Representatives from Arnold Memorial Elementary School and Park View Elementary School presented on the impact grants, made possible by the foundations
“I think in the last six or seven years we have received over $15,000 … in grants that have been awarded by the foundation,” Kellye Bender, principal of Arnold, said. “We are so very appreciative of that.”
Most recently, Arnold received grants for a music program implemented by teacher Siema Swartzel. The grant made it possible for Swartzel and her students to make dulcimers and a trash can band.
Bender and Swartzel said many of the students do not have the opportunity to experience fine art or music outside of school. She said it has provided students who struggle academically something they can succeed in. For those who do well academically, it has challenged them to reach their highest potential.
“The education foundation made a level playing field for all our students,” Bender said. “I can’t thank you enough.”
Swartzel said part of her passion for teaching music is to “give them (students) a reason to stay in school, give them a reason to be successful, give them a reason to be proud of themselves.”
As a result of the grants, fifth-graders at the school were able to learn to play the dulcimer and study percussion and musical notes.
It was a grant from Eaton Corporation facilitated through the foundation that made the STEM (science, technology, engineer and math) lab at Park View Elementary a reality. The $15,000 grant provided microscopes, materials for science experiments and other hands-on projects. “You’re making it better for our children, and we appreciate that so much,” Principal Deb Bailey said of the foundation donors.
Bailey said the foundation works to match the goals of schools and corporate donors.
“That’s what they did for us with the Eaton Corporation. We are a STEM school, and we are very, very passionate about helping our children to be involved and have a passion for science, technology, engineering and math. And, it fit beautifully with the ideas and ideals of the Eaton Corporation,” Bailey said.
Buffy Frazier, reading support specialist, covers inventory of the STEM lab items. Instructional coach Heather Byrd works with the STEM curriculum. Frazier said funding had not been available for these materials when the school opened. Byrd said the lab has allowed teachers to work on combing the elements of STEM rather than focusing on them separately.
“The children have really been able to be hands-on to dig in and explore. Some of our-first graders got to dig into owl pellets, and learn a little bit more about what they eat,” Byrd said.
Teachers and Principal Steve Montgomery shared how the foundations mini-grant program had impacted the school. Document cameras and pointing “wands” have made everyday lessons easier to teach. Teachers commented that the wands help students point to answers on the board that they would have difficulty reaching otherwise.
The education foundation also encourages teachers to pursue national board certification by providing support and financial assistance for teachers to complete “Take One.”
“Take One” is the first step to the national certification.
“They are individuals who raise the standard for everyone around them. Teachers, administrators and colleagues are inspired by their efforts to pursue excellence in the field of education,” Blythe-Bower Elementary School Principal Kelly Kiser said.