By Shellie Peterson
Pagosa Springs Rotary
The Pagosa Springs Rotary Club Teacher Mini Grant Program is a long-standing annual program, and this year was no different. The mini grant program awards a limited number of grants with a maximum award of $400 for special classroom projects to individual teachers in kindergarten through 12th grade in Archuleta County.
The mini grant provides working capital to innovative teachers who want to develop new ideas to enrich the student classroom experience. The mini grants also provide funds to teachers for materials or projects that would not otherwise be available through the school district or for teachers who would otherwise have to use their own money to fund them.
Thirteen applications were received from six different schools and 10 teachers were selected including Jillian Cram, Kelly Vining, Heather Rose, Katrina Thomas, Malinda Burnett, Dale Scrivener, Linda Lutomski, Kelle Bruno, Rachael Christiansen and Karla Parker Choat.
We are so fortunate to have such innovative and creative teachers with the desire to inspire and expand the learning opportunities for our children.
Some of the interesting and fun projects we were able to fund included purchasing microscopes for science classes; reading intervention materials for phonics skills; 3-D wooden puzzles for art class incorporating science, technology, math and language; and yes, boomwhackers. Three teachers in the middle and Family School joined together to apply for this purchase to expand their collection of boomwhackers to teach different aspects of music theory to more than 200 students. Add to that, cameras for learning about digital photography and creating digital portfolios and an egg incubator to give the students the opportunity to learn about the life cycle of a chicken.
To make our available funds go to as many teachers as possible, we choose to partially fund some requests and provide some materials through gathering donations. For instance, a friend of Rotary constructed an adjustable stand for a grow light for a teacher who wanted to create a tabletop
garden. Hand-sewing kits for use in teaching life skills are being made through donations by Rotarians along with some seed money to keep them replenished. Some reading books and materials were requested that we were able to refer to Three Rivers Educational Foundation to provide to the teachers at no cost.
The Rotary Club of Pagosa Springs is proud to support our wonderful teachers who have worked so hard, especially this year, to excite and educate our children.