Nurturing Reading with Technology

When you were in school, a trip to the middle school library meant looking through the shelves for books or learning to use the card catalogue to do research. If computers or other technology were involved, it was mainly to take the purpose of the card catalogue. Things have changed a lot since then.

In the midst of video games, smart phones and other distractions at their fingertips, middle school students have lost the joy for reading. A trip to the library isn’t nearly as exciting as a surfing the web or chatting online.

Library Media Specialist Desi Beard from Lake Dallas Middle School aimed to change the reading experience for her students. With the popularity and availability of e-readers, Ms. Beard saw an opportunity to bring books and reading support to the hands of her students in a way they would enjoy and understand.

She wrote a grant to purchase 30 Kindles. For the less technologically inclined, Kindles are the electronic reading devices put out by Amazon. The software is free on any smart phone, tablet, laptop or computer. However, the Kindle devices themselves are not free. The advantage to purchasing them is that they come with additional reading support, which is helpful to many middle school students who struggle with the skill.

For Lake Dallas Middle School students, a trip to the school library now means a class period, or more, that’s engaging and helps them learn in ways that make sense to them. Reading is now more fun because books and magazines are presented in a familiar format – electronic. You may mourn the passing of books, but your middle school students are more engaged thanks to Ms. Beard’s insights about using Kindle readers to bring books to her students.

We’re proud to be able to support Ms. Beard’s efforts to help her students love reading and books as much as she does – no matter what the format.

Using Technology to Teach Reading

Learning basic reading skills is one of the most fun, and challenging, parts of the Kindergarten curriculum. Many students need to engage other senses to truly master this skill. Sound and hands on learning experiences can make learning to read more fun and easier for students struggling with the skill.

Ann Lenard from Shady Shores Elementary School saw her students struggling with the reading curriculum and wanted to facilitate a means for them to feel excited about reading. After looking at many options, Ms. Lenard determined that the LeapFrog Interactive Reading Center would be perfect for her classroom.

We happily awarded her a grant of $533.90 to purchase the system for her classroom. In conjunction with the Lake Dallas Integrated School District curriculum, students will be able to discover reading from the ground up.

Basic lessons help students associate letters with their sounds. More advanced lessons help more independent readers develop confidence in their skills and discover enjoyment in solo reading. Every lesson, at every level, is interactive and student focused.

By using interactive books, LeapFrog supplements students’ phonemic skills and reading comprehension. As students progress through the program, they become more comfortable with reading, both silently and aloud. This provides them a foundation for the rest of their school years. Many teachers use round-robin oral reading to teach and engage their class. Students with a fear of reading often find these classes challenging, even when they understand the subject matter.

We’re excited to see the results of the LeapFrog Interactive Reading Center in Ms. Lenard’s classroom, as are the parents of her students. As with all our grant recipients, we’re excited to bring additional educational opportunities and avenues to all of the Lake Dallas Integrated School District.


What technology or equipment would help improve the learning environment of your classroom? Let us know through a grant application – you just might get exactly what you and your students need!

Keeping Gym Interesting at Lake Dallas Elementary School

What was gym class like when you were in school? Lots of team sports and someone, maybe you, standing around getting picked last every time? Gym class can often be intimidating and uncomfortable, especially for shy or less athletic students. Many students wish there were more individual activities they could participate in during gym class. They don’t want to be picked last any more and they’re not comfortable with sports. With our help, students at Lake Dallas Elementary school will have this option.

Circuit Training

At professional gyms and martial arts training centers, circuit training is popular for individual fitness training. P.E. teacher Jamie Roach believes in the power of circuit training. She’s developing a program to help her students improve muscle strength and endurance, increase cardiovascular endurance and flexibility and boost overall body composition.

To support her efforts, LCEF provided a grant of $996.20 to purchase the necessary equipment. Circuit training can involve jump rope, free weights, trampoline jumping, running, push-ups and obstacles courses. With the grant from Lake Cities Education Fund, Ms. Roach will be able to provide a variety of activities, keeping circuit training fun and interesting.

Because students complete the circuits individually and are only competing with themselves, many students find this a more enjoyable experience than the usual team sports often played in gym class. Many shy and/or less athletic students benefit from this more solo approach to fitness.

We’re pleased to support Ms. Roach in her efforts to provide physical exercise that appeals to every student in her class. Inclusion during elementary school can increase a child’s self-esteem and confidence, both of which have lasting positive effects throughout school and adulthood.

What great idea do you have for your Lake Cities students? Tell us about how you want to change the lives of you students and how we can help you accomplish that goal. You and your students might be our next grant recipient.

Halting Drunk Driving in its Tracks

No teacher or parent wants to see a child hurt in a drunk driving accident. As educators and parents know all too well, you can tell kids about the dangers of drunk driving, but that only goes so far. With new virtual reality (VR) technology, it’s now possible to give young drivers the experience of drunk driving in safe environment.

Lake Dallas High School Health Teacher and Coach John Tompkins saw this is a great opportunity to help keep students in his charge safe and show them the dangers of drunk driving. He discusses blood alcohol concentration (BAC) in his health class and believed VR would greatly add to his curriculum.

Lake Cities Education Foundation (LCEF) was pleased to provide Mr. Tompkins with the $2,221 needed to purchase Fatal Vision Goggles for use in his health class. These goggles are specifically designed to simulate the experience of being drunk.

Mr. Tompkins uses them in his health classes at Lake Dallas High School. He asks students wearing them to perform a variety of tasks, including navigating an obstacle course while driving a tricycle. Students participating in this simulation walk away with a better understanding of how alcohol impacts their reaction time and impairs their motor skills.

Crashing a tricycle into a cone makes the point about the dangers of drunk driving in a safe way. Mr. Tompkins hopes the addition of the Fatal Vision Goggles to his curriculum will prevent drunk driving incidents and fatalities as his students become drivers.

To find out more about drunk driving, how to prevent it and hear stories from victims and survivors, visit the MADD website. Mother’s Against Drunk Driving (MADD)’s sole mission is to save lives. LCEF feels sure they’d support Mr. Tompkins’ use of VR in his curriculum.

Working Out with Music

Remember going to gym class when you were in school. If it was indoor that day, it was loud and echoy. When you go to the gym now, you probably wear your earbuds and have a whole playlist of your favorite workout tunes. Thanks to a grant, the students at Shady Shores Elementary School will get the joy of music during gym class.

P.E. teacher Patrick Koele uses the Bose Soundlink Mini Bluetooth Speaker II he purchased with the grant to incorporate music in his class without wires running across the floor causing a safety hazard.

The Importance of Physical Fitness

With obesity rates at an all time high, Mr. Koele’s dedication to the health and fitness of his students is admirable. By incorporating their favorite music, students are more likely to show up and participate in the athletic events he has planned for the day.

In addition to keeping bodies healthy, gym class teaches social skills and provides students’ brains with a much needed break. Often, shy students come out of their shell during gym class. Studies have shown that a mental break helps kids learn more and retain it better than they would if they were sitting absorbing intellectual information all day.

Monitoring Students During Gym

We know some people likely associate elementary school gym with getting teased and picked on. Mr. Koele is vigilant about being sure students feel safe – physically and emotionally – in his class. Using the speaker he purchased, Mr. Koele is able to watch student interactions.

Music tends to be a commonality among all students in an age group. It’s great way to keep the students engaged and having fun. As students discover that they enjoy the same songs or do the same silly dances, they also discover they have other things in common and often make new friends.

LCEF is pleased to have provided the funds for such a powerful classroom tool.

Students Learn Social Skills Through Video Modeling

Many students with special needs struggle to understand social interactions. Students with autism spectrum disorders, Down’s Syndrome and other conditions find it difficult to read others’ emotions and respond appropriately in social situations.

Unlike other learning challenges, students cannot simply find a new strategy to achieve success. Instead, the need to see what they’re doing, understand why it doesn’t work and practice better ways of managing those situations. They then need to see themselves engaging in proper social behaviors to cement this change in their brains and ensure consistency moving forward.

This type of behavior medication is quite successful helping students with social behavior challenges learn appropriate responses.

LCEF Grant Brings Video to Lake Dallas Special Education

No one understand the social challenges faced by students with autism spectrum disorders and Down’s Syndrome better than Dr. Gwen Carter, Dr. Vicki Hainlen and their intern Kathy Schaeffer. To provide much needed video modeling and the ability to deconstruct signals and response, this team applied to LCEF for a grant.

With the nearly $3,000 they received, they’ve created a Video Self-Modeling and Social Autopsy program for students receiving Lake Dallas ISD special education services. The program involves students making videos of themselves in social situations they normally find challenging. Using these videos as a reference point, teachers will help each student learn what he or she could have done differently in the situation. Repeated videos in the same situation will help students see their own progress, preventing discouragement.

The term “social autopsy” is the name given to the process of looking at the self-modeling videos and deconstructing behaviors in order to form new ones. If a picture is worth a thousand words, a movie is worth ten thousand. For students struggling to understand appropriate social behaviors, this program is priceless.

We’ proud to have funded this life-changing program that will help so many Dallas students.

Freezer Meal Business for Special Education

Special education students face many challenges both in school and after graduation. The modifications made in school don’t follow these students into life outside of school. A unique program at Lake Dallas High School aims to provide their special education students with life and career skills and certifications that will help facilitate employment. A grant from LCEF made it possible.

Grant Details

LCEF awarded a grant of $591 to the Special Education Department at Lake Dallas High School to start a Freezer Meal Business with their students. The program also helps the community. Students in the program receive orders for freezer meals. Based on the orders, the students prepare and freeze the meals and distribute them to the correct individuals. They’re also responsible for purchasing additional supplies for future orders and maintaining inventory.

In order to handle food, proper certifications must be obtained. As part of the Freezer Meal Business, students will complete an online training course and pass the requirements to receive their state food handlers license. The license is a resume building and the program itself builds transferable skills, meaning Lake Dallas High School special education students who participate in the program will have an easier time finding employment upon graduation.

LCEF Grants Program

The Lake Cities Educational Foundation takes pride in encouraging creative and innovative teaching approaches. Teachers who invest their time in our students by designing specialized teaching approaches often find they’re unable to implement the programs due to lack of funding. LCEF aims to remove that barrier with our grant program.

Grants are funded by community donations, both individuals and businesses. LCEF couldn’t provide funding for programs like the Freezer Meal Business without these amazing donors. To learn more about recent grant recipients or to make a donation, please visit our website.

LCEF Makes College Dreams Come True

College has become more and more expensive while funding options have become harder to obtain. Loans have become an almost insurmountable burden for many college graduates. Yet society places a high value on college education. Many fields don’t hire people who’ve not completed a basic college education. LCEF makes college possible for deserving Lake Cities Integrative School District students.

How the Scholarship Works

Each year, LCEF holds fundraisers (the Gala and Golf Tournament) to raise funds for the scholarship. In addition, Lake Cities residents and businesses make contributions. Over the years, friends and family members have established endowed scholarships in honor of loved ones.

Graduating seniors apply and are awarded scholarships each June. Sixteen years ago, LCEF awarded the first scholarships to nine deserving students. Those scholarships totaled $4500. Since then, more than $283,000 has been awarded to 244 seniors. These students were able to go on to college with a smaller financial burden. Many have returned to the Lake Cities area to contribute their skills.

2016 Scholarship Winners

We’re incredibly proud of all of this year’s winners. We wish all of you the best in your future endeavors and look forward to seeing the difference each of you makes as a result of your college education.

·      Timothy Gowans    -  CoServe Electric Endowed Scholarship

·      Kailyn Beauchamp   -   Lake Cities Chamber of Commerce Endowed Scholarship

·      Austin Benedetti   -   Matthew Webb Memorial Endowed Scholarship

·      Delaney Greer   -   Jason Powell Memorial Endowed Scholarship

·      Rugger Collier   -   LCEF Board of Directors Scholarship

·      Maria Dunne   -   LCEF Board of Directors Scholarship

·      Jared Collier   -   LCEF Board of Directors Scholarship

·      Gabriela Estes   -   Oakmont Men's Golf Assoc. Endowed Scholarship

·      Dagan Hahn   -   Lake Cities Lions Club Scholarship

·      Ellysa Reyna   -   Sawko & Burrows Endowed Scholarship

·      Nicole Jimenez   -   CoServ Electric Pass-Through Scholarship

·      Aaron Ruggiere   -   Tyler Morse Memorial Endowed Scholarship

·      Nester Vasquez   -   BirchBreeze Foundation Scholarship

·      Shayla Holland   -   Lake Cities Directors Endowed Scholarship

·      Claire Smith   -   Louis B. Drozd, Jr., Memorial Endowed Scholarship

·      Derriere Blake -   Nicholas Hibberd Memorial Endowed Scholarship

·      Jordan McCoy   -   CW2 Christopher Chabot Martin Memorial Endowed Scholarshi

Lake Cities Education Foundation Helps Dyslexic Children

As many as 2 million students across the U.S. may be receiving services for some form of reading disability, including dyslexia. Dyslexia is commonly associated with trouble reading, but it’s actually more than that. It’s a condition that affects the way the brain processes language. As such, it can also affect writing, spelling and speaking.

Dyslexic children are frequently quite creative, but the struggle with reading and school work can often lead to low self-esteem and issues socializing. Dyslexia is frequently hereditary, but isn’t always. However, research over the past decade has led to many advances in helping students with dyslexia learn to work within the confines of those challenges and become successful in school and life. For students at Shady Shores Elementary School technology plays a role.

LCEF Grant Makes Technology Purchase Possible

Our mission at Lake Cities Education Foundation, we’re dedicated to improving the quality of education throughout the Lake Dallas Independent School District. Since June of 2000, we’ve been doing this through grants and scholarships.

One of our recent grants was awarded to Kristen Adams. She teaches dyslexic students at Shady Shores Elementary and saw an opportunity to use technology to help them with their writing and decoding skills.

Ms. Adams applied for a grant through LCEF and purchased iPads for her students. Using the iPads, her students receive instant feedback about their cursive handwriting, spelling and decoding skills. See them in action: 


How to Help Your Students

Teachers, parents and community members all benefit from student access to the best possible education. Grants from LCEF help make that possible. There’s no amount too big or too small to be considered. To apply for a grant for your student or make a donation to help others, follow the link.

Lake Cities Education Foundation Gala 2016

When and Where

The 16th annual Lake Cities Education Foundation Gala will be held November 10, 2016. This popular annual event will be at Ashton Gardens in Corinth and will feature silent and live auctions and a fabulous dinner. All this and with the knowledge that you’re helping Lake Dallas students be successful.

What Will Happen

The fun on gala night includes a silent auction at 6pm to kick it off, followed by dinner at 7pm. The evening will end with the fun and friendly competition of a live auction at 7:30 featuring some of the most popular auction items.

How You Can Participate

Individual tickets for the gala are $65 and corporate table sponsorships are available for $800 per table. Tickets can be purchased at Daisy Cleaners locations in Lake Dallas or Corinth, at Northstar Bank’s Lake Dallas branch, the Lake Dallas ISD Central Services office or by calling 940-497-5233.

In addition, the foundation is collection donations for both silent and live auctions and is happy to send one of their team of volunteers to pick up any items you or your company wish to donate. In addition, you can get your name or company featured in the evening’s program by making a tax deductible donation prior to November 7, 2016. For more information about making an auction donation, see our gala page.

Why Lake Dallas ISD Loves It

“The LCEF Gala is a spectacular fundraising event,” said Karla Landrum, the foundation’s executive director, in a Lake Dallas ISD media release. “It is an opportunity to give back to this community and make a difference in the lives of the students and teachers of the Lake Dallas Independent School District.”