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This month, Tri-County EMC surprised 27 local teachers with $30,000 in educational grants. Since 2008, Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative has provided nearly $160,000 in grants to local schools. Funded by unclaimed capital credits, the grants help teachers improve education in their classrooms through innovative projects that would otherwise not be funded. Georgia certified public or private school teachers in grades Pre-K through 12 in Baldwin, Jones, Putnam, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties qualify to apply.

Outside judges evaluated the 77 blind applications that were submitted for innovation, goals, objectives, student involvement and budget. A total of 27 grants were funded. Thanks to all teachers who applied in 2014-2015 and we look forward to seeing your applications in 2015-2016. The Bright Ideas Grant winners are listed below. To view photos of our winners, visit us on Facebook.

Baldwin County

LaTrina Howell, Blandy Hills Elementary School
iTeach with iPads to STEM-U-LATE Learning: $1,498.86
This project will use iPads to incorporate augmented reality, STEM education, problem-based learning and small group instruction. It will transform the classroom from a teacher-centered environment to one that allows students to be at the center of learning.

Katrina Veal, Blandy Hills Elementary School
Aha! Science is Real!: $1,054.00

This grant will allow students to participate in several science, technology, engineering and math labs by funding the purchase of science lab equipment for the classroom. The goal is to allow students to experiment with science using hands on tools, develop critical thinking skills and have a basic love for science.

Ginny Watson, Creekside Elementary School
25 Books Too Good To Miss: $1,318.24

This project will provide multiple copies of each book recommended on the “25 Books Too Good To Miss” list, encouraging all students to complete the reading list by the end of the school year.

Joe Metzker, Eagle Ridge Elementary School
Building Communication Skills with Tablet Technology: $1,303.64

This project will build student communication skills by giving them individual access to technology using tablets. The overall goal is that students will increase the complexity of their expressive communication and create a complete book using Clicker Apps Bundle, a sentence building suite that allows students to create stories.

Keith Pruett, Eagle Ridge Elementary School
On “Fire” for Math: $1,232.00

This project will incorporate technology in the classroom by allowing students to use Kindles to practice and master multiplication facts and review math standards for third grade by using a variety of math apps.

Pam Longino, Baldwin High School
Heavyweight Books to Lightweight Nooks for Reading: $1,500.00

High school students will use the Nooks to read the first 20 titles on the Georgia Peach Teen Book Award Nominee List, required for participation in the Helen Ruffin Reading Bowl. All books will be downloaded to the Nooks, allowing students to read at their own pace to become experts on the book before they test their knowledge of the books at the reading bowl.

Lee Blount, Baldwin Early Learning Center
Opening Avenues of Communication Through Literacy: $1,496.96

This project will allow students to develop key communication skills necessary for their success socially and in school by implementing the “Read It Once Again” curriculum. This program allows students to develop a vocabulary and avenues to use the vocabulary through repetitive reading and interactive activities in the classroom.

Mandy Hopkins, Midway Elementary School
All About That Bass!: $399.20

This grant will fund the purchase of a speaker system that will connect with the Promethean Board. This will allow the classroom to hear educational videos, songs, and more from their seats without the class having to gather around a computer speaker.

Pat Wolf, GNETS of Oconee
R2C Connections: $1,445.83

This project will allow students to create a school-wide video news program to deliver morning announcements. Students will execute the create of the news program, including video, interviews and public speaking, helping students gain confidence in their behavioral skills.

Clay McElheny, GMC Prep School
Implementing New STEM Technology in a Physics Classroom While Teaching Circuits: $1,020.00

This project will allow students to use Circuit Scribe technology to learn electric circuits and build electric houses in the classroom. Students will use conductive ink to create circuits on a sheet of paper using a coin battery, paper clip and an LED, eliminating the use of costly wires.

Putnam County

Mary Sue McMichael, Putnam County Middle School
Is Johnny Cash The Only One Who Can “Walk The Line”?: $1,500.00

In this project, students will use calculator-based rangers (CBR) and graphing calculators to create and analyze models of linear functions. The CBR will work as a motion detector in conjunction with the graphing calculator to create a linear model representing time and distance. Students will be provided graphs of linear functions and use the CBR and calculator to recreate each graph and then they’ll write an explanation of how they “walked it out”.

Jennifer Deason, Putnam County Middle School
Jr. Publisher and Print: $1,134.32

This project will allow students to create a school literary magazine while learning the fundamentals of quality writing. Students will write all content for the magazine and produce a printed and online version for the school to enjoy.

Jannis Wallace, Putnam County Primary School
Play…Learning With A Purpose: $1,500.00

This project will allow kindergarten students to “play” while they learn using manipulatives and games that provide the materials to remediate, reinforce and enhance their academic experiences. This will allow students to step away from the worksheets and be active as they learn.

Holly Hardie, Putnam County Primary School
Digital Teaching At Its Best!: $582.91

This grant will allow the purchase of Promethean Board tools that will enable teachers to bring teaching to life. Students will have an easier way to use the board with the ActivWand, a way to learn handwriting skills with the Handwriting Without Tears tool and a way to self-learn using wireless headphones.

Jones County

Danielle Adams, Wells Elementary
Taking Flight: Butterfly Life Cycle: $416.70

2nd grade students will investigate the life cycle of the painted lady butterfly by raising caterpillars and observing them as they grow from chrysalides and emerge as butterflies. Students will be able to care for their own caterpillars and record changes they observe each day through drawings, photographs and writing.

June Lassetter, Wells Elementary School
Imaginations Will Lego With Duplo: $432.59

This grant will allow the purchase of Lego Duplo sets for the classroom. Students will use these to work on skills necessary to learn number recognition and letter recognition. Students will also use the Legos to determine length and volume and learn to spell words.

Liz Allison, Wells Elementary School
Building a Brighter Future: $652.28

This project will allow students to make a real-world connection to math using Lego Duplo blocks. These blocks will help teach standards that involve concepts such as one-to-one correspondence, place value, fractions, multiplication, division and number sense.

Nancy Ward, Wells Elementary School
Engaging Learners in Literacy: $1,486.84

This project will create a literacy work station in the classroom. The work station will use phonics lessons and games to build phonological awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension skills.

Sally Tatro, Wells Elementary School
Big Books for Little Scholars: $852.50

This grant will allow the purchase of big books for the classroom. These big books will provide visual appeal, help increase phonemic awareness, fluency, accuracy, comprehension and vocabulary. The books will be used in classroom and small group reading time.

Danielle Wheeler, Wells Elementary School
Readers Become Leaders: $157.19

This project will build a classroom library based on the curriculum that will serve to educate students in all subject areas. The books will be used to model reading, teach social studies and science standards, and teach English and language arts standards. The students will also be able to check-out these books for continued learning in the home.

Carla Whatley, Dames Ferry Elementary School
Engagement, Motivation, Retention with SMART Board Technology: $1,500.00

This grant will allow the purchase of a Promethean (SMART) board for the classroom. The goal of the project is to increase knowledge of multiplication and division facts and increase reading fluency of students by having them participate in interactive lessons.

Cathy Logue, Dames Ferry Elementary School
Mathematicians on the Move: $1,400.73

This grant will allow students to get on the move by walking through the school building to capture real-life math ideas that connect to classroom lessons using a digital camera. The students will use the Osmo iPad game system to reinforce those lessons while adding movement in the classroom.

Gloria Caldwell, Dames Ferry Elementary School
Kindles for Kids: $1,399.84

This project will allow EIP students to use a Kindle Fire to build confidence in their own learning through educational apps, websites and online books. This will give students hands-on time with technology – an important component of learning in the digital age.

Julie Eavenson, Dames Ferry Elementary School
“Un”Limit My Access: $825.23

This project will allow students with Autism access to iPad applications helpful in allowing them success in education. The iPads will allow students and teachers to use digital communication boards, assist teachers with visual representations of concepts, give students access to educational games and teach social skills.

Chance Scott, Jones County High School
Daily Living and Life Skills in Special Education: $1,500.00

This grant will be used to fund the purchase of a washer and dryer for a classroom job site. Special Education students will learn basic skills including sorting, simple and complex directions, memorization, washing, drying, ironing and overall self-help. These skills will help ensure that students with disabilities will become successful contributing members of their school and community.

Graham Nash, Jones County High School
Cardboard Baler: $1,400.00

This project will help grow a recycling program that began as a classroom project 10 years ago by allowing students to bale cardboard on site, reducing the space needed for the recycling program. It will give students the ability to gain job skills necessary for future life and support the growth of the recycling program.

Natalie Doyle, Clifton Ridge Middle School
Rescuing Reluctant Readers: $990.14

This project will get reluctant readers to learn to read better and comprehend on their own by purchasing fiction and nonfiction books with subjects that will entice those students. Using the Accelerated Reader program, students will be able to read a book and take a test over it, allowing the teacher to monitor their comprehension of the book and the amount of reading they are doing.


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