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Education Foundation makes grant giveaways

By ERICA RODRIGUEZ
Dec. 10, 2010 at 6:10 a.m.

Julie Nobles, a fourth-grade teacher at Juan Linn Magnet School, helps Trace Meitzen, 9, use Mobi, an interactive mobile whiteboard, to do a math problem on the board from his seat on Friday. Classes received grants, which will fund a mimio for the classes that will add to the student's learning experiences. "If you think about what they're doing on the outside, its all computers and video games and cell phones. Then they come here and we give them a piece of notebook paper and a pencil. We've got to compete somehow," Jeffrey Neaves, technology specialist for Juan Linn Magnet School, said about the need for the new technology.

Schools which received Education Grants are: Juan Linn Magnet School

Crain Elementary

F.W. Gross Montessori Magnet

Howell Middle School

Mission Valley Elementary

Smith Elementary Magnet School

Cade Middle School

A group of education supporters clamored through the hallways of Juan Linn Magnet School blowing party horns and hooting.

Friday was the school's first time to receive two grants from the district's Education Foundation, which will help fund two new technology initiatives: portable electronic white boards and take-home audio players for kindergartners to listen to literature.

The grants were two of seven awarded to teachers in the district.

"The idea is to get the kids engaged in their learning," said Jeff Neaves, technology specialist for the school.

The audio players will give kindergartners a way to listen to stories even if they have no one to read to them. The interactive white board will help teachers record notes and have more interactive lessons.

Neaves said it's critical for the students to be exposed to such technology.

"If they don't learn this, then they're a step behind when the get to middle school and each step behind is detrimental for their future," he said.

At the Title I school, grant funding is often crucial to give children resources they otherwise might not have.

"We know that our children have needs," said Toni Misak, school principal. "We have a very targeted group of children on our campus and sometimes they just don't have the resources to be able to do things that other kids get to do, and by getting these types of grants, and by putting this type of technology into their hands, we're allowing them things ... which is only going to help them excel academically."

The Education Foundation dolled out more than $12,000 Friday to surprised teachers at six schools in the form of giant checks. The teachers' projects included everything from technology equipment to a health program and will impact more than 1,000 students.

"These grants give us that possibility to do things that other schools aren't doing and our kids get to do first," Misak said.

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