Our Stories

Teacher Grant Flashback: A Butterfly Paradise at Jefferson Elementary School

The true impact will come to fruition in the coming years. Now that the cycle has begun, teachers can have their classes observe the life cycle of the Monarch and the other insects that have made the Waystation their home. Kathryn Marquez | Teacher, Jefferson Elementary School

by Brianna Chu

Find out more about PEF Teacher Grants and apply.
As the 2021-2022 school year begins back on campus, our wonderful PUSD teachers are heading back into the classroom to innovate, create, and inspire. To celebrate our visionary teachers, here is a flashback to a fantastic Teacher Grant from the 2018-2019 school year:

When Jefferson’s first and second grade teacher Kathryn Marquez had bought a milkweed plant from her local nursery a few years ago, she had noticed with delight a monarch butterfly larva nestled upon its leaves. A native of San Fernando Valley, Ms. Marquez had noticed a dwindling in the butterflies’ numbers over the years, and she began to think about ways in which to help the monarch butterfly populations. With some thought and cooperation from her co-second grade teacher, Ms. Carmen Nuñez, Ms. Marquez came up with the concept for a small ecosystem in Jefferson Elementary School’s courtyard that could become a living laboratory for all the elementary classes.

Through the combined efforts of the teachers and some parent volunteers, planters were erected, flowers planted, and monarch larvae settled on the milkweed to begin their life cycles. Ms. Marquez notes that each grade can study different aspects of the monarchs in ways that will enhance their science curriculum, from diet to habitat to the physical features and myriad of behaviors that aid the butterflies’ survival.

The Monarch Waystation not only provides each class the opportunity to observe the life cycle of monarch butterflies, but also allows students to explore a multitude of biological concepts, develop an understanding of biodiversity, and understand the benefits of protecting the habitats of endangered species. Ms. Marquez expects that once their butterflies grow and mature, Jefferson’s Monarch Waystation will become a stop for more monarch butterflies in their southward migration for years to come!

The Pasadena Educational Foundation’s Teacher Grants help inspirational teachers throughout Pasadena Unified take their creative projects from idea to reality by providing resources to enhance the classroom experience for their students. The grants, provided directly to the teachers, benefit thousands of students in Altadena, Pasadena, and Sierra Madre. 

For our 2018-19 grants we were proud to provide more than $200,000 for 125 grants to 190 educators including 14 school-wide grants. PEF Teacher Grants are made possible with generous support from the College Football Playoff Foundation, Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, FEDCO Charitable Foundation, California Community Foundation, and individual community donors. Find out more here: http://pased.org/teachers.