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Tri-County EMC recently surprised 24 teachers in Baldwin, Jasper, Jones and Putnam Counties with educational grants totaling $30,000. Since 2008, Tri-County Electric Membership Cooperative has provided more than $270,000 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, Jasper, Twiggs and Wilkinson counties qualify to apply.

This year, outside judges evaluated the 109 blind applications that were submitted for innovation, goals, objectives, student involvement and budget. Thanks to all teachers who applied in 2019 and we look forward to seeing your applications in 2020.


2019 Bright Ideas Grants



Shelley Tingler, Jasper County Primary School
Manipulative Mania, $1,357.77

This project will expand student access to math manipulatives with the overall goal of helping students improve their ability to make sense of mathematical ideas, reason mathematically and communicate their mathematical thinking. These math manipulatives will make learning math skills so enjoyable, students will have no idea they are learning.



Tammy Sibley, Dames Ferry Elementary School
A Code For Success!, $1,481.35

With this project, students will practice math science skills in the classroom as they learn to code robots. This will introduce students to coding, allow them to practice collaboration and teamwork skills, and develop problem solving skills.

Lisa Davis, Jones County High School
Rover Math, $1,183.88

This project will be used to help students learn basic coding to program a robot to drive a path, make geometric shapes and move along the XY coordinate plane. The goal is to increase students graphing skills by making abstract math concepts more concrete.

Robert Groves, Jones County High School
Harmony Director, $1,500

The Yamaha Harmony Director is a comprehensive training tool that brings harmony training, rhythm training and sense of timing together in one convenient electronic keyboard. With this tool, students will increase their knowledge of tone, harmony, ensemble timing and how they contribute to the overall sound of the ensemble individually.

Ciara Evans, Jones County High School
Reading for Language Acquisition, $1,398

This project will provide students with comprehensible and compelling literature in Spanish. The funds will purchase classroom sets of novels in Spanish and teacher resource guides so that students will not only acquire the language, but also learn about the culture of Spanish speaking countries.

Laura Dixon, Turner Woods Elementary School
Making Matters, $1,500

With this project, students will work collaboratively to design interactive READ Posters to be displayed throughout the school. The posters will contain a variety of digital media and visual literacy components. In addition, a QR code will be used on each poster for students to scan and hear a story read aloud by the poster creators. 

Mary Lineberger, Wells Elementary
Soft Seating and Engaged Reading, $1,500

This project will provide soft seating options for students to use when they spend time in the media center. It will also provide additional reading resources for students in the form of eBooks.


Risa Allen, John Milledge Academy
Smart Starts, $1,039.48

Students will be able to start their day by playing and creating using tubs filled with various hands-on materials, including magnets, art supplies and building sets. The goal of this project is to help students practice socialization skills, enhance their creativity, and get them excited about their school day.

Tammy Fietkau, John Milledge Academy
STEM Integrated Classroom, $1,220.27

By creating a STEM Integrated Classroom, students will learn beyond textbooks and worksheets. Using materials provided by the grant, students will create roller coasters, experience an earthquake, use robotics, and create iMovies, just to name a few. The project will encourage critical thinking and lead to future success in middle school, high school and adulthood.

Amanda Goldberg, Lakeview Academy
LVA Robotics Club, $1,260

This project will create a robotics club using Edison robots. The goal is to help students become more independent learners and develop skills including problem solving, comprehension, communication, creativity and critical thinking.


Todd Snider, Putnam County Elementary School
Chromebooks for Hands-On Learning, $1,432

This project will bring Chromebooks to the classroom and allow students to enhance their hands-on learning in math class and help students with reading fluency and comprehension. Students will be able to share projects with their families and will be able to pick up after class what they were working on during the day on their personal devices at home.

Stephanie Austin, Putnam County Elementary School
Learning Comes to LIFE!, $1,498.83

This project will bring Merge Cubes to the classroom, which brings the sense of touch to the augmented reality experience. The goal is to enhance the way students learn, create and play, and make STEM learning fun by allowing them to experience the world in a new way.

Gary James, Putnam County High School
3D Innovation, $1,399.97

By bringing a 3D printer into the media center, this project will allow students to use gain a better grasp on hard to visualize concepts, become familiar with the 21st century technology and increase learning by creating a digital, hands-on approach.

Carla Dabbs, Putnam County Middle School
Soothing Sensory Room, $1,498.58

This project will create a sensory area in which students will be able to use a variety of products and equipment to help them overcome sensory issues. By providing students with sensory disorders an opportunity to calm and focus themselves, they will be better prepared for learning and interactions with others.

Kara Page, Putnam County Primary School
Morning Bins: Cooperative STEAM Activities, $460.76

Instead of traditional morning pencil and paperwork as students enter the classroom, with this project will allow students to use morning bins filled with STEAM activities with engaging challenges that foster cooperative learning.

Maggie Williamson, Putnam County Primary School
Chromebooks: An Educational Expedition, $1,498

By using Chromebooks, students will be able to connect to the world around them through research videos, photographs and read-aloud texts. Students will be able to create their own unique lessons based on their own interests through videos and different levels of text.

Diane Arnold, Putnam County Primary School
STEM-Connect, $1,491

Using iPads purchase from this grant, students will work in small groups to conduct online research as they engage in project-based learning to enhance inquiry, collaboration and solution-building skills.

Lauren Brown, Putnam County Primary School
I Do, We Do, You Do, $1,122.06

Students will work on Guided Math by showing what they know through games, activities and projects rather than through pencil and paper. The teacher will introduce the games with the whole group. The activity will then move to small groups and finally to independent centers.

Ivy Carnes, Putnam County Primary School
Hands-On Learning with Osmo, $1,495.98

With this project, students will have fun on the iPad without even knowing they are building their reading and math skills. Student love hands-on activities and technology. However, many times technology takes away from the actual manipulation of objects. Osmo uses the tangible items with the use of technology and keep students even more involved in learning.

Julie Haley, Putnam County Primary School
Math Masters!, $999.85

Students will receive powerful math mini-lessons followed up with targeted/differentiated small group teaching to ensure that every child’s needs are met. Students will participate in a daily group routine that includes a warm-up, mini-lesson, small group and group reflection to increase the daily teaching of math.

Kimberly McLaulin, Putnam County Primary School
Magic Morning STEM Bins,  $896.56

With STEM kits purchased from this grant, students will be able to walk into a room first thing each morning with a STEM kit at their table, rather than working on a worksheet after entering the classroom.  This project will allow students to start their day in a positive, meaningful and creative manner.

Heather Bryan, Putnam County Primary School
Building Our Way To The Future Using STEM,  $1,456.11

This project will challenge students to use higher-order thinking to answer questions posed using STEM materials. Students will use Legos and STEM kits for hands-on learning experiences.

Candace Schmidt, Putnam County Primary School
iCan Learn,  $1,449.73

The goal of this project is to help students become stronger in reading and math while exposing them to hands on materials and personalized libraries using iPads. By using programs including Osmo and RAZ Kids, students can listen to books, read the book and record themselves, and have a collection of books they can access at school or at home. 

Thereasha Daniels, Putnam County Primary School
Transforming More with Osmo, $326.41

This program will allow students to enhance their creativity, social interaction, and problem-solving by using the hands-on Osmo program on iPads. The goal is to have students succeed in math, reading and science by encouraging peer-to-peer interaction and cooperative learning.

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