The Plus Endowment program will grant nearly $60,500 to fund projects for city and county teachers in the 2021-22 school year.
That amount is split into two types of grants. Various grants of $500 amounting to a total of $38,852 will be given, including two special grants.
More substantial projects will be funded with larger grants totalling $21,555.
These include two mega grants and one blended mega grant. The first mega grant will be awarded to Henry School for a literacy project titled “Let’s Read! Inchy the Bookworm Vending Machine.”
A grant of $4,895 will be given to Henry teacher Valerie Godina to order and install a book vending machine that will award students for academic achievement.
“The purpose of this project is to provide our students and community with a unique opportunity to celebrate reading,” said Godina. “We intend to incentivize good behavior, improved grades, attendance and overall citizenship within our school by providing the student with a magic token that they can use to get a book from the book vending machine that is theirs to keep. It is our hope that we will be able to develop and reinforce a love of reading for our students.”
The other mega grant, $2,166, was given to Grove School staff to use for upgrading the school’s outdoor learning classroom.
The blended mega grant will provide $5,000 to Paris Elementary School teacher Donna Thompson and Henry School teacher Lisa Williams for a project that includes Paris Special School District and Henry County schools.
The project is titled, “Shoot for the Moon; and Land among the Stars,” and will benefit fifth-grade students in both school systems.
A traveling petting zoo will also come to Henry School thanks to a $1,000 Plus Endowment grant awarded to Lana Currence of the school.
“Hooker Farms and Happy Times Farm are going to bring farm animals and some exotic animals and they’ll talk to the kids in class about their jobs and help them learn about animal and plant life cycles,” said Currence.
The petting zoo will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 17.
Both of this year’s special grants were named in memory of two local teachers who died in 2021.
The Kim McDaniel Shining Bright Foundation Grant for $500 goes to Amanda Cook of Henry School for a “Transform Your Classroom” project.
The Roddy Adkisson Special Education Award Grant for $500 goes to Kimmi Stevens of Lakewood School for a “Center Time for Creative Learners” project.
Other Plus Endowment grants that will fund educational projects include:
• Dustin Smith, Paris Elementary School, $1,998 for a robotics project called “Get Ready! Get Vex! Go!”
• Shayna Miles, Rhea Elementary School, $1,916 for “Simply Sensory,” a project for students grades K-2.
• Melanie White and Kaylin Belisle, Inman Middle School, $1,979 for an IXL comprehensive learning program for individual students.
• Special area teachers, Lakewood School, $1,240 for school-wide creative innovation projects.
• Michael Newman and John Thomas Hinson, Harrelson School, $1,316 for “Learning by Doing (DRONES),” a project in the school’s STEAM and agriculture departments.