“We finished the grants [Tuesday] and we awarded 175 total. That was 101 grants from elementary [levels] and 74 from middle and high school [levels],” Bartow County Education Foundation Executive Director Dot Fraiser said.
The grants, funded by donations, totaled more than $84,000. Each school in the county, as well as the central office, received a grant.
The Bartow Education Foundation was established in the early 2000s as a nonprofit organization designed to provide additional support for the Bartow County School System, its employees and students. However, the Teacher Grant program has existed since 1996.
Bartow teachers who are seeking additional classroom funding can apply for a grant up to $500 through the foundation. A three-person panel consisting of former educators from the elementary, middle and high school levels will evaluate the request and, if approved, the teacher will receive the funding to be used toward classroom improvement based upon her request.
Through its donors, the foundation’s Teacher Grant program has been able to provide more than $1 million in grants to teachers across Bartow County.
“We get more reading and language grants, but this year we had a high amount of math and science grants and they were really creative and really out-of-the-box,” Fraiser said.
Fraiser said while it is financially impossible to fund all grants submitted, she appreciates the ongoing interest in the program from all teachers.
“I know great things are happening in their classrooms,” Fraiser said. Foundation President Wayne Moore said an interesting aspect of the grant program is it allows grants to be used throughout an individual school.
“Every subject was covered and the good thing about the grants is they can be used over and over,” Moore said. “After one teacher gets through using [the grant], they can let another teacher borrow it, so year after year these grants are being used.”
South Central Middle School math instructor Laura Guthrie uses iPods as an incentive for students to complete supplemental math lessons through a grant she received through the foundation titled “iPass, iLearn.”
“It starts with placement tests [on computer] and shows them where they have gaps in their math and then they begin their lesson [on computer],” Guthrie said. “The main thing is it goes all the way from kindergarten to the eighth grade and it finds any areas where they have gaps. Some of them can do their eighth grade work, but they might have missed something along the way.”
Guthrie said once students complete these lessons, they’re able to access more lessons on the iPods. She said the beginning lessons provide instruction and the reward system by using the iPods makes it so students want to complete the lessons.
“I have math apps on [the iPods] so they’re still learning, but they’re having fun while doing it,” Guthrie said. “The Teacher Grant program has made it so kids are having fun doing math.”