Teachers surprised with mini-grants

By Tess Malijenovsky
Twelve Beaufort County public school teachers won mini-grants for innovative school projects from the Foundation for Educational Excellence, a fund of the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry. The Foundation members made a trip to each school to surprise the teachers in person last Wednesday, Oct. 19.
Out of 35 applicants, only 12 teachers received grants totaling $5,000 and ranging from $281 to $500. “It’s so wonderful to see the excitement on teachers’ faces when we tell them that they’ve won,” said Louise Lewis, the Grant Committee Chairman. “But the real winners, of course, are the students who benefit from these innovative classroom projects.”
Due to widespread budget cutting in recent years, many teachers that wish to share specialized projects with their students must either abandon their creative ideas or pay out of pocket. “It’s very gratifying for the foundation to be able to help teachers improve academic achievement,” said Jan Davis-Vater, Chair of the Foundation.
To highlight just a few of the awards: Eve Heaton, Jamey Porter and Marsha Browder of Beaufort Elementary School received $495 for two composting tumblers, which students will use to record the decomposition of plants. The compost will also be used in planting beds at school, allowing students to observe how trash can be changed into something useful. Beaufort High teacher Bradley Smith received $315.85 to purchase a set of “Taber’s” medical dictionaries for the Health Science Technology classroom. And, Mossy Oaks Elementary teacher Renata Booth received $343.62 for picnic tables and aluminum wall-mounted hose reel so that students will be able to read, write and learn in an outdoor setting.
Davis-Vater said the foundation solicits individual and business donors, and also holds a major gala each spring that features silent and live auctions of items donated by individuals and businesses.  Individuals, organizations or businesses interested in making donations for teacher mini-grants can do so via the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry’s website (www.cf-lowcountry.org).  On the website’s main page, click “Give,” then choose “Donate Online” from the drop-down menu.  Look for “Choose your fund,” and from that drop-down menu, choose “Beaufort County School District Foundation for Educational Excellence.”

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