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IN CLASS – Tuscola High School teacher Jim Davis conducts a lab for students in his chemistry class. Davis received two grants from the Haywood County Schools Foundation to purchase science materials and upgrade his online teaching platform.

Haywood County Schools Foundation gave 137 grants to teachers totaling $37,788.

Grants were sponsored by Duke Energy, Evergreen Packaging, First Citizens Banks, QuickDraw, the Arc of Haywood County, and the Haywood County Schools Foundation. The grants fund resources for teachers and staff to enrich the learning experience of students.

Teachers and staff from across the district applied for the grants before winter break, and winners were selected after committees representing each grant reviewed applications.

“We’ve charted the unknown this school year, but it’s so wonderful to know that we can count on our area partners to continue supporting us even in uncertainty,” Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood said. “These grants will allow teachers to create lessons and projects that get students excited about learning, whether it’s at home or in the classroom.”

Each grant sponsor has different requirements and focuses of study. The Duke Energy STEM and Evergreen Packaging grants focus on projects that promote math and science.

The First Citizens Bank grant provides funding to schools and teachers for reading initiatives.

The QuickDraw art grant provides funds for art teachers to purchase materials.

The Arc of Haywood County grant is for teachers who work with Exceptional Children (EC) in the county.

Professional growth and development are the focus of the Haywood County Schools Foundation grant and is available to teachers, faculty, and staff. Funding for the professional development grants was raised through Haywood County Schools Foundation fundraisers like the Mardi Gras Ball and bingo.

This year, grants will be used to purchase everything from art materials to create fabric wax batiks to supplies to test the water quality of local streams, ponds, and rivers.

Jim Davis, Tuscola High School science teacher, received both the Evergreen Packaging Math and Science grant and the Duke Energy STEM grant.

“One of the biggest issues during pandemic learning has been how to provide hands-on learning experiences for my students while maintaining social distancing,” Davis explained. “Even with half-sized classes, it has become almost impossible to complete simple chemistry labs due to the inability to share lab equipment.”

Davis is using his funding from the Duke Energy STEM grant to purchase 12 standard balances that students will use to complete small-scale chemistry laboratories at their desks.

During remote and blended learning teachers have had to find innovative ways to teach students. Davis has found the online platform Quizizz to be useful for pre-test review, exams, unit tests, and impromptu tests. Davis will use money from the Evergreen Packaging grant to upgrade his Quizizz account to provide students with a better virtual experience.

Like Davis, Bethel Elementary fifth grade teacher Mandy Allen has had to find innovative ways to get her students excited about learning during this school year filled with so much uncertainty and change.

Allen will use a reading grant from First Citizens Bank to fund her spring course of study, “Empowering the Future by Giving the Past to the Present.” The grant will be used to purchase books that will take students on a literary tour of history covered in fifth grade curriculum.

“Books are a great way for students to connect with a time period, while also empathizing with the struggles that affected the past and molded the present,” Allen said. “Grants are a way for me to meet the needs of my students with new and exciting content that I wouldn’t normally have access to.”

If you would like more information about funding classroom projects, contact Haywood County Schools Foundation Executive Director Jenny Wood at 828-456-2400.

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