The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation is awarding about $35,000 in grants this year, fulfilling the wishes of many district teachers.

The Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation is awarding about $35,000 in grants this year, fulfilling the wishes of many district teachers.

The foundation approved 16 requests for funding last month, plus seven mini-grants.

"Technology got the lion's share," said Dale Foor, GJEF president. "It speaks volumes where our teachers are looking for opportunities to incorporate technology into programs. It provides students with the opportunity to do a lot of really neat hands-on activities."

In addition to the requests approved by a grant committee, Foor said, two requests are being covered through private funding.

"People make donations to the foundation and have the discretion to request certain things," he said.

One of those is $3,500 for robotics-challenge events that will include U.S. and Chinese students later this month.

"That one will involve some staff from (Ohio State University) and Chinese students who will be here in a couple weeks," Foor said.

He said foundation members also are excited about funding an after-school robotics challenge at Middle School West.

"The curriculum department is trying to really look into providing ways to support math, science and technology at the middle school level," Foor said. "We're always excited about after-school programs.

"Another one we thought was interesting is High Point Elementary's blogging activity. My granddaughter is in that third-grade class. It's really a nice project. They've worked hard on how they expose the kids to these types of activities. We encourage teachers to do creative things."

Some of the mini-grants include funding for the senior recognition breakfast at the high school, fifth-grade camp, an organic-gardening program and headphones to support technology in classrooms.

The school receiving a grant, the teacher who requested it, the grant's purpose and amount are as follows:

* Blacklick Elementary School, grade 1, Betsy Spence, four iPad minis and materials to enhance literary development, $1,780.

* Chapelfield Elementary School, grades K-5, Amy Gray, math pentathlon program, $2,442.

* Goshen Lane Elementary School, grades 3-5, Kathryn Edwards, support for the school's functional curriculum, $1,400.

* Goshen Lane, grades K-5, Kelly Donaldson, Bookflix and Trueflix online reading programs, $2,000.

* Goshen Lane, grade 5, Brock Mitchem, materials to establish a Mac center, $1,500.

* High Point Elementary School, grades 2-3, Erin Hoover, technology items to support a blogging project, $2,500.

* Jefferson Elementary School, grades K-5, Leslie Twigg, keyboards to support in-school and after-school composing skills, $2,500.

* Jefferson, K-5, Heather Palmer, update to the school's broadcast studio, $2,500.

* Lincoln High School, grades 9-11, Marcia Sweet, 15 Kindle Fires to enhance reading skills for reluctant readers, $2,500.

* Middle School East, grades 6-8, Kate Lewicki, math manipulative to enhance program, $2,443.

* Middle School East, grades 6-8, Melissa Woodruff, four iPads and accessories to support the school's intervention program, $2,400.

* Middle School South, grade 7, Kim Parsons, four Asus Transformer tablets to supplement language arts, $2,500.

* Middle School West, grades 6-8, Kathy Spencer, follow-up to the Rachel's Challenge program to purchase books and materials for "Pride Time," $760.

* Middle School West, grade 8, Jeannette Frioni, headphones to enhance spe'

aking skills, $1,000.

* Middle School West, Brett Harmon, after-school STEM robotics project, $2,500.

* Royal Manor Elementary School, grades K-2, Whitney Sapienza, nonfiction materials, $2,000.

Privately funded initiatives are as follows:

* Lincoln High School, grades 10-12, Fred Donelson, two authentic robotics-challenge events with U.S./Chinese students, $3,500.

* Lincoln High School, grades 9-12, Sarah Fairchild, conversion of an unused locker room to a print-making lab, $2,500.

For the GJEF to continue to move forward to underwrite the grants, Foor said, it's important to have the continued support of business partners and community members at the Gahanna Gala, formerly known as the Celebration of Excellence.

This year's event will be held Feb. 23 at the Villa Milano, 1630 Schrock Road.

"It will be an all-star evening," Foor said. "We expect guests to dress as a favorite sports character or in their favorite sports team attire."

Tickets are available for purchase on the foundation's website: