NEISD Teachers Receive Surprise Grants to Empower Student Learning

Sep 25, 2023 | Grants, Our Stories

NEISD Foundation
At the beginning of the school year, NEEF gave away $259K in grants to NEISD teachers for innovative educational projects. There were so many to write about, so we listed a few here. Among the recipients were librarians April Gastinger, Christina Reyna, and Stephanie Wilson, who devised a plan to use gaming to help students. With the “Power Up!: Empowering Middle Schoolers Through Esports” grant, they will create a competitive esports program for students at Eisenhower, Driscoll, and Bradley middle schools. This program will help students improve their social skills, digital citizenship, and collaboration. Students can also participate in free esports tournaments at the Tech Port near downtown San Antonio, offering a great platform to sharpen skills, network with professionals in technology fields, and build their resumes.

Meanwhile, Kelsey Nuckolls and Melissa Flowers, teachers at DATA at White Middle School, received a $19,540 NEEF grant check for their “Soaring Hydroponics” science project. They plan to build a harvest wall that requires 97% less water and no chemicals or pesticides, addressing the issue of world hunger.

NESA teacher Amie Charney also received a fantastic grant of $33,493.96 for the “NESA Web Series Production Studio.” Mrs. Charney will purchase equipment for a workshop/class, culminating in real-world production and the release of 6-10 episodes of an original scripted, serialized web show and behind-the-scene documentary content. They will purchase cameras, lighting, hardware, sound equipment, and more to accomplish their goal! Students of the program will have something to use in their portfolio for college and employment.

To solve the problem that stemmed from online learning and socializing, Marcy Hildebrand of Northwood Elementary developed the Unplug & Play – The Northwood Way” project. With the $8,000 NEEF grant check, the school will build outdoor ping pong and chess/checker tables for the kids to game outside, improving focus and social-emotional skills.

Lastly, Harmony Hills Elementary Instructional Science Coach Jessica Buchanan received $32,624.36 to create a Space, Technology, and Earth Explorations Lab (STEEL) grant project. This project aims to provide students with hands-on, interactive, technology-enhanced projected reality stations, VR and Augmented Reality experiences, and coding and STEM challenges that will turn abstract concepts into concrete learning experiences.

Please donate to help the Foundation fund the gap between Federal and State funding and the need for educational opportunities that ready our students for the ever-changing work and college requirements.

This month, our Golf Tournament will feature a silent auction where anyone can bid on a great item. Go to this link to participate:

Lastly, NEEF would like to thank our dedicated volunteer Board Members for participating and our generous Grant Check Sponsors:


Gordon Hartman Family Foundation

Firstmark Credit Union

Laurel Ridge Treatment Centers

Satterfield & Pontikes Construction Company

Schulman, Lopez, Hoffer & Adelstein, LLP

Linebarger Goggan Blair & Sampson, LLP

Pfluger Architects, and

Joeris General Contractors.


Full STEAM Ahead at Wetmore Elementary School

Full STEAM Ahead at Wetmore Elementary School

When Rosa Toma upgraded Wetmore's STEAM Lab with items purchased through the NEEF Grant, she noticed a significant increase in collaboration, inventiveness, and creativity among her students. Not only can they program Dash Robots and work on STEAM projects using...

Bradley Chess Club’s Big Impact

Bradley Chess Club’s Big Impact

Even a small donation can make a big impact!  The Bradley Chess Club used to be limited to only accommodating three chess games, which meant that only a few students could participate. However, thanks to a $300 NEEF grant, they have expanded to now allow up to 36...

You Gave Big for the Big Give!

You Gave Big for the Big Give!

We want to express our gratitude to every single person who contributed to the success of this year's Big Give. Thanks to your generosity, the North East Educational Foundation was able to win an additional $2,500 for raising the most amount of funds in the Medium...