Winners announced for OPUSD ESSER III plan

Plan provides selected OPUSD teachers with grant funding

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Ian Fullmer (left), Anna Mendez (middle) and Jared Weintraub (right)

Zoey Mortazavi, Editor-in-Chief

The Oak Park Unified School District’s Board of Education approved the ESSER III plan on Oct. 19, providing three of Oak Park High School’s teachers with extra class funding.

The $50,000 grant allowed winning teachers to apply for up to $2,500 to be used for materials, specialized equipment, new forms of technology and more. Combined, $48,950 of the money provided has been distributed to the OPUSD staff members who applied. The list of those who received this money and what they will be putting it toward can be found here.

At OPHS, the winning teachers were art teachers Anna Mendez and Ian Fullmer and math teacher Jared Weintraub.

Mendez received $2,000 through ESSER III in order to further fund OPHS’s art therapy program.

“It’s my experience over 30 years that the social, emotional, therapeutic effects of the drawing and painting class has positively affected our students,” Mendez said. “It’s an innovating and experimental environment.”

Fullmer received $2,500 to purchase more materials for the 3D arts and ceramics program.

“The social-emotional aspect of our classroom is something that I often believe is more paramount than the tactile skills that are developed in the studio,” he said.

Lastly, Weintraub was granted $900 to supply AxiDraw machines for his Math Analysis and Geometry classes, using “math art” tactics to enhance their studies. 

“In Geometry, students will be able to model constructions such as the incenter and circumcenter of triangles,” Weintraub said. “In Math Analysis, students will use parametric programs to design and link art to mathematical equations.” 

Applications for this program aimed to highlight the social, emotional, mental and academic needs of students. The goals in mind had to align with at least one of the district programs, including OPUSD and the Local Control Accountability Plan — the latter being a program for educational agencies to improve student outcomes. Finally, the practices implemented through this program aimed to provide an example to be replicated by others within OPUSD.