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Tri-County EMC Awards $30,000 in Bright Ideas Grants to Teachers

Tri-County EMC recently surprised 25 teachers in Baldwin, Jasper, Jones and Putnam Counties with educational grants totaling $30,000. Since 2008, Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative has provided more $240,000 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.

This year, outside judges evaluated the 65 blind applications that were submitted for innovation, goals, objectives, student involvement and budget. Thanks to all teachers who applied in 2018-2019 and we look forward to seeing your applications in 2019-2020. The Bright Ideas Grant winners are listed below.



Gloria Caldwell, Dames Ferry Elementary
iPads With A Purpose, $1,357.77
This project will allow Early Intervention Program students to use iPads in the classroom as a fun and interactive way of learning. Students will be able to use the iPads to explore educational websites and learn basic skills including letters, sounds, numbers, counting and math.

Stacy Cannady, Jones County High School
Chromebooks for Conversation, 1316.94
American Sign Language students will use Chromebooks to partner with video “pen pals” all over the country to practice their sign language skills.

Heather Jackson, Gray Elementary School
Kindergarteners Learn To Code, $1,456.00
Kindergartners will learn coding skills and science lessons using robotic kits. The kits will enhance the students’ weekly STEAM lessons and will also be accessed during weekly centers.

Callie Lankford, Jones County High School
Buzzin’ for Pollinators: $1,454
Students will get a first-hand look at pollination by raising honeybees. Student will care for the hives, learn how to extract honey and provide pollinators for the school.

Lolita Moore, Gray Elementary School
Plant. Water. Grow. Bloom., $1,445.70
This project will help students read on or above grade level by the end of the year using leveled readers to help students become independent readers. This project will help reach students on their level and reach their full potential in reading.

Rusty Owens, Dames Ferry Elementary School
Ev3olution, $1,435.85
Ev3olution is a project designed to introduce students to robotics and coding through the use of Lego v3 Mindstorm education kits. Students across multiple grade levels will learn 21st Century skills by engaging in critical thinking, solving real-world problems, and developing technology related abilities.

Scarlett Scoville, Clifton Ridge Middle School
STEM – The Cougar Weather Service, $1,456
Students will use a weather station to collect real-time data of current conditions, use the very instruments used by meteorologists, observe and compare visual conditions with data collected from the station, and watch for weather trends over time.

Jessica Smith, Jones County High School
Paw Print Designs, $965
Students will learn how to use Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator to create logos and designs for their school-based enterprise, Paw Print Designs. Students will produce license plates, coffee mugs, banners, posters, travel mugs and t-shirts.

Vickie Thigpen, Clifton Ridge Middle School
Escape from the Mundane, $898.75
Students will use escape room games to make learning fun again. The games will incorporate STEAM lessons including research, timing, measurement, collaboration and planning.

Jennifer Thompson, Turner Woods Elementary School
For The Love Of Reading, $209.40
This grant project will purchase books to be used in interactive read aloud lessons. The books will teach vocabulary, social skills and reading skills while incorporating science and social studies standards.

Monica Tritto, Gray Elementary School
UKE Can Do It!, $1,244.95
Students will learn how to play ukuleles in this project. This will help to sharpen their critical listening skills, musicianship, sense of pitch and harmony, confidence, focus and the ability to work together.




Brittany Nichols, Lakeview Primary School
Lego Lessons, $1,439.55
This project will allow students to work with Simple Machine Lego Sets to engage them in problem solving. It will give a first-hand experience to the lessons students are learning in class.

Brittany Gardner, Lakeview Primary School
Sensational Sensory Room, $1,492
This project will create a sensory room to help students with disabilities practice self-regulation and self-awareness. Whenever a student feels overwhelmed, they will have the opportunity to use the sensory room to calm themselves and process what is bothering them to continue in their daily lessons.


Joycelyn Robinson, Midway Hills Primary School
Family Engagement: A Hands On Approach, $796.36
This project will provide students and caregivers tools to assist students with practice at home. Provided packets will serve as a guide for parents to know how to help their students learn at home.


Katrina Veal, Midway Hills Primary School
Making Space With Steam, $985
This project will create a makerspace in the classroom to allow students to engage in engineering, tinkering and inventing. Students will have hands on opportunities to design, build and invent as they engage in STEAM.

Aimee Lundy, GMC Prep School
Voice and Choice Through Wonder Workshop, $1,412.87
This project will introduce coding to students. Robotics will give students another outlet to create stories, learn geography, develop problem solving skills, create music and follow through with challenges.

Tammy Fietkau, John Milledge Academy
Robotics Me This!, $1,048.61
Students will learn to code by programming robots to move, draw and even play an instrument. This project will allow students to explore, be creative, and think critically while being engaged in active learning.




Patricia Hurt, Putnam County Elementary School
Write, Right, Write On!, $1,495.84
This project will introduce students to word processing to help develop future writers.
Students will use Chromebooks to engage in a variety of lessons in Word to develop their writing skills.

Holly Hardie, Putnam County Primary School
Good Morning Tubs, $988.71
This project will create Good Morning Tubs to take the place of traditional paper/pencil morning work. These tubs will create meaningful learning opportunities, encourage social interaction and collaboration and get students excited about their school day.

Ivy Carnes, Putnam County Primary School
Breaking Out To Learn, $1,242
In this project, students will work together as a team to break into the BreakOut EDU box. Students will use critical thinking and knowledge to go through the provided clues and break in the box. This will make reviewing fun as students use prior taught knowledge to work through the clues.

Kenneshia Smith, Putnam County Primary School
Enriching Every Day Learning Through QR Codes, $1,280.58
Students will use Amazon Fire Tablets with QR reader apps to scan printed QR codes during centers to access links to read aloud books and sight words for each station.

Skylar Holder, Putnam County Primary School
Bringing Education to Life, $965
This project will increase students’ abilities to engage in hands-on, minds-on reading and math activities using iPads. Having iPads in the classroom will allow students to have an endless supply of information in the palm of their hands.

Tricia Coxwell, Putnam County Primary School
Full STEAM Ahead, $699.92
This project will provide students with learning opportunities that will promote their creativity and problem solving skills. It will also encourage students to ask questions and collaborate with others while engaging in STEAM activities.





Laura Rolader, Jasper County Middle School
Weather Station, $1,416.84
This project will create a weather station to enhance science, social studies and math classes for all middle school students. The weather station will deliver real-time and relevant information to students as well as the community.

Shelley Tingler, Washington Park Elementary School
Flexing Our STEM Skills, $1,496.36
This grant will enable at risk, low Socioeconomic Status, English Language Learner, Advanced, and Gifted students to improve their problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity skills through utilization of STEM activities.



2018-2019 Bright Ideas Grant Winners


Click Here for more information on the Bright Ideas Grant Program.