The Washington County QUEST Foundation awarded nearly $20,000 in grants to seven area teachers Wednesday.
This year’s grant monies were awarded to South Central Elementary kindergarten teacher Jill Leonard, Ridgeview Elementary fourth-grade teacher Beth Cunningham, Sulphur Springs Elementary third-grade teacher Regina France, Daniel Boone High School physical science teacher Rachel Horn, Ridgeview Elementary eighth-grade teacher Deana Arwood, and Jonesborough Elementary kindergarten teachers Brandi Crass and Ann Conner.
QUEST, Quality Education Support for Tomorrow, was formed in 2010 with the purpose of obtaining funds from different community businesses and organizations to make up for government funding cuts that have a direct impact on the classroom. The mission of the foundation is to solicit, collect, receive, accumulate, administer and distribute funds to further the pursuit of excellence in education for the students, faculty and administration of the Washington County system.
More than 60 grant applications were submitted this year.
Leonard received $3,868 for her “Capturing Children’s Inquiry of How Things in the World Work” proposal. Kindergartners will use everyday items, like bubbles, sand and water, to learn how things work, and they will be able to document their progress using video cameras.
Cunningham received $1,653 for her proposal “On the Go Science Labs,” which will allow students to have more experience with hands-on experiments in order to raise TCAP scores in science.
France received $3,540 for her proposal “Microscopic Giants Expanded!” which will utilize more microscope work in the classroom.
Students in Horn’s science classes will be able to learn engineering and design through robotic kits with her “Robotic Team Project Competition to Stimulate Enthusiasm in STEM” proposal, which was awarded $1,499. STEM is an initiative that focuses on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Arwood was awarded $4,998 for her “Increasing Reading in These Changing Times” proposal, which will implement the use of specialized Kindles in the classroom.
Brandi Crass and Ann Conner were awarded $4,317 for their kindergarten class “Falling into Reading with Starfall” proposal. Starfall is an interactive website designed to help children with reading skills.
Since the formation of QUEST, more than $36,000 in grants have been given to local teachers. Foundation president James Harlan said the program has allowed teachers to adapt to the increase of technology-aided learning.
“The use of technology in kindergarten through high school is amazing, and in today’s world, technology is a great aid for teaching. We feel like initiatives like this, which are not funded through the normal funding mechanisms, will really give Washington County students a chance to excel,” he said.