Foundation surprises teachers with grants

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Twenty Beaufort County public school teachers were surprised today by news that they had won innovative teacher grants from the Foundation for Educational Excellence, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. Foundation members visited teachers’ classrooms to deliver the news in person.

The 20 grants announced ranged from $200 to $500 and totaled $8,000. Funded projects ranged from reading intervention software to sophisticated calculators.

“It’s wonderful to see teachers recognized this way,” said Grants Committee Chair Louise Lewis. “But students are the big winners because of the academic benefits they get from innovative classroom projects.”

The Foundation for Educational Excellence Fund was established in 2007 and the first grants awarded in 2009. The primary function of the foundation, chaired by Peggy May of Hilton Head Island, is to raise funds for teacher grants that spur innovation.

“It’s difficult for teachers to fund these sorts of classroom projects because of tight budgets,” May said.  “The foundation can play an important role in supporting teacher creativity by helping them to bring their instructional ideas to life.”

Winners in the foundation’s 2012 fall grant cycle:

Recipients of the inaugural Dr. Valerie Truesdale Innovative Teacher Grant:

• Julie Fletcher, Okatie Elementary, Grades K-2 ($488.62): Purchase 12 “six-packs” of Guided Reading books

• Kelly Pulaski, Coosa Elementary, Grade 2 ($382.44): Purchase Whisper Phones and Whisper Phone duets, a set of books that correlate with the Common Core Language Standards.

Recipients of Innovative Teacher Grants:

• Marianne Blake, Janet Rutland & Daffney Bing, St. Helena Elementary, Grade 4 ($491.59)

• Melanie Blanton, Robert Smalls Middle, Grades 5-8 ($478)

• Peggy Copley, Beaufort Elementary, Grade Pre-K Music ($489.02)

• John Cullinen, Battery Creek High, Grades 9-12 ($473.21)

• Deborah Duncan, Academy for Career Excellence, Grades 9-12 ($500)

• Lynda Jernigan & Renee Glover, Coosa Elementary, Grades K-5 ($454.41)

• Julie LaGrone, Beaufort Elementary, Grades 4-5 ($200)

• Cindy Landa and Nancy Norris, Coosa Elementary, Grades K-4 ($400)

• Kathryn Madden, Whale Branch Middle, Grades 5-8 ($500)

The foundation solicits individual and business donors and also holds a major fundraiser each spring that features silent and live auctions of items donated by individuals and businesses. The 2013 fundraiser is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Saturday, March 2, at the Country Club of Hilton Head. Tickets will go on sale in February on the Foundation’s website at www.foundationedexcellence.com.