County classrooms get thousands in grants
By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on November 19, 2010 1:46 PM
News-Argus/MICHAEL K. DAKOTA
Amy Clark, right, a teacher at Tommy's Road, goes over a writing assignment with third-grader Jekiah Allen that will be completed on a laptop computer provided for the classroom as part of U.S. Cellular's "Calling All Teachers" campaign.
Veteran educator Tracy Salter is always looking for creative ways to teach her first-grade students.
In the 21st century, that means one thing -- technology.
"With first grade, I have to teach the skills on the computer and in the computer lab but I have to find ways to incorporate computers into my lessons," she said.
Sometimes, though, you just have to use the resources you have, she said.
At Tommy's Road Elementary School, there are only a couple of mobile carts with computers on them. So when Mrs. Salter needed an LCD projector to connect the Internet and project information onto a screen, she'd simply borrow one from another teacher.
That is, until she learned about "Calling All Teachers" campaign. For the second year, U.S. Cellular partnered with philanthropic website DonorsChoose.org to fund $1 million in creative classroom projects.
Mrs. Salter submitted a grant proposal, hopeful about getting an LCD projector of her own.
Earlier this week, she became one of 23 teachers in the district who learned their projects had been funded.
Across the state, $68,000 was distributed through the grant campaign. In Wayne County, $12,300 was divided among 23 teachers in 10 schools.
Setting up the projector for a demonstration, Mrs. Salter explained what a difference it will make in her teaching.
"This will enable us to be able to use it for our math and reading and especially for science and social studies because we don't have a Smart Board so I'm able to hook it up. Nowadays you have to incorporate technology to keep their attention, first of all," she said. "The children will sit on the carpet and face the screen. I'll be able to come up here (to the board) and ask questions. ... It will really spark their interest in my lessons."
Teacher Amy Clark, also at Tommy's Road, was another beneficiary of the grant, receiving a new laptop computer for the third- and fourth-grade students she works with who have fine motor skill challenges. The computer will help them complete writing assignments.
"We have used it every day since we have gotten it," she said. "They love it, they love to write stories. It's really helping them to get their thoughts on paper and onto the computer."
Officials from U.S. Cellular said their giving strategy is in response to the economy and lack of funding in education, which has resulted in limited resources and schools having to eliminate critical programs. Calling All Teachers is one initiative the phone company developed to support schools with the financial challenges.
"Teachers play a big role in the future of our children," said Kimberly Sebastian, director of sales for U.S. Cellular in eastern North Carolina. "We are glad to support them because we know they work hard to make every child's learning experience meaningful and fun."
Other schools and projects awarded in Wayne County include:
* Tammy Wallace's fifth-grade students at Fremont STARS Elementary School received a subscription to Weekly Reader magazine
* James Grant of Fremont STARS, three digital cameras to document the school's stage productions and create presentations
* Seventh-grade science classes taught by Beth Price at Norwayne Middle School now have 31 new books at multiple reading levels
* Greenwood Middle School eighth-grade classes, a document camera that gives Lori Batten the ability to show examples found in a variety of books or other instructional materials
* Rosewood Middle School students in Darlene DeBruine's class received a new document camera, allowing them to post pictures of their projects on classroom websites
* Sara Arnette's eighth-grade classes at Rosewood Middle received 30 copies of "Schooled" by Gordon Korman to use during class free reading time
* First-grade students of Spring Creek Elementary School can now practice literacy skills and have virtual field trips to other classrooms with their new notebook computer
* Samantha Schuler's first-grade class at Tommy's Road received hands-on materials to unlock the mysteries of math
* An additional LCD projector at Tommy's Road will allow Courtney Howell's fourth-grade class to learn about the Internet and take virtual field trips around the world
* Jean Gardner's third-graders at Tommy's Road now have new materials to help learn math skills as well as review time, money and fractions
* Kymberly Chamblee's second-grade class has an updated listening center with new books and supplies at Carver Elementary School
* Carver Elementary kindergarten students in Candace Outlaw's class received new chair pockets for storing classroom supplies
* Robin Casey's social studies students at Carver will incorporate new books, arts and crafts and other resources into lessons on different cultures
* Carver students in Marcia Whitley's class received hands-on tools and activities that will allow them freedom of movement around the classroom while exercising their brains
* A video camera will allow business technology students at Mount Olive Middle School to record class presentations and create their own commercials while studying marketing with Cynthia Smith
* Students in Charles B. Aycock High School's exceptional children program received two new laptop computers in Myra Johnson's class and the new virtual classroom program
* Hope Paugh's fifth-graders at Northwest Elementary School received more than 35 new books to use during literature circle time
* Also at Northwest, Robin Wilson's first-grade class will use an LCD projector to make math more informative and interactive
* Valerie Holden's first-graders at Northwest will have a new mobile listening center equipped with wireless headphones
* A new document camera will bring more visual learning opportunities in writing reading and math class to second-grade students in Denise Kemp's class at Northwest
* Sherry Taylor's fifth-grade class at Northwest received 23 additional books and audio books to complete classroom sets, allowing each child to have his own copy to complete classroom and homework assignments.