Teachers Conquer Cobb Tank, Win More than $71,000 in Grants

Students at Hightower Trail Middle School will race toward a healthy lifestyle using spin bikes while personal fitness bands will energize Mableton Elementary School students to get active. Cooper Middle School students will research, design, and build aquaponics systems to end world hunger. The phrase “literary escape” will take on a new meaning for English students at Kell High School as they tackle educational challenges to escape their anything, but, ordinary classroom.

Those are some of the innovative ideas Cobb County School District (CCSD) educators pitched to a panel of “sharks” or judges during the 2017 Cobb Tank. Through lively, creative, and effective presentations, many involving their students, the teachers appealed beneath TV camera lights for the sharks to fund their ideas to enhance classroom instruction. The educators cheered and squealed when the “sharks” announced that they were going to fund all the proposed projects of the 10 finalists for a total of $71,000 in grants.

Cobb Tank is the brainchild of CCSD Superintendent Chris Ragsdale and is modeled after the popular TV show, “Shark Tank,” where a panel of judges, dubbed “sharks,” determine which projects to fund.

The following school community members served as “sharks”: Ryan Pynes, CCSD director of information systems; CCSD Teacher of the Year Nicole Kempson, a Lindley Sixth Grade Academy teacher; Dr. David Chiprany, CCSD assistant superintendent for middle schools; Mayrin Hernandez, CCSD KiDtalk winner and Fair Oaks Elementary School fourth grader; Cassandra Stiff, agency owner and operator of Horace Mann Insurance; and Janet Sevilla, Atlanta Braves community affairs manager.

To see the 2017 Cobb Tank finalists pitch their ideas to the shark panel, tune-in to Cobb edTV to watch the Cobb Tank Show, which will air in late January.

2017 Cobb Tank Winners:

Angela Perry Acworth Elementary School All Star Innovation Lab $10,000.00
Sean Splawksi and Ricky Staebler Mableton Elementary School Let’s Get Eduscized $11,274.00
Paulette Allard Harrison High School 3D Learning with 3D Printing & More $8,949.21
Stephanie Ruffner Cooper Middle School CMS STEMing Movement $7,750.00
Lawton Willingham Dickerson Middle School Prototyping and Programming in Music $10,697.00
Linda Wade Lovinggood Middle School Hyperloop HyperLearning $4,050.00
Micah Ducre Garrett Middle School The Vocation Location $5,000.00
Schona Lewis LaBelle Elementary School Power of Inclusive Play $5,399.00
Lauren Forbes Kell High School Escape from the Ordinary Classroom $1,600.00
Zakary Jezequel Hightower Trail Middle School Interactive Web Racing Bike Lab $6,595.00