2012 Karen Cox grant recipients

Julia Hall, preschool special education teacher, Jefferson Early Learning Center, Missoula. Hall’s school serves preschool students with and without disabilities. “One area of our curriculum focus is on emotional awareness and emotional regulation, and important skill for future learning and success in school,” says Hall. “These can be challenging skills for young children to learn, particularly for students on the autism spectrum.”

Hall will use her grant to buy materials from the Incredible Years Emotional Literacy Curriculum, including a lifelike puppet the size of a four-year-old child. Children can easily relate to life-size puppets who look like their peers, Hall explains.

Wally the puppet helps children learn by modeling appropriate behaviors like sharing. He also helps them recognize facial expressions and emotions.

Sally Triplett, 5th grade teacher, Lincoln Elementary, Great Falls. Triplett will use her grant to provide quality books to all 5th graders and bring students of all reading abilities to grade level reading proficiency or above. The books are geared to motivate students to read by moving away from fear of failure and toward a genuine enjoyment of books. Triplett says the program will supplement two classroom libraries, helping students “to become high achievers and life-long readers.”

David Chalmers, 9-12th grade science teacher, Heart Butte. Chalmers teaches in one of Montana’s most isolated, high-poverty schools, on the Blackfeet Reservation. “I want all of our students to be so excited about science that they want to come to school every day because they might miss something ‘cool,’” he says. “I want them to discover science so that they can see that learning can be fun, can be useful, and can be a way for them to experience the world around them.”

Heart Butte lacks many of the basic items needed for a science program —Bunsen burners, beakers, cylinders, test-tubes, and the list goes on. Chalmers will use his grant to purchase many of these basic items, in his quest to build a strong science program from scratch.