Caldwell Education Foundation awards grants to five teachers

Mar. 12, 2014 @ 06:00 AM

Five Caldwell County School teachers were awarded Community Education Grants at the Education Foundation’s March meeting on Tuesday.

Carolyn Melton, co-vice president of grants and scholarships, said the total amount of grant money was $8,728.70. The funds are used to “support community and school projects” as defined by the teachers who write the grants, Melton said.

Jamie Lewis at Hibriten High was awarded $2,000 for a field trip to the 44th annual North Carolina Youth Legislative Assembly. Lewis and 12 of her speech and debate students will travel to Raleigh on Friday to participate in the three-day conference. The students will meet lawmakers, attend banquets, and work in groups to write about and discuss assigned topics, such as whether there should be armed security guards in schools, Lewis said.

“They have to research that topic, debate on it in the committee and get it field ready to pass through their Congress," Lewis said. "One of the other ones that they will have to look at is whether all children of divorced parents should have mental health examinations. These are all bills or ideas that are currently placed before the North Carolina legislature.”

Afterwards, the students’ bills are sent to the North Carolina governor and legislature.

Nikki Malatin from West Caldwell High School received $2,000 for a 3-D printer to use in engineering courses.

“We have top-of-the-line equipment, except for prototyping equipment,” Malatin said. “We can simulate all these student designs on the computer and, to me, that was wonderful, but the kids were always disappointed that they didn’t have a physical article to take home.”

Tracey Holton, Caldwell County’s behavioral specialist, received $1,888 for equipment in the Exceptional Children program. It will be available to teachers in any school.

“For example, some of the things I will be purchasing are ball chairs, which might help a child focus for longer periods of time. Hands-on science materials, so if we have a visually impaired student they can kind of feel, and have a lot more hands-on materials,” Holton said.

Lauren Oakes, elementary child and family support team member from Horizons Elementary School, received a $909.75 grant for her program “Blocking Noise to Build Success.” The grant will allow Oakes to purchase noise-canceling headphones to prevent the students from distracting each other. Oakes believes the headphones will help teachers instruct students with different learning styles – those who need complete silence versus those who need stimulus.

“So, whenever they are doing their seatwork, whenever the teachers need to be working individually with other students, the other ones, hopefully, can get into their own quiet space,” Oakes said.

The program will start in the second grade, and if teachers see successful results, Oakes hopes to implement the practice in upper-level classrooms as well.

Jacob Lail, an eighth-grade teacher at Gamewell Middle School, plans to start an after-school fitness program with his $1,930.95 grant fund. Lail will purchase kettle bells, jump ropes, pull-up bars and other equipment. He plans to sit down with each student to create personal health and fitness goals, such as their daily caloric intake and weight management.

“I hope that by helping them reach goals athletically and fitness-wise, it can also help them reach goals within the classroom, give them something to work for,” Lail said. “I hope this helps with attendance, give these kids something to come to school for other than book work.”