“You have all given so much to make this night a success and this is a record night. Never before have we given this much money to this many people,” Dot Frasier, executive director for the foundation, said.
Wayne Moore, who serves as the president of the foundation, said the program is an example of the county’s commitment to education.
“Now understand this: how fortunate we all are. We have the foundation under Ms. Dot’s direction [and] it’s probably the top education foundation in the entire state,” Moore said.
The Teacher Grant program has existed since 1996, allowing Bartow teachers, faculty and staff who are seeking additional classroom funding to 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 the request.
Teachers often have used the grants to fund technology in the classrooms as well as provide supplementary materials such as learning games for younger students.
Frasier said if a grant is written for a greater amount, the person applying for the grant must provide for a co-sponsor. For example, Adairsville High School Media Specialist Lena Adams received a matching grant to expand capabilities in the school’s media center under the title “Good Morning America ... I mean, Adairsville.”
“We’re kind of making a switch in Bartow County to Mac and Apple computers and I wrote a grant for $500 for a 27-inch iMac computer and [principal Bruce Mulkey] agreed to match that $500,” Adams said. “We’re using it for iMovies, iPresentations, we do a lot of the PlayON! sports now where we’re streaming all of our sporting events — [students] just don’t do PowerPoint or anything boring anymore, they do high-level presentations and that was kind of the premise for [my grant] was to step up our presentations a little bit.”
Adams, who has served the BCSS for 19 years, regularly has received grants since the program’s inception.
“Every year I try to do something that has great impact and that’s what I tell our teachers when they’re writing a grant ...,” Adams said. “[Through the program], I was able to get a touch-screen monitor; the self-checkout program; I was able to get Nooks one year and my 20-book campaign and my book club was really able to take off because of that; [and] we have the Peach Club, which is the high school equivalent of the Georgia [Children’s] Book Awards.”
She said the use of the Nook e-readers have allowed for students to accelerate their interest in reading, allowing Adams to download new books as they become available.
“We can’t keep [the Nooks] charged fast enough for these kids,” Adams said. “... These [book] series are so popular now that [students] say ‘This book will be out on this date, can you pre-order it for me?’ ... so the day the book comes out, they have it in their hands.”
Adams said she and her fellow educators appreciate the community’s support in making donations, also citing the foundation’s payroll deduction campaign for BCSS employees. Frasier said the payroll deduction campaign raises about $5,000 a month.
“Look at the amount of money that’s coming into our schools from generous donations from teachers and people who support us in our county,” Adams said. “It’s just really refreshing to have someone believe in your local school system. It’s worth every penny to see new desktop computers coming in, classroom supplies that we just don’t have any extra [money] for anymore.”
Through its donors, the Teacher Grant program has been able to provide more than $1 million in grants to teachers across Bartow County entirely through donations.