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Teachers Awarded PASR Local, Regional Educational Grants

PASR Highlands School District is proud to annnounce that three district teachers were awarded educational support grants through the Pennsylvania Association of School Retirees (PASR).

High School Spanish teacher Mrs. Laura Proano and Middle School Grade 5 teacher Mr. Kevin Mason are the recipients of the $750 Region 6 PASR grant and Highlands Elementary Grade 2 teacher Mrs. Jody Shumaker received a $250 Local PASR grant. 


The regional grant will enable Middle School Math students and High School Spanish students to develop their STEAM skills and global competence by building virtual worlds in CoSpaces for Education, an online subscription technology tool for building 3D creations, animations with code and using virtual / augmented reality.


According to Mr. Mason, Highlands Middle School students will deepen their understanding of math concepts by creating a virtual world of their choosing as they begin with story maps and then make objects come to life by asking 5th grade PSSA math eligible content questions. Mrs. Proano said that Spanish IV students will tell a story of empathy by creating virtual worlds that compare their cultures to that of their Ecuadorian penpals while Spanish II students will develop a virtual marketing campaign for a trip to a Spanish-speaking country that they research and plan.


PASR Region 6 is comprised of seven chapters from Armstrong, Allegheny, Bedford, Cambria, Indiana, Somerset, and Westmoreland Counties, and each chapter is comprised of three to seven school districts. Obtaining this grant entailed a very competitive process. “This is indeed an accomplishment.  As you can imagine, it is extremely difficult to be awarded this grant. Our chapter, Alle-Kiski, had 15 proposals alone,” said Ms. Barbara J. Amy, PASR Educational Support Chairperson and Alle-Kiski Chapter President, in her award letter to Proano and Mason.


The local grant awarded to Mrs. Shumaker will be used to purchase Math Facts Folder Games for the 2nd graders at Highlands Elementary School. Each folder game focuses on a single math concept/operation for the reinforcement that students need to master basic math facts."There is a significant amount of evidence that supports that all students, regardless of their ages, can benefit from explicit hands-on learning and we as teachers, see this everyday," said Shumaker. "We agreed...what better way to learn the essential math facts than with these fun-filled, motivational, and hands-on games."  


CONGRATULATIONS, Mrs. Proano, Mr. Mason & Mrs. Shumaker!