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Tri-County EMC recently awarded 27 teachers in Jones, Putnam, Baldwin, and Jasper Counties with education grants totaling $30,000. Outside judges blindly evaluated the 35 applications that were submitted for innovation, goals, objectives, student involvement, and budget. Some of the newly funded projects include goals of tracking the embryonic growth of chicks during incubation, acquiring equipment to help students establish their own podcasts, and even introducing the arts of sewing and quilting in the classroom.

With the help of Bright Ideas Education Grants, hundreds of students will benefit from innovative learning experiences brought forth by their teacher’s dedication to the education community.

Since 2008, Tri-County EMC has provided more than $300,000 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 12th Grade in Baldwin, Jones, Putnam, Jasper, Twiggs, and Wilkinson Counties qualify to apply. (84859001)

View the full list of winning projects below.



Dames Ferry Elementary School

Tammy Sibley | Lucky Ducks | $1,495.64

  • Students will have the opportunity to raise chickens, goats, and a rabbit while learning about animal life cycles and sustainability.

Gracie Cummings | Blooming Butterflies | $1,345.28

  • Students will plant and maintain a butterfly garden to observe first-hand the life cycle of butterflies.

Christin White | Dragons: On Air! | 536.99

  • With the equipment purchased from the grant, students will be given the creative opportunity to establish their own podcasts while becoming effective communicators and critical thinkers.

Gray Elementary School

Terri McNeill | Encouraging Young Readers! | 830.97

  • A cozy reading corner will be implemented in the classroom to encourage students to become excited about the aspect of reading.

Heather Jackson | Bringing Science to Life for Kindergarteners! | 882.82

  • Kindergarten students will have hands-on life science learning opportunities with insect and animal kits.

Jessica McDade | Beautiful Things Come Together One Stitch at a Time | 838.10

  • Sewing and quilting will be introduced in the form of an after-school club for students.

Turner Woods Elementary School

Linda Colwell | Every Moment Deserves to be Heard | $1,500

  • Each classroom will be equipped with audio-enhancement microphones so that hearing impaired students can better participate in discussion.

Laura Dixon | Exploring Worlds Through Virtual Reality | $1,500

  • Elementary students will be introduced to places beyond the classroom and explore the world through virtual reality.

Clifton Ridge Middle School

Jennifer Burns | Georgia Studies Fieldtrip | $1,360

  • Georgia Studies students will fieldtrip to Savannah and Warm Springs to experience in-person the history that they are learning about in the classroom.

Gray Station Middle School

Melissa Spoon | Hounds Haven | $1,497.58

  • A safe, calming environment will be created for special needs students who need to deescalate.

Jason Barbee | Academic Weapons of Success Part 2 | $1,350

  • With the help of a Progress Learning subscription, students will benefit from online resources and practice materials.

Jones County High School

Callie Lankford | Farm to Table | $1,492

  • Students will gain hands-on horticulture skills and produce their own fresh herbs and vegetables to serve in the school cafeteria.



Gatewood Schools

Allison Booth | Chromebooks for My Firsties | $783.24

  • Twelve Chromebooks will be available for English Language Learner students to enhance their reading skills.

Putnam County Primary School

Kara Page | Tailored Triumphs: Personalized Learning Paths in Reading and Math | $1,299.96

  • Specialized literacy and math centers will be offered to students where they can engage with materials and activities suited to their developmental stages.

Heather Bryan | Early Literacy Skill Wizards! | $1,495.06

  • With hand2mind Science of Reading toolkits, students will enhance their reading skills through multisensory experiences.

Julie Haley | Learning the Code…I Can Decode! | $1,221

  • This project will provide teachers with a set of decodable texts to support reading instruction.

Putnam County Middle School

Annie Bollen | Seeing Science from the Inside Out | $730

  • Microscopes with a digital camera and 3D stage will be purchased for the classroom so that students can study body systems and cells in a more accessible way.

Jan Mullis | Can You Hear Me Now? A Podcast Initiative | $559.89

  • Students will create their own podcasts while becoming effective communicators and critical thinkers.

Diane Specht | Bionic Dog | $1,497.40

  • Students will use an online programming editor to develop the coding skills necessary to control a metal Bionic Dog Robot.  

Putnam County High School

Rebekah Esau | Service Leadership and Social Media | $686.73

  • Equipment will be purchased to enhance student video-making for social media while creating school spirit and connecting with the community.



GMC Prep School

Maggie Williamson | A World of Opportunity | $1,500

  • Students will have the opportunity to learn how to code within classroom experiences and after-school robotics and coding clubs.

Lynsey Mosley | Read, Read, Read All About It | $1,079.65

  • This grant will be used to increase the number of books and decodable texts available to students so that they can work on their reading skills and comprehension.

Baldwin County Early Learning Center

Adriane Borne | Outdoor STEM Classroom | $1,500

  • Students will modify their outdoor STEM classroom to encourage wildlife, promote multi-sensory play, and create additional seating for working.

Lakeview Primary School

Mary Ashley McCue | Magic Tools for Small Group Reading | $750

  • This grant will be used to purchase materials to make small reading groups more effective and engaging.

Susan Phillips | Be Flexible | $310.05

  • To help keep students engaged, flexible instruction and seating will be implemented in the classroom.

Oak Hill Middle School

Sharon Reeves | Hatching Science with Classroom Chicks | $1,500

  • Egg hatching will provide students the opportunity to study the stages of embryonic growth during incubation.



Jasper County High School

Nancy Smith | World History Grant for Diverse Perspectives and Understanding of Global Learning| $457.64

  • Students will engage in learning about the world through a simulated session of the United Nations (Model UN).


For more information about Bright Ideas grants, click here. For pictures and videos of awards, visit the Tri-County EMC Facebook Page.


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