The Bartow Education Foundation made 257 dreams come true this year through its unrivaled Teacher Grant Program. Bartow County students will now be able to learn from cow eye dissection and owl pellet kits, graphing calculators, and a library of S.T.E.A.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) books, just to name a few.
Approximately 330 grants were submitted in October and vetted by various grant readers approved through the foundation. At the end of the application process, 257 grants were awarded, totaling nearly $121,000 – the most ever disbursed in program history.
“Many of our teachers realize the value of this program and enroll in our payroll deduction plan,” says Bartow Education Foundation Executive Director Dot Frasier. “These forward-thinking educators help fund about half of these grants and we are forever grateful for the love they show our children in Bartow County.”
Mission Road Elementary School Gifted Teacher Sha Ristroph plans to use her grant money to purchase 28 S.T.E.A.M. books for her classroom library.
“These books will inspire future innovators, excite my students about S.T.E.A.M. topics, and inform learners about the way the world works,” says Ristroph. “The books I purchase will be on the topics of inventors, gravity, motion, animals, building, women in engineering, and more.”
According to the U.S. Department of Education, the United States faces a shortage of skilled workers in the science, engineering, and technology sectors. Through this library, Ristroph and MRES will work to build a strong background in these areas to meet the needs of the changing workforce.
The Education Foundation approved Woodland Middle School Science Teacher MeiganHollingsworth’s $500 grant, and now her seventh-grade students have their sights on cow eye dissections and Barn Owl pellet studies.
“Hands-on learning is essential for students to be successful in understanding difficult science concepts,” adds Hollingsworth. “In order for students to experience hands-on learning, I feel that they need to complete labs where they are investigating with their hands instead of watching a video or demonstration.”
After these projects, WMS students will gain opportunities to exhibit their knowledge by completing lab reports and scientific writing assignments while using their inferencing skills.
At Adairsville High School, school leaders remain focused on building a foundational understanding of Algebraic concepts and increasing math End of Course (EOC) test scores across all grade levels. As a result, several AHS teachers wrote grants this year in order to purchase graphing calculators for all Algebra I students.
“Many schools require their students to buy their own calculators, while others have class sets for the students to use,” says AHS Math Teacher Amanda Jones. “Unfortunately, our students do not have either luxury. The majority of our students cannot afford to buy a calculator, so it is up to us, the educators, to provide them with these tools.”
Through the use of graphing calculators, students will be able to develop their procedural and conceptual understanding, as well as their problem-solving and reasoning skills. This is imperative as students progress through more advanced math courses.
The Teacher Grant Program, now in its 24th year, is the largest project funded by the Education Foundation. Other programs focus on Bartow County School System retirees, teachers of the year, and bus drivers.