As the school year winds down, members of the McDuffie County School Board got a brief look at how the teacher incentive grants enriched the education of students this year.
At the board planning session last Wednesday, board members heard a presentation by grant recipient Becky Morlan, kindergarten teacher.
"It's hard for me to not stand up and cheer," said Board Member Georgia Hobbs about the way Mrs. Morlan used the grant to reinforce classroom learning.
Mrs. Morlan, who received $750 from state and federal funds, gave an overview of how her "Discovery Packs" enhanced students' skills in cross curricular activities and boosted interest in reading. Each Discovery Pack features a different theme with different activities that children may check out and take home for a week.
"Interest in reading in my classroom has really picked up," she told the board, explaining how journal writing is an integral part of the each of the 25 packs she created and decorated.
The Discovery Packs are canvas bags filled with various activities including games, puppets, fill in the blank papers, number activities, fact cards and manipulative, hands-on activities. Each pack is different and features themes such as Clifford the Big Red Dog, Buzzing with Learning and Mrs. Wishy Washy (designed around a favorite class book).
"These have been absolutely wonderful. Response has been very positive from parents and students," she said.
The packs are helpful in reinforcing academic lessons and have the added benefit of including family members in the learning process, said Kathryn Collins, assistant superintendent for curriculum and instruction.
"These kinds of activities get the whole family involved," Dr. Collins said.
A total of nine grants were awarded this year, ranging from $282 - $750. Recipients were Noell Keener/ Beth Newsome, Sheryl Allen, Becky Morlan, Barbara Davidson, Doristiano Brown, Jerry Snider, Dot Kay, Claudia Wells, and Terry Gribanow.
Teachers apply for Incentive Grants in the fall, and all projects must align with Quality Core Curriculum objectives. The projects must include all students in the class, and proposals are judged by a source outside the county.