Bradley Cleveland Public Education Foundation hosted the “Gifts, Grants and Gratitude: A Celebration of Stars in Our Midst” luncheon Friday.
The celebration was meant to honor the many donors whose contributions have impacted the lives of students across both school systems.
“We are celebrating the generosity of the donors and the impact of their gifts today,” Vanessa Hammond, BCPEF board member, said. “We celebrate the creativity of all the grant recipients and their [dedication] to educating our community. Our stars include the educators, students and the successes we are seeing in the educational standards and the students’ scores.”
Hammond read a letter written by Public Education Foundation president Matt Bentley.
“None of this would be possible without the relentless support and hard work of each and every board member of the Public Education Foundation and the determination of our director and her staff,” Bentley wrote.
“I trust that you all will be touched and inspired from what you learn here today knowing that everyone in this room is making a difference in the future of our children and our community.”
The generosity and multitude of donors allowed the foundation to afford eight team grants at $31,000 and 21 individual grants at $20,000. Among numerous individual donors, the corporations and foundations that have given their resources to impact teaching and learning in the local public schools are:
- Bank of Cleveland
- Cormetech Environmental Technologies, Inc.
- Eaton Charitable Fund
- First Tennessee Foundation
- Brenda Lawson & Associates, LLC
- Logan-Thompson, P.C.
- Lonza Microbial Control
- Manufacturers Chemicals, Div. of Synalloy
- Merck Company Foundation
- Olin Corporation
- Smith Management
- Southern Heritage Bank
- Larry Hill Ford, Inc.
- Santek Waste Services, Inc.
- SunTrust Foundation
- United Community Bank
- UW Health Endowment Fund
- Fund for Teachers
- Tucker Foundation
Bradley County launched a system-wide program in every elementary school titled “Leaders for Life: A Voyage to Greatness.” The Tucker Foundation provided the necessary funds for the project through a major grant. There has been a dramatic increase in parent involvement in correlation with student leadership. This has been seen in the student-led conference attendance rise from 185 to over 1,000 parents
Supervisor of Elementary Education in the Bradley County Schools Sheena Newman explained every student has leadership roles.
“Our goal is to carry students today into being leaders tomorrow. We talk about touching the future all the time … the future is already here,” Newman said. “It’s sitting in your classrooms. It’s the mom rocking that baby to sleep at night. It’s the child hanging onto the coffee table learning to walk. It’s the second-grader learning to spell and it’s the fifth- grader who may become the next president of the United States.”
Newman continued, “If you want to touch the future, you touch the lives of children today.”
Park View Elementary has seen beneficial growth within their school’s classrooms. UNUM visited Park View to view culture and they had good reports on what they had witnessed.
“They saw collaboration/partnership, strong student engagement, evident passion that must come from leadership [and] clear expectations. They don’t let the socioeconomic challenge stop their efforts, passion and progress,” Deb Bailey said quoting UNUM.
Science teachers utilized the STEM Tools for Students at Cleveland High School. The materials enhanced their teaching performance and provided the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology.
“Our students are intelligent, hard working and innovative. The tools we have received as a result of the grants have allowed our students to be successful in the classroom, in the school and outside of it at the state and national level. This community supports students,” CHS science teacher Jeannie Cuervo said.
Fellow Cleveland High teachers highlighted the impact of the grants:
- Students Heidi Barringer and Anna Ferenchuk have been invited to Belmont University to present their independent research based on tools provided through the STEM Tools for Research grant.
- Isaiah Beaty, a student of Erin Hattabaugh, was invited to the University of Akron in Ohio to present his prosthetic engineering project. He won three awards. The project presented in Ohio was created as a class project through funds provided by the foundation’s donors.
- Rachel Powell explained the Students for Success grant provided every student with a graphing calculator within her classroom. The calculators aid students in completing necessary work for credit recovery.
- Quay Morgan utilizes Active Expression gadgets to engage the students. They can send real-time feedback to Morgan through messages and answers to questions.
- Holly Parker purchased tools her students needed for Physical Science through her Science Palooza grant request.
“It really allows them (students) to have that discovery learning you hope for, but you don’t necessarily always get,” said Autumn O’Bryan, principal of Cleveland High School.
“We are very proud to be a community school and the most important thing is we hope we are a community school that has high expectations that can produce citizens who you are proud can serve this community as adults.”
North Lee Elementary Principal Nat Akiona said the educators he works with see and respond to the need.
Added Akiona, “One hundred percent of my staff and faculty have contributed to the foundation this year.”
Grants awarded to North Lee teachers included:
- Sherri Riggs and Karra Withrow purchased four iPad Minis through the Collaborative Learning with Technology grant.
- Sharon Jackson and Jennifer Harrelson submitted individual grants, Technofab iPad and LauchPad respectively, to purchase iPad Minis. The tablets are shared between their classrooms to allow all 80 students to utilize the technology.
- Sharon Prohaska was awarded her Dance to Advance grant which allows her students to review their lessons in an active way with dance mats.
- Kim Fort with Clicking Our Way to Success assigns CPS clickers to her students to increase student engagement in math.