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44 UCPS teachers surprised with Education Foundation mini grants

Jodi McConkey a teacher at Sardis Elementary was awarded a $400.99 grant from the Union County Education Foundation in the “Teacher and Classroom Mini-Grants.” Also pictured, back row, from left, are Ed Foundation board members Sabrina Hodges and Sylvia Newsome, McConkey, Education Foundation’s Executive Committee vice chair Gary Sides and Sardis principal Theresa Benson. (Below are a few of the 44 teachers who received grants.)

The Union County Education Foundation brought lots of smiles to 44 Union County Public Schools teachers after awarding “Teacher and Classroom Mini-Grants” worth more than $20,000.

The Foundation’s “Prize Patrol” visited schools across the county on Oct. 28 and surprised these teachers in their classrooms with a check in amounts ranging from $191.83 to $500.

Projects ranged from making a musical instrument called the Boominator, to purchasing an IPAD for a special needs classroom. Other grant titles included Using Playaways to Support English Language Learners at Home, Wii Kinect with Learning, Mobile Reptile Zoo, The Civil War: Causes, Major Events and Consequences, Substance Abuse Prevention Resource Library, How Dirty is our Air?, Clay Horsehair Vessels, and Digital Microscope.

Jodi McConkey, an 11th year veteran teacher at Sardis Elementary, received $400.99 for the Boominator, a musical instrument for her class.

“These grants are important because the schools need so much,” McConkey said. “We wish that we could win the lottery and win millions of dollars, but it hasn’t happened yet. So every dollar that can come into the school will go somewhere that is helpful, whether it’s for music supplies or books or other essentials that kids needs. It’s all about the kids.”

Gary Sides, vice chair of the Education Foundation’s Executive Committee, said applications are chosen based on need in the classroom and the impact the grant would have on students.

“We do our best to rank those as best we can,” Sides said. “We found there is a real need to supplement tax dollars for worthwhile projects in the classroom.”

April Rains, an Exceptional Children’s teacher at Sun Valley High School, won $500 that she will use to purchase an IPAD for her classroom.

“IPADs are a little pricey but they’re an amazing piece of technology that works for students, especially special needs and students who are non-verbal,” Rains said. “I have students who have little to no verbal skills and this will be tremendous for them. This is wonderful. Thank you.”

Amanda Bell teaches economics at Union County Early College. She plans to use the money to purchase the book “Common Sense Economics.” “This is so awesome. Thank you so much.”

Over the past three years, the foundation has awarded more than $60,000 for classroom projects.

Foundation board member Sylvia Newsome said this year the foundation had more applicants than ever before.

“Every year, the applicant pool is increasing,” Newsome said. “There were 118 applications that resulted in 44 grants, totally about $20,000. This supplements what taxpayer dollars can’t and it keeps teachers from using their own money for their classrooms.”

















































































Written by: Deb Coates Bledsoe, UCPS Communications Coordinator
Posted: Oct 29, 2014 by Deb Coates Bledsoe

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