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Hallsville ISD Education Foundation awards more than $43,000 to teachers

By Bridget Ortigo
April 8, 2016 at 11:20 p.m.

Hallsville Junior High School teachers Schrundagale Griffith, left, Laura Adams, Karen Fleet and Tracey Fernandez celebrate Friday  after each received grants of $4,720 from the Hallsville Education Foundation to purchase Chromebooks and start an internet cafe for students.

About 75 Hallsville ISD teachers were surprised Friday with grant money for classroom projects as the Hallsville ISD Education Foundation Pride Patrol clapped and whistled its way through the halls of the district's campuses to hand out the awards.

"This is so awesome," Hallsville Junior High School sixth-grade social studies teacher Rhonda House said Friday as she held an oversize check for $4,798. "I'm so excited. With our grant money, we will buy 30 Nexus 7 tablets, which we can download applications like Quizlet, Epic and Kahoot through Google Play."

House, who co-wrote the grant with fellow teachers Ken Wall and Nancy Gilstrap, said the students can use the new tablets' applications to study, learn vocabulary and even take tests.

"Our grant is called 'There's An App for That,' and with these, they will be able to take tests with English Language Arts, download Accelerated Reader books, play games on it to learn vocabulary, and I can also put the study guide for tests on it," House said. "Students won't really just read a worksheet to study, but they will play games on a tablet.

"Our test scores have gone up in the past year as we have used these applications. This is a great cross-curriculum tool."

The foundation awarded more than $43,000 to teachers at all of the district's campuses Friday.

Since 2002, the foundation has awarded more than 320 grants totaling more than $350,000 to teachers.

"This is a great time of year," foundation Executive Director Beth Godsey said Friday. "Our classroom grants give Hallsville ISD teachers the freedom to implement exciting new programs. This is what all the late work nights, fundraising, and events are all about."

Funding for the grants is raised throughout the year with grants being awarded each spring, just in time for the money to be put to use for the following school year.

"Funding for the grants-to-teachers program comes from our generous annual drive donors and event sponsors," Godsey said. "Our teachers are creative, innovative and committed to success. Our grants-to-teachers program helps foster that success."

Some other awarded grant projects on Friday included $4,247 to teachers at all campuses for iPads to be used by dyslexic students as part of the multisensory teaching approach, or MTA.

East Elementary School secondary grade teachers Becky Meitzen and Anna Pratt were awarded $2,410 for the purchase of WeDo 2.0 LEGO bricks.

Thirty-five of the district's teachers received $100 mini grants, as well.

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