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Grant writing enhances learning in the classroom (Video)

By Carolina Astrain
Sept. 29, 2012 at 4:29 a.m.
Updated Oct. 1, 2012 at 5:01 a.m.

Former Rowland Magnet Elementary School teacher Grace Hammack receives a check for a grant she was awarded by the Victoria school district Education Foundation on Dec. 11, 2009.

For Grace Hammack, the most challenging part about grant writing is putting pen to paper.

"We have to be able to prove everything," the Schorlemmer Elementary School teacher said. "I have to make my grant worthy of being awarded."

Before she changed schools this fall, the former fifth-grade teacher worked at Rowland Magnet Elementary School.

In her four years of teaching at Rowland, Hammack was awarded three grants through the Victoria school district.

"The wonderful thing about applying for a grant is that it's outside the scope of asking your principal for funds," Hammack said.

Her first grant was called "Rockin' Rowland."

"We wrote it to get MP3 players so the kids could have the text read to them," Hammack said.

The idea behind the project was based on the Marie Carbo Method, which advocates reading at a slower pace and in smaller chunks.

"We saw some success with some of the students' growth in their reading," Hammack said. "I try to look at my classroom and think about where the students' needs are."

Hammack applied for funding through VISD's Education Foundation, which pools money and donors and redistributes the money in the schools.

"It's not unheard of to hear a teacher say, 'I spent a $1,000 on my classroom this year,'" said Brittany Hollas, education foundation executive director. "We try to put a little seed money in those teachers' hands to enhance their students' learning."

The grants awarded through the foundation are a one-time investment.

"If there's continued costs, the campus has to keep up with it," Hollas said.

Grants for a single classroom are capped at $1,000 and $2,500 for campus team, department or district initiated project.

Teachers applying fill out an application detailing procedures, evaluation design, sustainability and potential community partners.

"There's a lot of focus on accountability," Hollas said. "This gives them the incentive to take things up another notch."



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