The drumline echoed down the halls and the students cheered as the Midlothian ISD Education Foundation’s Star Patrol awarded three innovative teaching grants to educators at Midlothian High School, J.A. Vitovsky Elementary and Longbranch Elementary School Friday, March 9.

MEF awarded about $13,050 in grants for the spring 2012, putting their total for the 2011-2012 school year at about $30,630.

If our math teachers don’t flip, our students could flop!

Teacher Ginny Fitzgerald and Assistant Principal Sharon Zabloski received a grant in the amount of about $5,000 for their “If Our Math Teachers Don’t Flip, Our Students Could Flop!” innovative teaching idea.

Fitzgerald came up with the idea for the grant submission, with help from Rachel Starks writing the grant and Zabloski’s support.

The grant will impact more than 300 students each year in ninth through 12th grade in Algebra I, Geometry and Algebra II.

In a “typical” math classroom, students listen to the teacher lecture and then have just a short amount of time at the end of class to try to apply the knowledge. This can lead to students thinking they understand in class, but feeling clueless once they try the homework. By using the “flip model,” math teachers will use iPod touches to completely reverse the classroom.

Students will watch the video of the lesson outside of class, and then have the entire class period to work on homework, foldables, manipulatives, or cooperative learning activities to really get hands-on experience with the material. This allows the teacher more time with each student, opportunities for differentiated instruction, and the ability to focus on important standards for tests such as the STAAR exam.

Flipped out

J.A. Vitovsky Elementary Teachers Stacee Johnson and Kim Cavender received a grant check for $3,000 for their “Flipped Out” innovative teaching idea. The grant will impact 100 students per year in fifth-grade math classes.

Providing iPads for the mathematics classroom establishes a framework for a 21st century classroom. Teachers will create a “flipped classroom” tailored to meet the needs of each student, strengthen guided math instruction and facilitate detailed Response to Intervention documentation. iPads will empower teachers to seamlessly integrate technology into teacher table lessons, create content videos, monitor student achievement, provide visual behavior management, extend teacher/student interaction beyond the school day, and individualize instruction for students. Children will spend more class time applying mathematics as they receive engaging, content-rich instruction that provides opportunities for auditory, visual and tactile learning.

Balanced math resource library

Longbranch Elementary Teacher Kimberly Graham received a grant check for “Balanced Math Resource Library,” which she wrote up with Johnson and Blackwell. Both Johnson and Graham received giant faux checks in the amount of $5,049 when the MEF Star Patrol visited their campuses.

The grant will impact 3,500 students in kindergarten through sixth-grade math classes.

Literature United for focused math lessons will be purchased for each elementary campus and for sixth grade at each middle school. The literature series is Contexts for Learning Mathematics by Catherine Fosnot. The series uses carefully crafted math situations to foster a deep conceptual understanding of essential mathematical ideas, strategies, and models. Building on the ideals of a math workshop, each unit provides a two-week sequence of investigations, min lessons, games and other contexts for learning.

The next MEF Star Patrol will be held in the fall this year, with many applicants who were not chosen this round resubmitting.

“The past couple of years we’ve had so many great grant applications, we’ve asked anyone not chosen to receive a grant this round to resubmit for the next round,” MEF Director Kristin Zastoupil said. “Stacee Johnson was one of our applicants who reapplied and had her grant submissions chosen this round.”

For more information about the MISD Education Foundation, contact Kristin at 972-775-8296 ext. 1281 or visit the foundation’s website at

Contact Aaron at 469-517-1456 or