Adopt A+ Grants

Adopt A+ GrantsYour support of the Virginia Beach Education Foundation (VBEF) helps fund innovative and creative learning programs for Virginia Beach students. See how teachers’ grant projects educate, engage and inspire children by reviewing the grant booklets, articles and videos posted on this page. To discuss how you or your organization can support new opportunities for students and staff, contact VBEF coordinator Debbie Hughes at 263-1337 or

Grants Awarded 2021-2022

School + Community Super Grants

Bayside Elementary School and Dills Architects and Virginia Cooperative Extension
Growing Bayside
In addition to the well-documented learning benefits of a school-run greenhouse, COVID-19 has highlighted the needs of many Virginia Beach families for increased food access and security. A greenhouse would address the social and emotional needs of students in addition to helping learn about the importance of nutrition and fresh vegetables. The area will also promote the value of collaboration and problem solving in a way that is well suited for social distancing. Dills Architects and the Virginia Cooperative Extension will serve as community partners in seeing the greenhouse come to life.

Old Donation School and HBA Architecture and Interior Design and Covert Solar, Inc.
The EcoBus will serve as a mobile sustainability education platform to support learning at schools without built-in resources such as gardens. The EcoBus will deliver high-quality curricular support, offering activities across a range of educational levels. For older students, the EcoBus will offer an opportunity to boost leadership and collaboration skills as they develop lessons for a wide range of learners. Additional support will be provided by community partners HBA Architecture and Interior Design and Convert Solar, Inc.

Kellam High School and The West Neck Educators Club and Junior Achievement
Future Ready: Senior Signature Project
The SSP provides the opportunity and structure for seniors to develop a personalized capstone project. Students will demonstrate passion, commitment to service, and investment in authentic, relevant learning experiences through a visible forum that unites a community of learners. A KHS Signature Design Lab will open new ways to convey this learning through the ability to create podcasts, documentary films, "Ted-talk" style videos, 3D printed models, and other media. The West Neck Educators Club and Junior Achievement will serve as professional mentors and on Defense of Learning panels.

Schoolwide Grants – Spring


Alanton Elementary School
Astros Learning Launch Pad
Heather Thomas and Fara Faust
Underwriter: Huntington Ingalls Industries—Technical Solutions
With the creation of the Learning Launch Pad, two outdoor learning environments—intentionally designed to allow access by all students—will provide dynamic learning spaces to ignite and engage student curiosity into challenging science inquiry.

Dey Elementary School
Bringing Books Into Our Communities
Edgar Jumper
The "Little Free Library movement has picked up steam as COVID-19 made social distancing a must. By offering books in areas throughout our communities, these small contributions will have an outsized impact on our collective sense of belonging, while simultaneously emphasizing the importance of reading among students. Three Little Free Libraries will be placed throughout the Dey community, utilizing books marked with QR codes that foster collaboration and discussion.

Hermitage Elementary School
Dogs on D.U.T.Y.
Theresa M. Dyson-Roby
Underwriter: Beach Municipal Federal Credit Union
The Dogs on D.U.T.Y. program will help students De-escalate, Unload, Think, and know that 'You are in control.' Three dogs that have graduated the American Kennel Club Good Citizen training program will help students process their feelings healthily, promoting a better letter environment and personal growth for all students.

Kellam High School
KellamuKnight and Castle Counsel Mentoring Program
Robin Hoffman
Underwriter: HBA Architecture and Interior Design
This program is a cross-age peer mentoring initiative that pairs upperclassmen mentors with ninth grade students to guide and support them in their academic, social, and emotional development. By establishing a trusting, mutually beneficial relationship, both mentors and mentees will learn and grow through the challenges of a new setting and establish personal skills and confidence that will prepare them for life after high school.

Kempsville Middle School
Sustainable Sensory Garden
Patti Jenkins
Underwriter: MassMutual Commonwealth
Local partners and volunteers will assist the school community in creating a multi-purpose, zero-waste school garden where students will learn how their relationship with food and the food cycle affects the natural world around us. Students and staff will benefit from the academic use of space in an outdoor classroom for concentration and from the sensory garden and native plants that surround them for meditation.

Kempsville Middle School
Zero Waste, Green Space
Amy Bowles
Underwriter: Checkered Flag
A zero-waste green garden will shift students' mindset toward generating zero food waste through recycling and composting. Teachers and student leaders will connect with local partners and volunteers to change the infrastructure of the school community and better understand how the food cycle affects our world.

Landstown High School
Empty Caddy Corner to Collaboration Corner
Jennifer Morris
Underwriter: Lifetouch
Two unused corners of the building will become spaces for collaboration and inspiration. This project will take two empty spaces in the school's hallways and turn them into flexible and inviting areas for students to share knowledge -- more like a modern day workspace than a classroom. Doing so will help encourage students to take charge of their own learning and enjoy a "real life" space more like the office environments they will find in their careers

Tallwood High School
Sustainable Learning Experience
Elizabeth Herlong
Underwriter: RRMM Architects
Students in the Adapted Academics and Functional Life Skills curriculums will cultivate garden space as a means to learn about the environment, healthy diets, and decision making. AAF students will collaborate with general education students on composting and pest control projects, promoting school wide community connection and experimental inquiry.

Thalia Elementary School
Music, Math, and Movement
Lei Dunn
Underwriter: The Breeden Company
This program will create opportunities for students to combine concepts from math and music with physical activity throughout the day. Funds will be used to create cardio-drumming kits, enabling students to hear and feel music come to life. These interactive playscapes will create engaging experiences for the entire student body.

Thoroughgood Elementary School
Inquiry Leads to Innovation: A STEM Lab for Deeper Learning
Megan Thompson
Underwriter: SB Ballard Construction Company, Inc.
A STEM lab with hands-on materials will bring scientific investigation standards to life for our learners. They will make real-world connections through investigations into ecosystems and the environment just outside their windows. The lab will inspire new learning opportunities and passion projects that will allow students to use creative thinking and innovation to positively impact their community. The result of this inquiry and innovation will be students who feel a deeper connection to science.

Thoroughgood Elementary School
Sustainable Gardens Reimagined: Creating Our Ecological Identity
Terri Darnell
Underwriter: MassMutual Commonwealth
After student enthusiasm has grown around the "scratch" lunch initiative, sustainable gardening on campus will be an initial step toward ensuring all students are able to enjoy non-processed foods for lunch. Students will grow plants using hydroponics and grow lab equipment during the winter months, participating in garden care and creating compost from discarded materials. Older students will use the garden as a self-managed learning project, educating younger students on the importance of sustainable gardening and healthy eating.

Virginia Beach Juvenile Detention Center
Virtual Reality: Bringing Education to Life
Ruth Reynolds
Underwriter: Huntington Ingalls Industries–Technical Solutions
Virtual reality provides immersive, student-centered learning. Students will be able to travel the world to experience history in order to find inspiration, becoming active learners in the process. By doing so, students will engage in cross cultural experiences that make connections from past to present and illustrate parallels among literature, art, and history.

Windsor Oaks Elementary School
Bringing Books to Our Virtual Students
Becky Feld
Underwriter: Beach Windows & Siding
Offering virtual students hard copy books will offer an increased sense of normalcy in uncertain times. While virtual learning offers many opportunities, providing delivery of a mini library of hard copy books provides younger students the ability to read together with family and older students a break from screen-time.

Innovative Learning Grants


Arrowhead Elementary School
Recess to the Rescue!
Kathryn O'Brien and Beth Greer
Underwriter: Optima Health
Playtime is vital to child development, and these funds will go toward providing new experiences for recess that provide gross motor skill development, stress management, and fun. Items will include a playhouse, allowing students to build collaborative skills in addition to Big Wheels, and scooters that will make full use of otherwise equipment-free space.

Bayside High School
Student-Led Leadership Workshop
Ashley Williamson and Morgan Sellers
Underwriter: GEICO
The Student-led Leadership Workshop will help x find new ways to be involved in their school and communities. Through a one-day program offering skills such as working in groups and event planning, students will build competencies that set themselves up for lifelong dedication to service leadership.

Brandon Middle School
COVID-Consious Classroom
Amy Ricks and Krisha Loftus
Underwriter: Waller, Todd & Sadler, A Woolpert Company
The COVID Conscious Classroom project will implement a safe, flexible environment for all classes to maintain physical distancing while increasing learning. The project will include flexible seating and tables that will offer the ability to learn outdoors.

Brandon Middle School
Spheros to Spin
Amy Ricks and Krisha Loftus
Spinning with Spheros offers students an opportunity to engage in coding and robotics education in an experiential setting. The Sphero app, used with Chromebooks, allows students to safely engage with electronics they can program to perform movements and tasks, nurturing student imagination through a collaborative team building process.

Brandon Middle School
Anti-Racism and Cross-Cultural Competency
Krisha Loftus and Amy Ricks
Underwriter: Speight, Marshall & Francis P.C.
This project will offer educators and students content and materials that will create an anti-racist and cross-culturally competent school community. The materials will assist in developing strategies, activities, and learning experiences that promote equity and inclusion, help identify the impact of implicit bias, and increase access to differing perspectives and experiences. Resources will also go toward increasing literature and digital resources with representations of marginalized groups.

Christopher Farms Elementary
Makey-Makey Making History
Parthena Savides
Underwriter: Jim & Patsy Slaughter
As we create opportunities for students to work on innovative projects amid COVID-19, Makey Makey Making History offers an interdisciplinary study of the Civil War. Students will research a topic of their choosing, then create an interactive poster using Makey Makeys' technology that turns items ranging from bananas to pencil led into keyboard tools. Students will then be able to use a coding program to share their research with classmates and the community.

Creeds Elementary School
Empowering Future Scientists and Artists with Arduino
Matthew Winnick and Beth Smith
Underwriter: Dominion Energy
Arduino starter kits will enable students to learn the basics of computer programming, coding, and engineering. While practicing skills that students need for an increasingly digital world, students will also be reinforcing SOL-aligned objectives within science and technology. The kits will also encourage collaboration, with students able to access advanced components that will enable the creation of robots.

Dey Elementary School
More Blogging and Booktalking
Edgar Jumper
Underwriter: Dominion Energy
Students will continue to foster their love of reading through sharing their experience of great novels via book talks and blogging. Each book will be labeled with a sticker that includes “digital” ways of sharing what students learn. Based around daily meetings, students will break into groups where they will combine the best of 21st technology with literature classics.

Glenwood Elementary School
Building the Future with CoSpaces Edu
Caroline Altman
Underwriter: Speight, Marshall & Francis P.C.
CoSpaces Edu offers a web-based virtual reality creation tool that turns users from consumers of 3D and virtual reality to creators. CoSpace Edu can be used across grade levels and subjects to build 3D creations through coding in addition to creating shared spaces for collaboration. By doing so, students will develop spatial skills and problem solve in an innovative environment.

Kellam High School
Vocabulary edVenture
Betsy Morris and Rich Kinsey
Underwriter: PACE Collaborative
"What does it mean to know a word?" Membean provides multiple learning pathways to ensure students are learning rather than memorizing software through individualized learning. By helping students break out of their comfort zone, Membean enables metacognition --"thinking about thinking"-- through novels with highlighted vocabulary and software that provides data that indicates progress.

Kempsville High School
Using Rockets to Teach Quadratic Functions
Alina Dougherty and Nicole Williams
Underwriter: Chesapeake Controls
Engaging students in real-world, hands-on lessons is an essential way of teaching abstract math concepts such as quadratic functions. Students will work in teams to design, build, and launch several types of rockets -- all optimized through the principles of flight and quadratic equations. Comparing and charting the launches will offer real world lessons in statistical analysis -- showing that math never exists in isolation.

Kempsville High School
Diverse Voices: English 9 Redesign
Erin Mullins
Underwriter: Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union
High school readers crave narratives that reflect their experiences, interests, and identities. Adding new textbooks to the supplemental reading list that offer both will help teachers offer new learning experiences that give students more choices in addition to the classic canon. Doing so will foster a greater likelihood of fostering lifelong readers in English classrooms.

Kempsville High School
Parlay Ideas: An Online Discussion Platform
Charlotte Jenkins
In the midst of the pandemic, the Parlay Online RoundTable has provided students a virtual environment with fostered discussions around class material that promotes constructive feedback. Rather than operating in a vacuum, Parlay provides discussion points and themes that allow teachers and students to engage in conversation, promoting students’ discussion skills and offering a semblance of a “real classroom” environment that has otherwise been made impossible.

Kempsville High School
Community Garden
Jennifer Riley-Edwards and Claudia Ockert
Underwriter: Kiwanis Club of Norfolk
This outdoor learning space will be available to all classes to provide hands-on lessons in sustainability and food. Students in Culinary Arts, Hospitality and Catering, and Culinary Entrepreneurship students and members of the Garden Club will take primary roles in planning and managing the space, and it will be accessible from the outside of the building for the community to enjoy.

Kempsville Meadows Elementary School
Bringing Language and Literacy into the Home
Jennifer Schmidt
Underwriter: Heartland Construction
To better equip parents suddenly forced to navigate education in the home, this program serves as a "book of the month" club equipping parents with training and materials to enhance reading and other developmental skills. Training videos will offer examples of interactions and guides on how to use material such as flash cards and other visual tools. By engaging parents with these materials and training, they will gain confidence and the knowledge needed to teach, nurture, and play with children in their home environment.

Kempsville Middle School
Body PARTS - Physical Activity Reduced Teen Stress
Wendy Revolinksy and Mary L. Sutterluety
Underwriter: Optima Health
New exercise equipment, ranging from weighted jump ropes to balance beams, will provide students with practical experiences needed to become more knowledgeable physical education students. The materials will marry agility, balance, coordination, and speed to better empower students to achieve their fitness goals.

Kempsville Middle School
Graphic History
Alexander Brown and Mary L. Sutterluety
Underwriter: Sheila & Steve Magula
Students will discover American history as told through graphic novels, providing new contextual layers that build a sense of place and engagement within narratives of heroes, hatemongers and everyone in between.

Kingston Elementary School
Dynamic Drumming in the Elementary Classroom
John Fritz
As music education continues to shift, so are the instruments. Drumming teaches children about the science of sound, including frequency, intervals, and harmony. Basic drumming also offers lessons in applied math as students learn counting and cycles of counting. The cross-cultural education involved is also key to helping children imagine new possibilities and unlock new ways of thinking.

Landstown Elementary School
Mobile Maker Space
Nicole Cabral and Terri Troia
Underwriter: Kimley-Horn
By transitioning the school's library-based Makerspace into a mobile cart, students will be able to enjoy STEM activities on an individual classroom basis. The activities range from origami paper to a Plaster of Paris-based archeological exercise, and packaging these materials for individual use will allow for students to safely learn within COVID-19 guidelines.

Landstown Elementary School
Making Makey Makey Masters
Nicole Cabral and Terri Troia
Underwriter: GeoEnvironmental Resources
This program will allow students to combine food and other conductive objects with Makey Makey electronic sets. Bananas will be turned into keyboards. Playdough will be used to record a story. This project-based learning will offer Integrative STEM and 21st Century Skills in a way children have never before experienced.

Landstown Elementary School
Beat the Coding Blues with Blue-Bots
Nicole Cabral and Terri Troia
Blue-Bots offer an opportunity to "see" programming as it occurs, making them a perfect introduction for younger students to computer skills. These robots are able to be programmed either on the bodies themselves or a Chromebook-based app. Programmers will learn how to navigate maps, create their own challenges, and take their learning to new levels as they gain more skills.

Landstown High School
The Masks We Wear: Exploring Ourselves Through Social and Emotional Development
Victoria S. Milosevich
Underwriter: Cherry Bekaert
Exploring and developing a sense of self increases resilience and self-assuredness. This sense of self will be nurtured through lessons that strengthen students' awareness of what others see and do not see about themselves. This project will explore methods of learning who we are, the gifts we all have, how to appreciate our differences, and the culture we bring to the world around us. Students will create art on a plaster mask that represents this learning and will be displayed in an art show for all to explore.

North Landing Elementary School
Embracing Innovation with Edison and Legos
Kim Winingear and Raye Jean Van Nostrand
Underwriter: Thompson Consulting Engineers
Students will learn programming and robotics skills through Edison, an expandable robotics system that utilizes Legos. By combining the Edison system, which will be new to most students, with more familiar Legos, they will learn creative ways to determine the desired function and code for the project accordingly. From beginning to end, students are able to make decisions that offer complete ownership of their own inventions, offering real world learning where there is no "right" answer.

North Landing Elementary School
Virtual Coding
Stephanie Manny
Underwriter: Virginia Natural Gas
This project allows virtual students access to coding DASH Wonder Bots, enabling them to develop arcade games from their own home. DASH will offer every student a virtual 3D robot that will help increase coding literacy, and Bloxel's EDU hub will help students create characters, stories and games through critical thinking and exploration.

Old Donation School
Memory on Cloth: Shibori Dyeing
Leigh Drake and Sarah Allard
Underwriter: Towne Insurance
Visual arts students will seek the guidance experts to learn about the history of Japanese culture and storytelling, culminating in teams designing Shibori pieces inspired by symbolization from their own memories. Throughout this collaboration, students will develop their interpersonal skills as they gain an understanding and appreciation of the diverse viewpoints. The final products -- a synthesis of Japanese- inspired art and culture and students’ artistic expression-- will serve as icons of the power and importance of art and culture.

Princess Anne Elementary School
Pollinators Rock!
Leslie Allman and Meghan Seiler
Underwriter: Kiwanis Club of Norfolk
Pollinator populations around the world are under threat, and this project will help students understand the interconnectedness of food supplies and the environment. Students will study essays, editorials, advertising, and other media in order to develop public service announcements of their own. By utilizing these new persuasion skills, students will gain an understanding of how environmentalism and good citizenship require critical thinking.

Princess Anne Elementary
Bitsbox Coding for Kids
Jody Carroll and Leslie Allman
Underwriter: Virginia Beach Schools Federal Credit Union
Students will create apps using the Bitsbox Coding for Kids program, which offers lessons in real text coding at second through fifth grade levels. The coding at various skill levels offers real world experience in using coordinates, variables, conditionals, and simple functions as students create useful apps.

Princess Anne Elementary School
A (Micro) Bit of Learning
Jody Carroll and Leslie Allman
Students in grade 5 will receive their own Micro:bit programmable pocket-sized computer in order to gain a deeper understanding of coding, programming, and critical and computational thinking. Students will engage in various coding projects using their devices, building on scientific and mathematical principles such as motion, light, sound, and random numbers.

Renaissance Academy
Self-Empowerment Student Ted Talks
Adam Brown and Dennis Kelly, Jr.
Underwriter: Optima Health
A TED-ED Club will explore the concepts of social responsibility and honest reflection as tools to strengthen an authentic sense of self-worth. Students will work toward presenting their journeys as TED-style talks in order to build creative thinking and resilience. Students will collaborate with each other, teachers, and other stakeholders to ensure their visions are successfully captured.

Tallwood High School
Stage Radio Play
Michael Camenisch
Underwriter: Comfort Systems
As COVID-19 continues to limit activities, staged radio plays offer a perfect socially distanced way to offer students a chance to learn new production skills and offer listeners entertainment from a bygone era. This type of theatre allows social distance for each actor, while still providing opportunity for vocal, physical, and emotional character development. It allows performers to come together safely to produce a show that can be performed live in person or via stream.

Technical and Career Education Center
Second Life Sustainable Outdoor Power Equipment Project
Timothy Kennedy
Underwriter: Thompson Consulting Engineers
Students will form companies using technical skills, tools, and resources that are commonplace in small engine repairs shops for diagnoses and repair. Companies will be required to write work orders, run diagnostics, perform approved work, and keep a record of the parts and supplies used.

Virginia Beach Middle School
Hidden Gems: The Art Behind the Story
Jessica Provow and Melissa Kramarczuk
Underwriter: Quality Stone Concepts
“Hidden Gems: The Art Behind the Story'' combines art and literacy skills into a collaborative project. Sixth and seventh grade students from gifted visual art and reading support classes will team up to learn from one another and develop a unique jewelry-based project that will be displayed within the school’s library for all staff and students to enjoy. Reading students will share a character analysis from a self-selected novel with their art student partners. Together, reading students and art students will design and create jewelry that reflects and is inspired by the character, the book's theme, and its setting.

Virginia Beach Middle School
Giants of the Art World
Anne Baker and Jessica Provow
Underwriter: Quality Stone Concepts
"The Giants of the Art World" will see students collaborate to bring large and wearable puppet-style heads to life in order to embody their expertise on their selected artists. In addition to the research and craft work involved, students will develop a play-style script to deliver their findings in a performance to be held at school and within the ViBe District.

Woodstock Elementary School
Growing Plants with Aeroponics
Beth Stone and Stephanie Wyman
Underwriter: WPL
Students will gain understanding of how sustainable food systems work through aeroponic gardening -- growing plants without soil through use of a tower stored in the school’s atrium. The project will enable students to not only grow produce but share it with the larger community, building real world experience with the needs of people who require fresh food but may not have access.

Archive of Prior Grant Awards

Grants in Action (videos)

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