A Look Back: Projects funded by Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms – Elementary Schools (part 2)

At Aspen Elementary, K/1 teacher Shannon VanWagner used her grant to purchase “Explode the Code” phonics program.

Ms. VanWagner reports:

“…thank you so much for the grant to buy the Explode the Code program… [it] has been a success as it allows me to tailor my instruction to fit the individual needs of my learners. Also, now that I have the teacher editions, there was a phonemic awareness component that is oral for my students that I was not able to offer prior to receiving the grant.”


Aspen elementary 5th grade teacher Amanda Haver bought materials for 38 science experiments!

Ms. Haver’s students worked in pairs to conduct their experiments.  She explains:

“76 students were affected by these science experiments. They were able to ask a scientific question, make a hypothesis, plan a procedure with controlled variables, conduct the experiment(s), record results, draw conclusions, and present their findings to the class.”

“Thank you so much for this wonderful science opportunity!! My students had a blast creating their own experiments, following through with them, learning from successes as well as mistakes, and presenting their results to their classmates!”



It was an African Safari Adventure for Aspen elementary 1st graders when teachers Christy Button & Tammy Farhit took their students on a field trip to the Santa Barbara Zoo!

Ms. Button & Ms. Farhit sent this cute photo montage along with their description:

“Our students had a “growling” good time with all of our activities…our lil’ ‘Firsties’ wore ear-to-ear grins (along with their animal t-shirts) as we wrapped up our unit with an adventure like no other to the zoo!”

“Asante! “ (Thank You, in Swahili) – Aspen 1st graders

Posted in Classroom Projects, Elementary Schools, History/Social Science, Reading/Literature, Science | Tagged

A Look Back: Projects funded by Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms – Elementary Schools (part 1)

At Madroña Elementary, 4th grade teachers Janet Dieterle, Sandy Eicher, & Donna Luft used their grant to purchase supplies for their book club.

Ms. Dieterle reports:

“The 4th grade teachers at Madroña have implemented book club groups as part of our differentiated program.  There are 108 students that participate in this program to earn their Bachelors, Masters, and PhD degrees in reading after following some very specific criteria.”

Pictured here are students being recognized for earning their degrees.

These students earned Masters and PhD degrees.



At Glenwood Elementary, 2nd grade teachers Muriel Miller & Kelly MacDonald used their grant to bring Scholastic News to their students every week.

Ms. MacDonald wrote to us:

“We were able to purchase a year long subscription to Scholastic News Weekly. Since 2nd grade is a big year for building reading comprehension, we are lucky to have such high interest and entertaining things to read. This weekly subscription will help supplement our literature program as well as allow students to connect to the world they live in.”

Ms. Miller reported:

“Each issue offers interesting articles to read and to write about.  Also, every child takes each issue home to keep… enriching the home’s literacy.”


At Lang Ranch Elementary, 3rd grade teacher Paula Golem created a classroom listening center.

Ms. Golem wrote to us:

“Thank you, thank you, thank you, to the Conejo Schools Foundation, for your amazing and generous grant to our classroom. Your donation made it possible for me to purchase a new and much needed, state-of-the-art listening center, with books, CDs, and audio tapes for my students to use…The new listening center allows me to address the different learning styles  my students have in the classroom, and better meet their individual needs.”

“…second language learners are excited to use the new equipment to listen to a variety of stories and poems, as they follow along with the text. The opportunity to both see and hear the stories… helps my students build their English vocabulary skills as well their fluency and comprehension skills. In addition, they are excited to record their own voices reading the stories and listen to themselves read.”

“The opportunity to listen to the material in our stories and text books repeatedly, helps those auditory learners absorb the information and remember it in a way that is comfortable and effective for them… students are asking to record their own voices reading  stories and plays for others to enjoy. They are also excited about writing and publishing their own literature to record.”

“Today there is a new buzz of excitement in my classroom. The kids have a energized interest in reading, and I could not be happier.” – teacher Paula Golem



At EARThS science magnet school, 4th grade teacher Laura Pewe purchased science books.

Ms. Pewe wrote to us:

“This grant of $250.00 for my classroom purchased five sets of Delta Science Readers. Each set of 8 includes topics of Earth Movements, Water Cycle, Magnets, Soil Science, and Oceans, supporting the curriculum integration so integral to EARTHS Magnet School. These readers will not only educate this year’s 4th graders, but will continue to enlighten countless numbers of students in the years to come.”

“I am grateful to the Conejo Schools Foundation for understanding the limitations and needs of classroom teachers and for providing the means to accomplish academic goals within the classroom. Many children will benefit as a result of this grant program.” - teacher Laura Pewe

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A Look Back: Projects funded by Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms – High Schools.


At Thousand Oaks High School, Heather Farrell’s 9th grade science students went on an oceanography field trip aboard a floating marine lab.

This trip was funded by C4CC with the generous donation of Dennis & Linda Fenton.

Ms. Farrell’s students created a photo book of their trip which included the following quotes:

“Thank you for enabling me to have such a marvelous day at sea.” - Sarah

“This trip was fantastic. Thank you for the incredible opportunity. I’ll never forget it” – Samantha

“Thank you so much for funding the trip. I learned a lot I never knew.” - Michael

“This trip was very important to me b/c when I grow up I want to be a marine biologist & I learned some pretty useful skills.” - Cindy

“This field trip was really interesting since I learned different facts about marine animals and their habitats, especially since we got to hold some of the animals” - Olivia

“Thank you for this amazing boat trip.  I learned so much about marine life.” - Ricky

” Loved the trip and I learned a lot about the ocean.” - Francisco

“I loved holding the animals and learning about the sea.” - Priya

“Thank you for the opportunity to go out on a boat to learn a lot. It was an amazing trip and I had so much fun.” - Bailey

One of the best things about Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms is taking part in creating amazing experiences for students, thanks to Ms. Farrell and our donors! 



At Newbury Park High School, science teacher Robert Martin used his grant to purchase 15 sling psychrometers, a classroom barometer, a thermometer, and an anemometer.

This is what Mr. Martin wrote to us:

“We all really appreciate the grant here at NPHS.  I will continue to work on [the lab] over the next few semesters … it will continue to get better and better.  I already know that I would like to add more measurements to it for next year, and I know I can because of the equipment we were able to get. The students really enjoy going outside and taking some real measurements.”

“Any time students are taking actual measurements and comparing data with other students, they are engaged and learning important skills.”

“There are 72 students in my classes, and next year it will be shared with other teachers.” – teacher Robert Martin

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A Look Back: Projects funded by Cash 4 Conejo Classrooms – Middle Schools.

At Sequoia Middle School, Allen Saute’s students made robots…

The first groups worked on 3 robots.

Below, the first robot!

The “Alligator” robot.

Kudos to Mr. Saute, one of our very first grant winners, for creating such an exciting learning experience and project that students will always remember!



At Colina Middle School, Nicole Wall’s advanced art students took a field trip to The Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles.

Ms. Wall sent the following thank you letter and description of their trip:

“Dear Cash4ConejoClassrooms and Conejo Schools Foundation,

Thank you for your support of our Colina Middle School Advanced Art field trip to the Museum of Contemporary Art’s The Geffen and Grand. On Friday, April 13, 2012 we were able to see Cai Guo-Qiang’s Sky Ladder exhibit at The Geffen and then the permanent collection at The Grand. Guo-Qiang’s exhibit was commissioned by MOCA and we were some of the first people in the world to see his pyrotechnic (gunpowder) created artwork. It was simply breath-taking and we were all mesmerized. For many of the students it was their first time in L.A. and their first time at an art museum. The general consensus was that we would all remember this day.”

We were unable to take pictures inside The Geffen due to art preservation. However, we were able to take several pictures of students exploring MOCA Grand’s permanent collection.  The students were able to analyze artists they had previously studied like Pollock, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Rothko and more.…”

“[pictured below] the advanced art class outside of The Geffen standing in front of one of Guo-Qiang’s pieces created by gunpowder and fuses, known as pyrotechnic art. Parts of the image had been washed away from the rain, but the students were still awestruck by it’s destruction for creation aspect.” 

“At the end of the day, the students were ecstatic about what they saw and couldn’t believe the art they were able to see and interact with. They said even though we had a thunder and lightning storm and were drenched that it was the most incredible day. Since the field trip the students work has translated into their marionettes, their sketches and will undoubtedly continue to impact their art.” - teacher Nicole Wall

Our thanks to Ms. Wall for inspiring her students with this memorable trip!

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