The Shelby County Schools Education Foundation recently surprised teachers throughout the district with almost $36,000 in teacher mini-grants. The Education Foundation also surprised two principals with IMPACT the Journey grants that will be used for school-wide initiatives.
The two IMPACT the Journey awards were given to Shelby Elementary and Chelsea Park Elementary schools. IMPACT is an acrostic that represents the words Innovation, Motivation, Partnerships And Collaborative Teaching.
“The Education Foundation has awarded Teacher Mini-Grants for years, and principals have always been eligible to apply for these grants,” explained Kendall Williams, Development & Community Relations Director for the Education Foundation. “However, many did not apply as they felt it might take away from funds available for teachers to apply for grants for specific, innovative ideas for their classrooms. Principals have so many ideas to bring engaging projects to their schools, but don’t always have the means or time to seek out grant opportunities.”
Williams said the Education Foundation Board of Directors decided to implement a new grant specifically for principals to apply for projects that will impact an entire grade-level, course level, or the entire school.
“The original intent was to award one grant for up to $5,000, but based on the applications, there were two that really stood out to the Grant Selection Committee,” said Williams. “It was discussed and debated, and the Foundation Board decided that based on merit, both projects were to be funded.”
Shelby Elementary will use their $5,000 IMPACT the Journey grant to implement Project INSPIRE to provide a variety of enrichment activities at no cost to students. According to the grant application, Project INSPIRE will help students use their Imagination, to Nurture cooperation, to be Successful, to Prepare for their future, to Initiate leadership skills, to Respect each other and to Explore the world around them.
Chelsea Park Elementary was awarded a $4,003 grant, which will be used to implement the Journey Begins with Reading program. This program will establish a reading lab using current brain research emphasizing a multi-sensory approach to teach reading to students with dyslexia and other reading problems. According to the grant application, the money will help train paraprofessionals to implement several Orton-Gillingham teaching strategies to remediate reading deficits for struggling readers.