-Blocks provide a physical model of the base-ten number system that allows students to actively count and manipulate materials as they learn about place value concepts,” Valiquette said. “Given the rigor of the new Common Core State Standards in math, the Digi-Block program will assist these teachers in their efforts to set a foundation in number sense and operations that will be passed on through the elementary years.”Colleague Sherri Jackson, a sixth-grade teacher at Meneley, used a DCEF grant to purchase six iPads, covers and educational applications.“These devices will assist in motivating and challenging students in sixth grade with reading and math, and many other subjects that have educational extensions,” Jackson said. “The lesson planning, learning opportunities, and challenges available are so fantastic and endless. Our students will benefit from independent and group activities that require hands-on, focused learning. Common Core State Standards will be not only addressed in these programs, but extended, and higher level thinking skills and problem solving will be a focus.”JVES second-grade teacher Carol Kamholz was excited about the school's greenhouse.“This greenhouse will allow us to grow plants year round, and we will be able to offer active and engaging connections to our academics, all the way from science and math to nutrition and literacy,” Kamholz said. “We've been spinning our wheels over the past couple of years, and this grant will allow us to be more efficient.”DCEF grants, however, would not be possible without community support for the nonprofit organization.On Oct. 7, the foundation will be hosting its fourth annual Run Ed Run fundraiser. There will be a 5K, 10K, half-marathon and kids fun run along with a health and fitness expo, fire trucks, helicopter, climbing wall and bounce house. Also returning this year is the School Spirit competition, which includes runner participation, school spirit and school Olympians. The foundations will award $1,000 to the most spirited school at both the elementary and secondary level. To register online for the race, visit active.com and search “Run Ed Run.” There will be a packet-pick-up meeting the day before the race 4-7 p.m. Oct. 6 at CV Sports. Registration the day of the race will be accepted with an additional $5 fee.For more information, visit www.douglascountyeducationfoundation.org.