Mini-Grant Application for School Year 2018-19

Submitted by: Matt Ostrowsky Email: Grade Level: 2-6 Subject: Science, Literacy, Physical Ed
Co-Applicant: Email: Grade level: Subject:

School: Freedom Crossing Academy Type: Public Grade Levels:K_6 County:St. Johns

Approx. Enrollment: 1000 Number of teachers:50

School Address:

1365 Shetland Drive
St. Johns, Florida 32259

Phone: (904) 547-4230 Principal:Allen Anderson Email:


Project Title: Reading, Riding, and Rocking
Project Dates: January 20-June 2019 Grade Levels:

Focus Area(s) :STEM- Alternative Energy- Literacy - Physical Education

Freedom Crossing Academy opened its doors to students for the first time on August 10, 2018 with a vision to “break barriers.” My aim, as the school’s Library Media Specialist, is to break down any and all barriers that may prevent students from being happy, healthy, successful learners. At the crux of the “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” initiative is a stationary bicycle that, when pedaled, generates enough electrical power to charge up to 8 USB devices. Produced by Rock the Bike ( out of Oakland California, the Generator Pro Recharge Station Bike is a stationary bike with an adjustable seat, a desktop platform to place cell phones, tablets, eReaders, or print books, as well as a built-in “What Watt?” monitor, which gives pedalers real-time statistics on how much energy they are producing. According to the Rock the Bike website, “When pedaled, the Recharge Station enclosure glows green for clean energy! The glow is visible from across the room, or in daylight, generating curiosity and interest. The top of the desk has an illuminated gauge which changes from red to blue as the circuit fills up with power providing feedback to the pedalers.” Imagine the draw of students into their school library when they see that they can ride a bike, get a little exercise, read a book while they’re pedaling, and charge their device all at the same time! NOTE: the cost for the Generator Pro Recharge Station Bike is $3,150, which is slightly more than the TERRA maximum grant amount. That said, I am applying for the maximum grant amount of $3,000 and will seek the remaining funds through other sources.


How is your project innovative?   (25 points)
The “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” program is the first component of an initiative that aims to completely transform the vision of school libraries. My vision is for the Freedom Crossing Academy Media Center to be like Google Headquarters: alive, vibrant, moving, people engaging in their own personal interests. To that end, the “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” will draw more students into the Media Center than ever before. When have students ever been able to ride a stationary bike in their Media Center, much less one that charges their cell phone and even the Kindle they’re reading eBooks on, as a result of their pedaling! I believe that this project can lead to improved health and learning on a much larger scale: as students visit the Media Center and pedal the bike throughout the year, I expect to see an increase in book circulation which leads to more reading, which leads to improved test scores and the development of lifelong readers. In addition, I also expect regular reader-riders to experience a decrease in school-related anxiety, improved focus all around, and an increase in overall happiness. Many recent studies have shown strong correlations between movement and learning gains. In a 2014 blog post, Heidi Godman, the Executive Editor of the Harvard Medical School Health Letter, cites several educational benefits of exercise. Those benefits include (but are not limited to) increased verbal memory and learning, improvements in mood and sleep patterns, and decreases in cognitive impairment. Godman reports that “in a study done at the University of British Columbia, researchers found that regular aerobic exercise, the kind that gets your heart and your sweat glands pumping, appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the brain area involved in verbal memory and learning.” A future phase of the “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” program will utilize Virtual Reality goggles. Students in grades 6 and up will have the option to check out a pair of VR goggles from the Media Center desk, attach a phone to the goggles and watch YouTube 360 videos while they pedal. As they’re charging their devices, getting exercise, and being the envy of the whole school, students will be able to pedal through the streets of Paris, down a mountain trail, or across the Pacific Coast Highway.

How will it fit into your curriculum (include standards)? (10 points)
This project hits on several standards in several different areas, from Science to Physical Education, to Computer Science. Starting in Grade 3, for example, students are expected to “identify some basic forms of energy, such as light, heat, sound, electrical, and mechanical” (SC.3.P.10.1) and to “recognize that energy has the ability to cause motion or create change” (SC.3.P.10.2). These are concepts that are taught and reinforced in Science classes over the course of several years. Our PE teachers will be pleased to know that use of the stationary bike will support a few of their own Health standards, including HE.3.C.1, which expects students to “comprehend concepts related to health promotion and disease prevention to enhance health.” Additionally, HE.3.C.1.3 wants students to “describe ways a safe, healthy classroom can promote personal health.” My hope is that the students will not only think of their Media Center as an extension of their classroom, but to able to recognize and describe the personal health benefits they receive from riding the bike.

How will it encourage long-lasting change in your classroom, school or community? (20 points)
As mentioned above, this project is all about creating long-lasting change in my school community. It’s about revolutionizing the way students perceive their school library. It’s about making the Media Center a place where ALL students—both heavy readers and reluctant readers alike— want to visit every single day. Many students, as they grow older (especially into their middle school years) don’t utilize libraries the way they did when they were younger. They find other interests, including sports, video games, and other hobbies. Additionally, in this age of 140-character tweets and wordless Instagram posts, many students simply find reading to be too time-consuming, cumbersome, and boring. Sadly, the Media Center becomes the face of that reputation. So imagine our students’ excitement at the prospect of pedaling the Recharge Bike Station when they visit the Media Center! Now, students who normally wouldn’t ever come in will have more of a reason to do so. And once I have those reluctant readers in the door, I’ll then have an opportunity to turn them on to some great books that they might be interested in. (Let’s be honest, once they’re on the bike, I’ll have a captive audience!) Freedom Crossing Academy utilizes a program called LiveSchool, in which students are awarded digital points for positive behaviors. LiveSchool points can be earned for following directions or for showing leadership, respect, imagination, grit, or any other positive trait we hope to see in our students. Throughout the year, students can spend their LiveSchool points on various incentives, from school supplies to extra PE time to admission to special events. Now, students will be able to opt to spend their LiveSchool points for extended time on the stationary bike! In this way, the “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” program will break the barriers of being strictly educational in nature; it will also serve as an additional incentive for students to demonstrate excellent character! Additionally, each morning, I teach a 6th grade TV Productions class. Once we have the “Reading, Riding, and Rocking” project in effect, I plan to have my class produce a short video segment for our Morning News show that highlights the bike and its features. The video will also feature interviews with students as they’re pedaling and reading, as well as with teachers and other staff members who are seeing positive outcomes of their students who are using the bike on a regular basis. Finally, classroom teachers who are doing Science or STEM lessons on types of energy can reserve time with the Recharge Bike Station and use it in their instruction. It’s important to me that this is not just viewed as something “fun to do.” Every lesson, activity, STEM project, or Makerspace activity I use in the Media Center has an educational purpose that will benefit all students. And this project is no different; it will provide a wide range of benefits—educational, health, and behavior—to our students.

How will technology be utilized?  (20 points)
Technology will be used in a few different capacities in this project. First, the bike itself has a built-in display known as the “What Watt” monitor. Embedded into a wooden desktop on the bike’s handlebars, the “What Watt” monitor gives students real-time statistics on the amount of clean energy they are producing. So while students are pedaling, they are able to charge up to 8 USB devices, and check the What Watt monitor to see how many watts of power they are generating. An Apple iPad will always be one of the devices being charged by the bike. Freedom Crossing Academy has a collection of over 500 eBooks accessible through our online portal, MackinVIA. So while students are pedaling, they will also be using their iPad to either read an eBook on MackinVIA or search our Media collection for that next great book to check out. Finally, as referenced above, I also plan to add a Virtual Reality component. Though recent studies have advised against the use of Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality headsets in younger students (as it may hinder brain development), most health experts agree that they are safe for adolescents who are 12 or older. That said, our middle school students (we currently go up to 6th grade, but will expand to 8th grade over the next two years) can spend additional LiveSchool points for the “VIP Ride,” complete with a Virtual Reality headset for an enhanced riding experience.

What evidence will you collect to show student gain?   (10 points)
As I mentioned above, the vision of Freedom Crossing Academy is to “break barriers.” I’ll know that we’re breaking barriers with this project when I see my circulation statistics rise. I’ll know we’re breaking barriers when I see students coming into the Media Center who wouldn’t otherwise. I expect to see improved scores in classroom assessments, as well as standardized/computerized tests such as iReady for primary students and FSA for older students. Finally, I will be able to collect anecdotal records from classroom teachers as to the benefits and positive outcomes they’re seeing as a result of this program.

How will participants share your project results with the community?  (15 points)
Luckily, we should have many avenues for sharing our results with the community! As a brand new school, we have many visitors from other schools both within and outside of our district. When they come to tour our campus, the Media Center is almost always a stop on the tour. In that way, teachers and administrators will be able to see the bike in action for themselves. In addition, we plan to host a STEAM Night toward the end of the year, in which students' projects will be on display, local business partners and vendors will have booths, and several hands-on STEAM activities will be available. This will be a perfect opportunity to share results with local families who attend. As mentioned above, my 6th grade TV Productions class will produce a video segment featuring interviews with riders and testimonials from teachers who witness the benefits of the program. With parent permission, this is a video that can be shared outside our school walls for a large audience to take note of.


Service/ Item Description Cost
Generator Pro Recharge Station Bike $3,150.00
Shipping $162.70
NOTE: Total Cost of Project exceeds maximum grant amount. I will seek additional funding elsewhere.
Total Cost of Project $3,312.70
If matching funds identified list source:
Donated Goods/Services:

I, Matt Ostrowsky, certify that the application is complete and final, AND I verify that I have received permission to apply for these funds from Allen Anderson,the Principal of Freedom Crossing Academy and any other individuals required by my school district.