Inside Aera
Aera in the Community Dec 19, 2019

Aera makes an ‘Impact’ for classroom projects at San Ardo schools

One teacher says the financial support ‘provides fantastic opportunities for students to learn’

San Ardo teacher Tamara Vonderheide

San Ardo teacher Tamara Vonderheide is thrilled to have new materials for her students.

When teachers can bring new activities and materials to the classroom, great things happen for students.

That’s the thinking behind Aera’s “Impact Grants,” which awarded five San Ardo teachers a total of $2,500 earlier this month.

“There’s nothing much better than watching students get excited about reading or science,” said Kathy Miller, Aera public affairs coordinator for Monterey County.

The Aera grants provide financial support for educational programming that enhances students’ academic development. Applicants must apply for the grants and provide a description of their desired project, how students will be impacted and how success of the project will be measured.

A $500 grant was awarded to San Lucas Union School District teacher Tom Carvey, Aera’s first-ever grant to that school district.

San Ardo kindergartner Coraline Limosnero enjoys new books.

San Ardo kindergartner Coraline Limosnero enjoys new books in her classroom

“Students are fascinated by things that fly,” said Carvey, who teachers grades 6-8. “With the grant, I was able to purchase water bottle rockets, kites and more to allow students to explore different types of flight. These hands-on experiments are fantastic opportunities for students to learn beyond a book.”

Grants were also awarded to San Ardo Union Elementary School District teachers Amy Ardouin, Kristen Kelley, Luis Rojas and Tamara Vonderheide. Each teacher received $500 to boost their classroom libraries with new books, to provide materials needed for small group instruction and a video trainer for use in robotics programming.

San Lucas students learn about flight by building kites.

San Lucas students learn about flight by building kites. This is the first year the school has received an Aera Impact Grant.

“I am creating the first robotics competition team at San Ardo School, and the video trainer will help students learn about coding,” explained Rojas. “But they’ll also be learning about teamwork, communication and other important life skills. I can’t wait to get started.”

San Ardo teacher Tamara Vonderheide will use her grant to focus on student performance.

“I am thrilled to be working with my students in San Ardo,” she said. “Aera’s grant has enabled me to purchase materials for small group instruction that reinforces skills and concepts taught in our regular curriculum. Studies show that the interaction in small groups improves student understanding and comprehension.

“I wouldn’t have been able to get these materials without Aera’s support,” added Vonderheide.

DID YOU KNOW? Aera Energy is a three-time recipient of the Forbes America’s Midsize Employer List, placing ninth in the 2022 ranking and securing its spot in the top ten midsize companies to work for in the United States.

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