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San Ardo, General Dec 8, 2020

Aera Energy makes an impact for local teachers with grants for innovative classroom projects

Grants will help teach tolerance, inclusion and diversity; science using fairy tales and mathematics through art

Tamara Vonderheide teaches her students about different cultures using a new globeSan Ardo, Calif. – Just as some schools begin to reopen with in-person instruction, five local teachers have received a boost for their classrooms. The teachers were awarded a total of $2,085 in “Impact Grants” from Aera Energy. The Aera grants provide financial support for educational programming that enhances the academic development of students.

“This year has been extraordinarily difficult for teachers and students,” said Kathy Miller, Aera public affairs coordinator for Monterey County. “Yet teachers continue to be innovative, creative and find new ways to engage with students. We should all applaud their efforts in making great things happen for local students.”

The teachers applied for the grants by providing a description of their desired project, how students will be impacted and how success of the project will be measured.
Grants were awarded to two San Ardo Union Elementary School District teachers, Amy Ardouin and Tamara Vonderheide. Ardouin received $500 to boost her classroom library with new books and Vonderheide received $592 for materials to facilitate teaching tolerance, diversity and inclusion practices.

“This year has been difficult on every possible level, including race and equality issues,” said Vonderheide, who teaches first and second grade. “The hands-on teaching tools I purchased with the grant will provide opportunities to read about, interact with and experience other cultures and races. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while and this grant makes it possible at a critical time in our society.”

At San Lucas Union School District teachers Lacey McClenaghan and Tom Carvey are finding ways to engage students by combining subject matters. McClenaghan received a $488 to help her kindergarten through second graders with age appropriate science activities designed around classic fairy tales. Carvey’s $505 grant will increase student engagement in mathematics through art.

“Distant learning can make school seem dull and remote,” said Carvey, who teaches grades 6-8. “Students need to be doing activities that involve their eyes and hands in creative ways. The Watercolor for Math Engagement project funded by the Aera grant will help me to bring math to students in new ways as they draw and paint geometric shapes, including squares, triangles and pentagons. Thank you Aera for the opportunity to bring my students something new at a time when education is especially difficult.”


About Aera Energy

Aera accounts for about 25 percent of the state’s oil production. The oil we produce allows millions of Californians to travel to work every day, businesses to thrive and Monterey County-grown food to arrive at dinner tables. We live in the communities where we work, which includes Kern, Ventura, Monterey and Fresno counties. We’re proud to support local communities through jobs, partnerships and investments to build stronger neighborhoods and cities together. www.aeraenergy.com

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