Valley Grande awards first grants to teachers

Published 10:29 pm Tuesday, October 16, 2012

VALLEY GRANDE — In their last city council meeting under the leadership of Mayor Tom Lee, the Valley Grande City Council awarded two grants to local teachers wishing to incorporate creative plans in their classrooms.

Cathleen Johnson, science teacher at Dallas County High School, received $1,000 from the city of Valley Grande to construct an outdoor aquatic learning facility.

“Habitat for an outdoor classroom is just a smaller portion of a larger vision we started on this year where students can come out to the garden area,” Johnson said. “And hopefully we can integrate more than just science including, history, math, and reading, so they can come out of the classroom and get some hands-on [learning].”

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The $1,000 grant money will be matched with $500 from the principal’s allotment.

The other grant was given to Kelly Green, library media specialist at Valley Grande Elementary.

Her proposal was called “Check it out,” and asked for money to enhance the school library and provide more literature for the children.

Councilwoman Libby Ezelle said this program specifically stood out amongst the others because libraries often suffer when school budgets are cut.

“She’s looking to offer an extensive array of materials and update her library based on the guidelines of the Alabama School Library Media Handbook,” Ezelle said.

Green will receive $500 from Valley Grande to support her program, which will also be matched with $500 from the school.

These two proposals were among many from area teachers, and Ezelle said she commended all who submitted their ideas.

“Asking teachers to come up with a proposal and submit this at the beginning of the year puts an extra burden on them, but they did it,” Ezelle said. “And I would like to commend all the principals for supporting your teachers when they did that because all of them were worthwhile.”

Lee said that as his last task as mayor, he felt that this was a worthwhile one and he’s happy to see school systems improving.

“What we did was try and get as much stuff in place as we possibly could [before the new council comes in],” Lee said. “We appreciate the efforts the teachers and principals made, we thank you a lot for taking care of our kids.”