The first grants by the newly-formed Elkin Academic Enrichment Foundation were presented to teachers at Elkin Elementary and Elkin High schools Monday afternoon during faculty meetings.
The Elkin Academic Enrichment Foundation, Inc. has chosen five Elkin City Schools applicants to receive funds to encourage and enhance curriculum and instruction opportunities in his or her class. Each grant recipient will receive $100 in this first round of grants given to Elkin City Schools’ teachers by the EAEF, Inc.
Grants awarded went to Chase Swisher at Elkin High School, and Angela Oliver and Sherri Couch, Jill Bellia, Vicki Blevins and Shawna Poindexter at the elementary school.
Foundation President Dr. Lyndsey Ballard stated, “The foundation is very excited to award these first five teacher grants to enrich student learning at Elkin City Schools. EAEF is also extremely grateful for all of the donations received to make this possible.”
Presenting the awards at the respective school staff March meetings included EAEF Executive Board members Frank Beals and Myra Cook.
Cook explained the applications have very strict, specific criteria which had to be met. “We had a large group of applicants,” she said.
“This is the first go-round, and our numbers will get bigger as we go,” said Beals.
He explained to the teachers the foundation grants are another resource where they can find funding they might not otherwise get for their classrooms.
“We are starting off with $100, and hopefully as we get the public involved, we will be able to increase that,” Beals said. “The money goes into an account and back into the needs you have.
“It is a great opportunity, and please think out of the box,” he said.
Meeting first with teachers at the elementary school, fellow colleagues applauded and cheered as the winning grants were announced.
Angela Oliver and Sherri Couch, fourth-grade science teachers, will use their grant funding to teach students about electricity. The money will help pay for materials so students can construct a lemon-powered battery.
“This fun project will allow the students to see that acid causes a chemical reaction when metals are inserted into the lemon,” explained Beals as he presented the grant to the teachers. “This chemical reaction results in giving off electrical currents. The hands-on project will help students explain how electrically charged objects can cause change and motion. Also, it gives students a deeper understanding of chemical reactions, how batteries work and experience how energy produces change.”
The second grant presented was awarded to Jill Bellia, art teacher at the elementary school, who will use her funding to help purchase supplies for a schoolwide art project.
Cook explained as she presented the grant, “Students from prek to sixth grade will be making a mural that uses recycled plastic bottle caps to color in like a mosaic.
“This art project will include the use of recycled materials,” said Cook. “Students will be involved in all aspects of the project, from sorting lids, planning, painting and building to installation. The project will help teach students about a specific style of art and recycling. Students will also learn about working in groups on a large-scale project, school beautification and long-range planning.”
When it is finished, the mural will be installed on the outside wall of the school.
The third $100 grant went to Vicki Blevins, fourth-grade language and social studies teacher, who will use the money to purchase two Kindle Fire tablets for her classroom.
“These tablets will allow the class to use the MobyMax program which allows individualized instruction for each students based on his or her needs in math and reading,” said Beals. “Students currently enjoy using the program MobyMax and adding two Kindle Fire tablets will help students with their math and reading needs. Children in Mrs. Blevins’ class will be given assignments to complete using educational resources, videos and specialized instruction also on the tablets. Students use technology daily during instruction for projects and daily activities.”
Media Coordinator Shawna Poindexter was the recipient of the fourth grant presented at the elementary school. Her $100 will be used to help purchase science, technology, engineering, arts and math books for the library.
“These books will be used for students prek through six to assist with STEAM learning and projects,” said Cook. “Providing students with current, interesting titles will encourage more reading in the subject areas. A focus of the curriculum is on reading nonfiction books. Nonfiction is no longer a boring genre with all the great titles available. Students are naturally curious and great nonfiction titles for them to choose from will expand their knowledge and increase their vocabulary.”
At the high school, technology education teacher Chase Swisher was awarded the fifth $100 grant to be used to help purchase materials for an upcoming class project on hovercraft.
“The hovercraft project engages students in design, while focusing on combining three lessons in construction, manufacturing and transportation which provides opportunity for 21st Century skills,” said Beals as he and Cook presented the award. “The $100 grant will go toward supplies for the project. It will help buy items such as plywood, tarps, duct tape, screws and bolts. This will help meet students’ needs by giving them a fun hands-on project that allows them to use materials to construct a working model hovercraft. The hands-on experience includes working with tools, knowing safety requirements, problem-solving processes and persistence. These skills will benefit each student for the rest of his or her life.”
Following the presentation, Beals encouraged the teachers to continue applying for the grants as more will be available in the future.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.