MCAS Teacher Innovation Fund Awards Grants to Teachers

The Michigan City Area Schools Teacher Innovation Fund has funded 15 applications this year to support innovative classroom projects.

The fund was established with Unity Foundation of La Porte County in 2011 by former Michigan City Mayor Chuck Oberlie and MCAS Superintendent Barbara Eason-Watkins, EdD.  It provides grants of up to $350 to teachers and professionals at Michigan City High School and the La Porte County Career and Technical Education-A.K. Smith Center.  In addition, Horizon Bank generously contributed to help grow the fund and Michigan City Area Chamber of Commerce supports one grant each year in memory of A.K. Smith graduate and long-time Horizon Bank employee Joe Mellen.

A total of $4,477.46 was awarded to 15 applications this year. The selection committee under Unity faced a difficult decision in awarding the more than $2,557.51 available in the Teacher Innovation Fund, and recommended selecting eight projects. Unity Foundation Literacy Fund then generously contributed an additional $1,919.95 to support all the applications.

A total of 21 Teachers will benefit, reaching 3,343 students with innovative projects during the 2016-17 school year. They include:

Michigan City High School

Lynne Clinkert, Stand up for learning, $272.73

Deanna Ehrhardt, Footprints Into the Future, $350.00

Laura Daly, Interactive Literature, $194.94

Stephanie Dege, Engaging Students Through Virtual Reality, $346.76*

James Funk, Tablet PC, $350.00

Adam Goebel, Restocking the Chemistry Shelves!!!, $328.25

Jennifer Gracyalny, Teaching La Llorona de Mazatlán, $225.00

Ashley Kohler, Digital Transition Support in Flipping Classroom, $350.00

Michael Livovich, Planning to Succeed: Planners and Support for Early College Students, $350.00

James Newman, Broadening Horizons with Food, $350.00

Rebecca Shaman, Black History Project/Gallery, $341.97

Lucas Snyder, Decades Project, $308.00

Bruce Stahl, Help, I need more brain, $103.00

Cheri Whitler, Don’t get in a Rut: Learn and Renew, $334.81

Amy Wojasinski-Labis, Resource Cabinet, $272.00

*Joe Mellen Award Recipient

To support the growing number of teacher grant requests, tax-deductible contributions are welcomed to the Teacher Innovation Fund or Unity Foundation Literacy Fund. Online contributions may be made at, or checks mailed to Unity Foundation, PO Box 527, Michigan City, IN  46361, with Teacher Innovation or Unity Literacy Fund in the memo line.

For more information, call the Unity Foundation at 219-879-0327, or email