Foundation surprises teachers with grants

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Jan Davis-Vater, of the Foundation for Educational Excellence, John Mosca, of the Foundation for Educational Excellence and Okatie Rotary, and Bell Beltz, of the Okatie Rotary, surprise River Ridge Academy teachers Jennifer Bell and Chandra Payne and their students with a grant for a study of bones and vertebrae. River Ridge Academy Assistant Principal Matt Hall helped gather the group for the grant presentation.
Jan Davis-Vater, of the Foundation for Educational Excellence, John Mosca, of the Foundation for Educational Excellence and Okatie Rotary, and Bell Beltz, of the Okatie Rotary, surprise River Ridge Academy teachers Jennifer Bell and Chandra Payne and their students with a grant for a study of bones and vertebrae. River Ridge Academy Assistant Principal Matt Hall helped gather the group for the grant presentation.

Supporters and members of the board for the Foundation for Educational Excellence visited 11 different Beaufort County schools to surprise 28 public school teachers with grant awards. These teachers were recipients of the foundation’s Fall Innovative teacher grants. It was a day of celebration as each teacher and classroom were visited with balloons and an oversized check.

The 16 grants awarded ranged from $150 to $1,493 and totaled more than $13,300.

It is projected that these efforts will provide over 4,400 innovative learning opportunities for students districtwide.

Funded projects ranged from an interactive sea turtle exhibit, reading, science and math grants and musical arts performances.

Chandra Payne and Jennifer Bell of River Ridge Academy in Bluffton submitted the top rated grant of this fall cycle, “What Can It Be?”

These teachers were awarded the Dr. Valerie Truesdale Innovative Teacher Grant Award, in honor of Truesdale, the Beaufort County School District superintendent who was instrumental in starting the Foundation for Educational Excellence in 2007.

The monies allotted will allow students to demonstrate an understanding of how scientists classify organisms and how the structures, processes, behaviors and adaptations of animals allow them to survive.

The Foundation for Educational Excellence Fund raises funds to support classroom innovation. Established in 2007, the foundation awarded its first grants in 2009.

Grants of up to $750 are awarded to individual teachers and up to $1,500 for team requests twice each year, and thousands of students have benefited since 2009.

This grant cycle was partially funded by grants from The Bargain Box of Hilton Head Island and the Friends of Callawassie, as well as contributions from the Rotary Club of Okatie, individuals and the foundation’s major fundraiser, Jewels and Jeans.

The event is held each spring and offers an opportunity for attendees to “Fund a Grant” by pledging money towards partial funding of the foundation’s grants.