Grants Vamping Up Shenandoah County Classrooms

By: Sarah Robarge
By: Sarah Robarge

Teachers in Shenandoah County are excited to introduce new technologies and programs to their students.

They're getting more than $100,00 in grant money.

It's part of the Helen Moore trust fund. Moore was a Strasburg resident who passed away back in the 2002.

She left a $3 million trust fund to the Shenandoah County Public School system, the interest from that goes towards grants for teachers.

In the past five years, the trust has awarded about $600,000 in grants.

"Provide opportunities to our teachers that's above and beyond what we would normally provide in our school budget, we were looking for something that would extend the curriculum and would enhance it and there have a variety of projects that have been awarded throughout the years that just takes learning to another level," says Stacey Leitzel, Director of Elementary Education.

Every school in Shenandoah County has received at least one of the Moore grants since they started awarding them.

These grants are helping teachers in every kind of classroom from music to science, to p-e, to agriculture *and at every grade level.

"Kids can graduate and they can regurgitate // facts but they can't think for themselves so hopefully this will provide an opportunity to develop that thinking in a fun way," says Carol McFarland, Resource Specialist at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

To be exact, 30 fun ways. Carol McFarland works with gifted and talented students at Sandy Hook Elementary.

She says her Moore grant will help buy 30 board games for teachers to use in the classroom. The goal is to teach students new ways of thinking.

"Social skills like listening, planning ahead. Persistence. These programs are providing that opportunity," she adds.

And not just at the elementary level.

Jaclyn Roller has been teaching agriculture at Signal Knob Middle School for five years. This year, these students will have access to 10 thousand dollars worth of laptops.

"They have to research, they have to find out information, they have to create projects in order to that they do need access to technology," she says.

Roller says laptops readily available will help her kids see how they can apply what they learn here in the real world.

"They're researching anything from bee keeping, to being a crop duster. I know I can't take them out and see every single career and so we're trying to bring just a little bit of that to them as much as possible," she adds.

These grants are also challenging students in the gym. Clayton Rice is a P.E. teacher at Peter Muhlenburg Middle School. Thanks to a five thousand dollar grant a storage area will turn into a wellness center.

"We have some students that cannot or are not able to participate in the regular gym classes so we wanted an area where they cam actually do something other than just sit and watch," Clayton Rice says.

Other grants include 25 thousand dollars technology lab for students and community members at Signal Knob.

"When a teacher walks in they'll have all the tools of technology available to them so they can differentiate among the students the way that they would like. So if they have students that need to be on the computer they can be on the computer, if they have somebody who needs to be reading then they can go and grab a kindle and read and or they can do some type of activity on the iPad," says Chanda Greco.

Another grant is for a music class at sandy hook is getting guitars to start teaching guitar class.

Another grant is 14 thousand dollars to help buy a wind turbine for Central High School.

"We do all kinds of calculations with wind energy. This is going to be a great application in the real world, here is our data, what does this tell us about wind energy in this area, compared to other states," says Meredith Bauserman, Central High School Science teacher.


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