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Cabarrus Magazine

Cabarrus County Education Foundation Awards 75 Teachers Classroom Grants

Dec 24, 2018 11:42AM ● By Melanie Heisinger

2018-19 Classrsoom Grant Recipients.

The Cabarrus County Education Foundation (CCEF) has recently granted 75 teachers an early holiday gift -- grants for their classrooms. 

David Fitts Community Service Grant.

The teachers received their grants on November 1, 2018. The grants were awarded to teachers known for going above and beyond for their students, providing education in a fun and unique way. These teachers helped build skills that are sure to positively impact each and every student's future. 

Three special grants were awarded this year that are worth noting. 

One is the David Fitts Community Service grant, which was awarded to Jennifer Caligan of CC Griffin Middle to begin its Gryphon Garden. The second is the Career Exploration grant sponsored by Ellis Jewelers, awarded to Zachary Trivett’s class at Mt. Pleasant Middle School and their project designing and building a house model, including a working light and fan, using popsicle sticks and hot glue. The third special grant, sponsored by David Henderson, author of Tea with Rex, was awarded to Dayra Delgado and Jill Henderson’s dual immersion third grade classes at Carl A. Furr Elementary. Their class will write and illustrate a bilingual e-book using PowerPoint that will then be printed.

We wanted to know more about all of the grants that were awarded by the CCEF, so we reached out to Executive Director Amy Gough. She took some time to answer a few questions for us. Read on to learn more.

How exciting that so many grants were given this year! Are any of them new/special that we should know about?

This year, we awarded 51 grants across 21 schools in CCS for a total of over $24,400. These projects are estimated to impact more than 9,500 students.

We had three special grants this year:

  • David Fitts Community Service Grant recognizes an innovative teaching project that also builds in the concept of giving back to the community. This year’s grant was awarded to Jennifer Caligan at Patriots STEM Elementary for her project, Gryphon Garden. Inspired from this quote from an 8th grader, “I eat a can of fresh fruit several times a week” and a survey that indicated 68% of their 8th graders had major misconceptions about what qualified as a fresh fruit/vegetable, CC Griffin decided to begin a school/community garden to help educate their students and community about the importance of fresh foods and vegetables. Funds will support an outdoor building to grow fall/winter crops and store materials and supplies. Students will be responsible for maintaining and sustaining the garden through community service as well as expose the community to farm and table recipes and host community workdays and events with Mecklenburg Community Church and their PTO.
  • Ellis Jewelers Career Exploration Grant was new this year and was sponsored to support an ongoing workforce need for skilled/trade workers by our local businesses here in Cabarrus County. This grant’s purpose is to introduce students to pursue careers that do not require a college degree and allow them to be make a very good wage, with less expensive education options. This grant was awarded to Zachary Trivette at Mt. Pleasant Middle School for his project, Construction Career Cluster Exploration. Students will use their knowledge they gain from exploring and hearing about construction career jobs to design and build a frame model of a house (walls and ceilings) made from popsicle sticks and hot glue. Then students will wire their house for 1 light and 1 fan. If time permits, classes will build an actual stud wall for real world experience.
  • Tea with Rex Authoring Grant provide students with hands-on experience with the authoring process. This grant was awarded to Jill Henderson and Dayra Delgado for their project, Publishing Bilingual Authors. Students will use the writing process to author and illustrate a bilingual e-book using PowerPoint then printed and bound. Parents, families and the community will be invited to an open mic night in which students will read their published books aloud. 
Ellis Jewelers Career Exploration Grant.


Moving forward, what do these grants provide?

The classroom grant program is an incentive program for Cabarrus County School teachers to reward innovative teaching concepts while increasing student engagement. Grants awards range up to $500-$1,000. Teachers may use these funds to purchase equipment, supplies, special presentations, etc. to bring their lesson to life through hands-on activities or to expand resources to assist students. Often times, these grant resources can be used year after year, so the number of students impacted grows each year. 

Are there any standouts we should look out for?

Tea with Rex Authoring Grant.

There are so many incredible opportunities our CCS students will get to experience through these grants. Students will be building bridges and testing their strength, build floating islands to improve water quality in area lakes, install a drip line irrigation system, grow sustainable produce through an aquaponics garden, learn how our food transforms from a seed to a full tummy by growing foods and preparing them for consumption, perform a Hispanic fable or fairy tale for the school community, designing, developing and creating a 3-D product out of recycled materials that solves an everyday problem.

There are so many more exciting projects too! It makes me want to go back to school again.  

Anything else we should know?

CCEF is working on a new initiative that will be piloted this spring that builds on our classroom grant program. It is called Cabarrus LINK and will partner schools with community businesses and organizations to work on a specific project. Businesses and organizations will invest their time and expertise to assist in bringing the project to fruition. Projects will compete in a “Shark Tank” event where they will present their project and compete for funding.

Here in Cabarrus County, we have so many companies that would like to get involved with our schools, but are not sure how to so we see this as a new opportunity to bring schools and businesses together to benefit our students and support our businesses’ goals. Projects will obviously range but include ideas like starting a podcast at the school, creating a STEM hands-on day supporting a bio-agriculture curriculum or even holding a “United Nations” council day.

To learn more about these grants and the great work the CCEF does, you can visit their website.

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