Soroptimist International 2023 Loomis Basin Awards Ceremony

Our LUSD teacher grants are listed below: 

Laurie Kiely and Jenny Portillo, both fifth grade teachers at Franklin Elementary School, will purchase colored pencils, skinny markers and paint brushes with the Soroptimist Teacher Grant. Students will use these supplies to illustrate maps, math lessons, science packets and art projects.

At H. Clarke Powers Elementary School, teacher Hailey Crosta plans to use stencils, Magna-Tiles and other tools to help transitional kindergartners build fine motor skills, identify numbers and letters, and learn about animal environments. Second grade teacher Gina Green will purchase oil pastels to introduce an "exciting new art medium that will add bright and vivid colors to their masterpieces." The grant will allow second grade teacher Elizabeth McCall to use manipulatives such as Spelligator, word sliders, money bingo and snap circuit to engage students. McCall says that the hands-on activities will support students in reaching math, language and Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) grade standards.

Loomis Grammar School Kindergarten teacher Bryn Bacharach will invest the Soroptimist grant in 10 LCD white boards for students to practice sight words. Jodi Serrano, TK-8th grade music teacher, anticipates adding a classroom guitar to accompany student vocal and instrumental music. Second grade teacher, Rachel Shirhall, will use the grant to add dictionaries, Social Emotional Learning (SEL) books and flexible seating for her classroom library. Loomis Grammar School TK-8th Physical Education teacher, Owen Zielsdorf, sought the grant to add a variety of colors and sizes of cones that can be used to keep students safe and organized during activities.

Christine Clark, Loomis Basin Charter School K-8 teacher, will purchase the books for 3rd-5th graders to participate in the second year of the nationwide "Battle of the Books." To meet the needs of 115 students at different reading levels, Loomis Basin Charter School 7th/8th grade teacher Melissa Patrick has been piloting an interactive computer-based program that allows the teacher to assign specific lessons to individual students. The grant will fund the Nearpod full license so Patrick can continue to customize lessons and improve students’ reading skills, essential for educational and career success.

Jennifer Mishler, Librarian, Ophir STEAM Academy, will purchase early chapter books for students reading at grade level 2-3 with the Soroptimist Teacher Grant. The books would increase 1st-4th graders' skill level and help them transition into regular chapter books.

Samantha Randall, second grade teacher, Penryn Elementary School, wants to offer more flexible seating in her classroom to meet students' needs by allowing more movement and options while learning. Similarly, kindergarten teacher Jessica Ryder will use the grant to create a learning space that is welcoming and fosters all learning styles by offering flexible seating including rockers, bean bag chairs, wobble stools and reading pillows.

Elizabeth Magleby, 4th-8th grade Special Day Class (SDC) teacher, Placer Elementary School, intends to use the Soroptimist Teacher Grant for STEM manipulatives in bins that encourage creative engineering. Students can engage individually or in teams using creative thinking to construct structures.

Soroptimist International Loomis Basin fundraises throughout the year to support the awards program and other education projects that lead to women’s economic empowerment. The next fundraiser is Tostada Bingo on May 13.

To learn more about the club, go to and find Soroptimist Loomis Basin on Facebook and Instagram @SILoomis.