Gahanna orchestra students plan to "Amp it Up" next year, thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation.

Gahanna orchestra students plan to "Amp it Up" next year, thanks to a $2,500 grant from the Gahanna-Jefferson Education Foundation.

Amp it Up is a flagship program for students in sixth through 12th grades to increase interest and participation in music performance, community outreach and involvement through the use of alternative music styles.

Orchestra director Kevin Dengel said it would advance students' technique on electric stringed instruments.

"Wahoo," Dengel responded to ThisWeek about receiving the grant. "We are very excited for this. The grant money will be used to purchase a Yamaha electric string quartet to jump-start an alternative-styles ensemble within the orchestra department.

"This will benefit not only orchestra students in grades 6-12 but (also) will enable the orchestra program to better achieve Ohio's Fine Arts and National Music Education Standards."

Dengel's grant is one of 28 projects the GJEF has agreed to fund.

Dale Foor, GJEF president, said $48,685 in Grants of Excellence has been awarded, in addition to $2,910 in mini grants.

"We were excited we were able to fund (more than) $50,000 for all grants," Foor said. "There were multiple requests in technology, asking for more iPads. They are so, so functional. We had a bunch of requests for iPads.

"Perhaps the most interesting is, the principal at Chapelfield Elementary will have an artist come in. They will recycle things and create art projects. It's really a neat, neat thing. They will work with a visiting artist"

Foor said a very high level of interest was expressed in seeking additional technology support across the district, as well as numerous grant requests to bolster efforts in supporting math education.

Blacklick Elementary School principal Kristen Groves had two grant requests filled, totaling $1,750, to support after-school math and robotics clubs.

Groves said the math club is for fifth-graders.

"All math concepts will be taught through a game approach," she said. "Students will learn and play a variety of games that require problem solving, critical thinking, computation and calculation. Our goal is to increase our students' number sense, build their mathematical confidence and have fun in the process."

She said the creation of an after-school Lego robotics club would provide Blacklick Elementary School third-graders with authentic learning opportunities.

"Students will be able to follow the design process by researching, designing, building, testing and evaluating solutions to various problems," Groves said. "The club will be driven by innovation, discovery, exploratory learning and require students to work collaboratively while developing solutions to various situations."

The club will engage students in hands-on learning experiences and provide opportunities for students to think critically, work as a member of a team and explore the connection among science, technology, engineering and mathematics through the use of Lego WeDo Robots, she said.

Groves said one goal is to expand the after-school club to fourth-graders during the 2014-15 school year.

Schools that had other grants funded, the projects and amounts are as follows:

* Blacklick Elementary School: Fund the Seeds of Science/roots of reading, $1,100; purchase mini iPads to accommodate learning needs and styles, $1,000.

* Chapelfield Elementary School: Materials to support the daily five lessons and Calkins workshop, $1,000; visiting artist to assist students in development art skills to incorporate community items into large-scale installation art pieces, $2,500; fund a Leaders in Math and Science Club, with materials involving hands-on science, math and literacy items, $2,300.

* Goshen Lane Elementary School: Weekly cooking classes for special-needs students, $1,000; purchase three iPads and one MacBook to enhance technology, $1,200.

* High Point Elementary School: Leader in Me project, focusing on building life-skill habits, $2,500.

* Jefferson Elementary School: After-school robotics club, $2,000.

* Lincoln Elementary School: Revitalization of math through curricular connections program, $2,225; materials for developing reflective readers through interactive read-aloud, $1,825; fund a workshop model for a math program to meet various development levels of students, $1,000; provide material to support problem-based learning through the use of iPads, $1,000.

* Lincoln High School: Equipment to upgrade photography darkroom, $2,250; purchase Enriques Journey as an insightful supplemental text addressing immigration issues, $1,225; purchase a SMART Board for special-needs class, $2,100.

* Middle School East: Five iPads to support at-risk students, $2,245; materials to accommodate extended support-services classrooms, $1,500; iPads to support intervention accommodation for students, $1,000.

* Middle School South: Seven iPads for formative and summative assessment purposes through research, teleconference and video, $2,465; creation and maintenance of a school/community garden, $1,500.

* Middle School West: Purchase of MOVBands, an innovative technology to track fitness and record progress, $2,500; after-school art club, allowing the creation of works for school display, $2,100.

* Royal Manor Elementary School: Purchase Pebble Go databases and digital text to support student research, $2,500; provide supplemental math resource materials, $2,500.