New Red and Gold Grants Awarded at Nine Schools!

November 4, 2014

IPEI Announces Red and Gold Grants


The Ithaca Public Education Initiative (IPEI) announced the first round of its quarterly Red and Gold Grants for the 2014–15 school year. Twenty-four grants totaling $10,671 were awarded for projects and programs that will serve more than 3,500 ICSD students. The grants assist teachers, students, and community members with projects that strengthen and enrich the Ithaca City School District (ICSD) curriculum, have a positive impact on students, and actively engage students.


Red and Gold Grant recipients in this cycle include three first-time recipients highlighted below.


Janet Gordinier, Caroline Elementary School’s secretary, will provide all classrooms with Wilderness Campus Outdoor Bags—containing field guides, water testing kits, nature journal books, and animal track identification guides. The materials will help students study and identify plants and animals as they explore Caroline’s Wilderness Campus.


Vinnie Alcazaren, a Boynton Middle School Social Studies teacher, will ask his students where and how New Yorkers could survive a fantasy epidemic caused by zombies. Role-playing as teams for the Centers for Disease Control, the students will research the spread of pandemic diseases in historical outbreaks through graphs, charts and data tables, and analyze how best to predict and increase survival rates in various populations.


Cassidy Fisk, an Ithaca High School Social Studies teacher, will take students to Cornell’s Johnson Museum of Art and Kroch Library to work with and analyze ancient artifacts and artwork from Europe’s Medieval and Renaissance periods. This educational exploration will allow students to compare the two historical periods and learn how art and architecture reflect cultural values.


“The amazing variety and ‘bang for the buck’ are the best part of IPEI’s Red and Gold Grants,” said IPEI Board President Jennifer Engel. “They excite and ignite the imaginations and learning for Ithaca’s students and teachers!”


Newly awarded Red and Gold Grants are listed below. All 2014-15 grants can be found at under Grants. The deadline for Red and Gold Grants second round is December 8.



Boynton Middle School


Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse: A Study of Pandemics and Geography, Vinnie Alcazaren


Pourin’ Petri Dishes, Victoria Benson


Creative Science Projects, Dennis Carbone


Biathlon: Running and Archery, John McNally, Jeanette Palmer, Shane Taylor



Caroline Elementary School


Wilderness Campus Outdoor Bags, Janet Gordinier


Fitness Program Equipment Grant, Samuel Trechter


The Pre-K Rock Box, Johanna B. Rice


Blurry vs. Clear: An Up-Close Look of Our World, Deanna Crossgrove


Using Play Pods to Support Positive Peer Interactions, Aileen Grainger


Farm to Table School Garden and Food Processing, Eric Woodward and Mary Grover


Miles, Movement and Mapping: Caroline Kids Create Their Own Movement Routes on the Wilderness Campus!, Amy Seldin-Murphy



Cayuga Heights Elementary School


Differentiated Instruction Organization for CHES Kindergarten, Eileen Coller



DeWitt Middle School


DeWitt Beautification Project, Callie Bryant


Combining Visual Resources for Geography Awareness, Andrea Volckmar



Fall Creek Elementary School


Materials for Visual Thinking Strategies, Lisa Trent


Encouraging Independence through Game-Based Learning, Catherine Hart


Yoga Ball Seating for Second-Grade Children of Fall Creek Elementary, Diana Lamphier



Ithaca High School


Ithaca’s Youth Study the Biodiversity of Costa Rica, Leslie Zolnik


Audio Books to Enhance Literacy, William M. Asklar


Digital Photography Grows, Gina Cacioppo


Medieval and Renaissance Extravaganza, Cassidy Fisk



Lehman Alternative Community School


Building a Garden Tool Shed, Debbie Cowell Mandl



Northeast Elementary School


Adventure to Fitness: Learning and Movement during Indoor Recess and More, Elizabeth Bolton



South Hill Elementary School


Optimizing Focus/Attention in the Classroom, Cynthia Buchanan, Marianne Stuart
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