La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas Awards Teacher Innovation Grants

The Highland Park Education Foundation (HPEF) recently announced that it will grant $14,802 in Teacher Innovation Grants for Highland Park ISD teachers with the help of La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas.

La Fiesta is a longstanding community-wide organization that supports HPEF and Highland Park public schools. This year, fifteen teachers will receive grants enabling them to provide additional learning opportunities for their students heading into the 2020-2021 school year.

“These grants ensure students a fun, exciting classroom experience that otherwise would not be the same, and these lessons transform learning environments and enable teachers in the District to offer a meaningful experience to all students who are able to participate,” said Mary Deaver, 2019-2020 La Fiesta Chair.

Innovation grants range from specialized STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) activities to professional development opportunities that equip teachers with the tools for social-emotional learning. 

“We were excited to see the caliber of ideas submitted for this year’s grants, and we knew from the start that we had an impressive slate of applicants in front of us,” said Fran Matise, 2019-2020 chair. 

“Mary and I enjoyed our role in selecting the recipients, and we appreciated our partnership with the Highland Park Education Foundation who we’ve been working with for over 25 years,” she added.

Each year, both organizations partner to support many Foundation and HPISD initiatives, including Teacher Innovation Grants and district-wide teacher and staff salary support. To learn more, visit 

2019-2020 La Fiesta de las Seis Banderas Teacher Innovation Grant Recipients include:

  • Jessica Irick, Armstrong, Social Emotional Learning School Groups
  • Laura Rollins, Armstrong, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project Coaching Institute; Jim Knight Teaching Learning Coaching Conference
  • Blair Smith, Armstrong, Mobile Makerspace for Classroom STEAM Integration
  • Pattye Knight, Boone, AR/VR Merge Cubes-3D Learning
  • Elizabeth Roberts, Boone, Osmo Genius Kit: Real Play, Real Learning
  • Becky Everett, Boone, Full STEAM Ahead
  • Joy Rumsey, Boone, STEAM Stations in First Grade
  • Caroline Fischer, Bradfield, Kate Weiser Chocolate Experience
  • Lindsey Estill, Hyer, Building Bridges
  • Sara Meeks, University Park, Patterns of Power Plus
  • Courtney Layton, University Park, Lego Education Coding Express
  • Lauren Golman, University Park, Marcy Cook Tiling Task Card Packets
  • James Jenkins, HPMS, Raider Sound Sessions
  • Gregory Bergeron, HPHS, Academic Decathlon Test Materials by Xathlon
  • Sandra Simmons, HPHS, Service Learning in Francophone Communities

Rachel Snyder

Rachel Snyder, deputy editor at People Newspapers, joined the staff in 2019, returning to her native Dallas-Fort Worth after starting her career at community newspapers in Oklahoma. One of her stories won first place in its category in the Oklahoma Press Association’s Better Newspaper Contest in 2018. She’s a fan of puns and community journalism, not necessarily in that order. You can reach her at

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