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Judy Harvey: Inspiring Kids to Excel

judyharvey_295“I am so excited about being a part of something that makes such a significant impact on kids,” says Judy Harvey, a retired IT professional and 2014 Evolve grad.

Judy’s Evolve project is to work with the Saint Paul Public Schools Foundation to support the Inspired Educator Grant Program. The foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports the students, teachers and schools in the St. Paul School District.

Connecting to Passions

When Judy approached them, the foundation had awarded twelve 2013 Inspired Educator grants, and wonderful work was underway. They were concerned because they did not have the resources to tell the stories about the exciting activities and the real outcomes the program was producing.

Judy offered her skills and talents as a project manager to collect the stories. She will interview and take photos of each grant recipient. She will package the info for each teacher, ready for the foundation to prepare communications for the public, school officials and funders and summarize results for future use in evaluating grant applications.

The project has be a resounding success both for Judy and for the Foundation. Judy has been invited to participate on the Foundation’s Grant-making Committee and assist with a new gallery space displaying student art.

Life Changing Experiences

“The Evolve class has changed me and changed my life,” says Judy. “I've made new friends and I have developed rewarding work around my life-long passion for reading.”

These are examples of the exceptional work being done under the Inspired Educator Grant program:

popular-books-2web_302AGAPE High School
AGAPE provides a supportive educational environment for pregnant teens and teen moms so they can complete high school and continue into post-secondary education. Inspired Teacher, Anna Maria Gaylord, planned to replace their old, tired collection of books with high interest books that appeal to students—both for themselves and their small children. 

The goal was to create reading as a way of life. The project encourages students to increase the time spent reading, to have a book of interest always with them, to talk about books, and to read to their children.

According to Gaylord, “street lit” simply flies off the shelves. “Some stories are rather rough, but the girls are reading and are excited about reading.” 

Central High School
The 10th grade English class is generally made up of students who struggle with being successful students. Some come into class as lower-level readers and writers, some have higher-skill levels but lack motivation, some are students of the English language and some come into the classroom with habits that make performing well academically difficult for them. Because of these factors, the tenth grade English class is generally thought of as very challenging. 

English teacher, Anthony Jacob's project is to have each student write every day and then publish a personally powerful piece of polished writing that they are proud to share with their community. He will compile the writings into a book that will be made available to the school and the local neighborhood library. The goal is that at least 75% will self-reflect and self-identify as authors. At the beginning of the year, only 10% did so.

phalenlake-stills-loadedweb_300Phalen Lake Elementary
Of the 730 students at Phalen Lake Elementary in grades pre-K-5, 94% qualify for free or reduced-fee lunch and 80% are English Language Learners. The focus at the school is teaching cross-cultural competency through studying Hmong culture and history. 

Pang Kang’s and May Lee Xiong’s project is to integrate technology and culture by collecting folktales and presenting them in a movie format.  Four 5th grade classes with 100 participants will compete in the project. The school will host an Academy Awards at the end of the school year and the best film-makers will receive Oscars. 

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