Classroom Grants

The Classroom Grants program is our largest allocation. Teachers submit applications for funds for projects that will directly benefit students through innovative and creative teaching methods. Granted funds are awarded in November. This is such an exciting time for WEF, knowing that the money given directly impacts students and typically provides benefits for many years.

Questions can be directed to Allocations Chair, Erika Hudspeth at

The 2023-2024 Watauga Education Foundation Classroom Grant Application is now open!


Application Deadline: Friday, October 13, 2023 at 5:00pm

Our teachers are redefining innovative classroom strategies and we are committed to supporting their bold new ideas.

2022-2023 Classroom Grant Recipients

Corrie Freeman and Jessie Presnell of Hardin Park for “Around the World in 30 Books” This project will expose 5th grade students to a variety of cultures while building their vocabulary, comprehension and writing skills. Reading stories of children from all around the world encourages a deeper understanding of other ways of life, while mastering grade level demands.

Danielle Stewart of Mabel School for “Miracle of Math Manipulatives in Middle School Math” This project provides multiple differentiated materials to help middle school students further understand the concepts and standards they are being taught. These hands-on materials and “fun games” help them understand the “why” in math.

Natasha Lyons of Valle Crucis School for “STEM After Hours” This project provides enrichment opportunities for middle school students to explore all they can do with STEM topics. Funds will be used for the creation of an after school STEM Club that gives students an opportunity to explore their natural curiosity in the world of STEM and see how what they are learning in math and science has application to the world outside of the formal classroom environment.

Jane Brown of Valle Crucis School for “Promoting Positive Behavior and Self-Awareness through Literature” This project promotes social emotional learning, which helps students develop constructive habits and values and is as vitally important to their lifelong success as their academic learning. Grant funds will purchase a collection of books to help students (PreK-8) learn and help teachers teach the Positive Behavior Framework expectations, and will benefit the school for many years. 

Dacia Trethewey of Watauga High School for “Dynamic Digital Drawing & Design” This project empowers students to express their creative ideas through original, individual and collaborative digital drawing/video projects. Funds will purchase an iPad Air 5 and accessories that will push students’ traditional drawing skills further into the 21st century through projects including digital drawing, painting & animation.

Courtney Capazzoli of Watauga High School for “Envirothon Champs!” This grant will support the development of a team to compete in the regional Envirothon competition and the purchase of a composting worm hotel and aquarium to study and observe biochemical processes, allowing students to apply their learning to a real world scenario.

Savannah Libassi for “It’s Time for Take Off with Orff!”  This grant will allow the purchase of xylophones and drums to be able to better teach the Orff method.  This method of teaching music focuses on improvisation, creation  and play as a form of learning for young children.  This will impact students at Hardin Park grades K-8.

Candice Trexler for Watauga County Schools Battle of the Books  This grant will purchase titles on the Elementary, Middle and High School North Carolina Battle of the Books lists.  These books will be provided to all the county schools and will impact 275 students in grades 4-12.

Brittany Bolick for “Ping Pong Playtime”  This grant will allow the purchase of Ping Pong tables to introduce Ping Pong to students at Blowing Rock.  This allows the students to be exposed to lifelong physical activities, requiring social interaction, working with small groups, hand-eye coordination and activity.  This will impact 350 students.

Amanda Ormsby for “Social Learning at Mabel School”  This grant will allow the purchase of The Social Emotional Learning Curriculum All-in-0ne Bundle/Detective and Superflex Series by Social Thinking.  The material includes books for children, curriculum guides for professionals, and interactive guides.  Children will learn how to transform themselves into a Social Detective as well as their own “Superflex” superhero that looks just like them.  These lessons are structured to encourage students to pretend to manage imaginary characters called the UnthinkableBots and in later lessons, engage their Thinkable powers. 

Adrienne Stumb for “Capturing Student Journalism” This grant will allow the purchase of a camera for the journalism program at Watauga High School.  This program has grown from 5 students in 2019 to 30 students in 2022.  The camera will help meet the expectation of high quality scholastic journalism.

Genal West for “License to Print”  This will allow the purchase of supplies to introduce arts foundations students to relief printmaking with professional quality printing materials used by real world working artists.  This will impact 68 students at Watauga High School. 

Lindsey Postlethwait for “Amazing Animals in Art”  The funds for this project will allow the purchase of art materials to produce 2D and 3D art.  This will impact 450 K-8 students at Bethel and Valle Crucis.

JB Byrne for “Sensory Relief Kits for Super-Awesome Autism Students”  This grant will allow the purchase of 20 AFO Sensory Kits for Autistic classrooms at Hardin Park and Watauga High School.  Each kit will include items like noise-canceling headphones, weighted blankets and communication cards to help students gain self-regulation during difficult moments of the day.  

Trevor Owens of Parkway After School for “Comfort for Learning” This grant will provide four Flex-Space Premium Floor Seats to create a better learning environment for 68 K-5 students in the After School program at Parkway.

Megan Scott of Hardin Park School for “How Egg-Citing….From Egg to Chick!” This grant will purchase an incubator kit to be used by second grade students to learn about the life cycle of a chicken through first-hand experience observing the process of eggs being incubated and hatched. 

Dana Lowery of Watauga High School for “Heroes Haven” This grant will expand existing graphic novel services and programs at the WHS Library by purchasing additional graphic novels.  Graphic novels help develop reading skills by reinforcing skills like inferencing, demonstrate punctuation and grammar rules, and explain figurative language. These books really particularly aid those with learning differences. 

Scott Evans of Watauga High School for “Digital Microscope Cameras for Biology Students” This grant will purchase a digital camera that can attach to microscopes. This will allow students to work collaboratively on microscopy.  This will allow students to work together on viewing, labeling and identifying specimens.  

Carol Critcher of Blowing Rock School for “Let’s build a Bristle Bot and Run Through the Keva Maze: Empowering students to build and explore creativity through STEM projects” This grant will purchase a Bristle Bot making kit and Keva Bot Mazes to introduce students to engineering concepts and the design process, thereby strengthening problem-solving skills, collaboration and creativity. 

Erik Mortensen and Dustin Ford for “ Keep on Truckin” With the funds from this grant, students at Watauga High School will build a Food Truck to take to the SkillsUSA Transportation Showcase.  The Food Truck that they build will also be used in fundraising efforts to raise money for their trip to the competition.  They also plan to utilize this food truck in future fundraising efforts for the school.

Olivia Boudwin of Bethel School for Future Architects This project will enhance the materials in the Pre-K block space which encourages play that utilizes students’ fine motor and gross motor skills with imagination and problem solving.

Lauren Nichols, Miranda Higginbotham, Savannah Libassi and Andrew Chapman for “All County Chorus Event” This project will fund the purchase of sheet music and a guest conductor for ensemble performances by students from all K-8 schools. This will build interest in the music program while allowing them to have a memorable middle school experience that gives them the opportunity to connect with students from other K-8 schools before attending high school.

Laurie Gill of Blowing Rock School for “Putting the ‘Science of Reading’ into Students’ Hands” These funds will be used to purchase decodable text sets to address the pivotal areas in learning-to-read for K-3 students. Teachers can weave the decodable books into small group instruction tuned to the phonics concepts, giving students the chance for students to apply their phonics skills. 

Carly Mize and Kirbi Bell of Green Valley for “When Stars are Scattered” Grant funds will purchase a set of graphic novels that teach 5th graders about perseverance, grit and overcoming obstacles. Reading novels like this in a safe and positive environment allows students to study perspective, point of view and to learn about global awareness.

Gwendolyn Reeves of Green Valley for “Interactive Learning with Manipulatives” This project will provide easy access to manipulatives within the EC classroom. The funds will purchase math manipulatives to reinforce the understanding of key concepts in math and to make reading comprehension more interactive through the use hands-on activities.

Kelly Pierce, Crystal Norris and Ashlyn Yates of Hardin Park for “Books For All – Decodable Chapter Books For Older Readers” This project will add high interest, low readability books to the reading room library for older students that still need to work on foundational reading skills. These books will help students who are still struggling to read practice pertinent skills and gain confidence while being able to enjoy the books they are reading.