2021 Creative Teaching Grants

The Chatham Education Foundation’s (CEF) mission is to engage our community as public school advocates and to raise funds and resources to support innovation and education excellence in the Chatham County Schools. In our continued efforts to accomplish our mission, we are pleased to announce that we awarded almost $10,000 in Creative Teaching Grants to the teachers and staff of the Chatham County Schools. 

The Chatham Education Foundation believes teacher success provides opportunities for sustainable, strong, and consistent classrooms. This, in turn, will help student engagement and success. Creative Teaching Grants are awarded to teachers or principals who seek to bring innovative ideas to their classroom, outside of their typical annual budget. These teachers are going above and beyond to bring innovative, enriching and engaging activities to their students. 

CEF awarded a wide variety of grants, including: increasing equitable literature within the libraries and classrooms, a media center makeover, a disc golf course, ukuleles for a music classroom, classroom iPods were purchased to help turn nature and the community into a research station, and creating a rain garden. A few of the projects are detailed below. 

In an effort to support Chatham County’s Equity & Excellence for Everyone initiative, Ms. Craig and Ms. Streets, along with the other teachers of Margaret B. Pollard Middle School, have professional development goals related to equity.  The Social Studies and ELA departments applied for a Creative Teaching Grant to expand their diverse literature. The departments will work together to engage all students in a cross-curricular learning opportunity that will put great books in the hands of students, foster curiosity, and provide an extra opportunity for all students to gain a broader perspective from voices that are often unheard. ”The learning activities incorporated in this project will intentionally promote empathy and compassion, critical thinking and problem solving, and skill/content building for high school and beyond.  These learning objectives are not easily achieved. This innovative approach to interdisciplinary engagement with high-interest texts will engage students at an exceptionally high level,” conveyed Ms. Craig and Ms. Streets. 

Ms. Vaughn of the Chatham School of Science and Engineering was awarded a CTG to create a rain garden. “This is an entire unit based on learning about rain gardens, cisterns, rain barrels, and critical area replants.  Within this unit, students will learn how to measure different types of water flow from storms, calculate the area of both impervious and pervious surfaces, and complete soil infiltration tests.  They will then work on designing a critical area replant for the chosen area by choosing plants, determining where to plant them based on soil infiltration tests.  Students will work with the art club to design a space for the whole school to use. The goal of this project is to bring real-world applications to the classroom and to build on this interest working outside with land and soil. This project will enable students to better understand the processes that occur while building a rain garden or completing a critical area replant and actually changing an area at our school for outdoor use,” stated Ms. Vaughn. 

Ms. Galloway, of Chatham Grove Elementary, was excited to be awarded a CTG to purchase ukuleles for her music classroom! “My goal is to implement a ukulele program at our elementary school which will positively impact all students.  Introducing ukuleles at an elementary age has proven to be highly effective in teaching young students a variety of musical concepts. Ukuleles can be used across all K-5 grade levels, and the instrument introduces a wide range of concepts to all learners.  The instrument offers the opportunity for students to compose and create music, in addition to developing both a student’s theoretical and aural skills in music by experiencing chords and tuning an instrument.  Students will also benefit from learning a new instrument from another culture,” Ms. Galloway said.

The Chatham Education Foundation is grateful for the support of our corporate, foundation, and individual donors. Without our donors, these innovative projects and resources would not be available to the students of the Chatham County Schools.

Please contact Jaime Detzi for additional information at jaime@cefmail.org.

Article by: Jaime Detzi

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