As part of its “Making the Critical Difference” campaign, the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation will award almost $80,000 in grants to community teachers at a ceremony this Wednesday, May 21. The ceremony is open to the public and will be held in the Oak Ridge High School cafeteria beginning at 3 p.m.
Longtime Oak Ridge resident and award-winning author Eva Wike will speak at the event and will be available after the ceremony to sign copies of her most recent book, “Fiddler of the Mountains—Attuned to the Life and Times of Johnny Mull.” Wike is contributing a significant portion of the sales of her book to the Education Foundation.
The grants program is a key component of the foundation’s mission to support the highest quality education for all students.
“The grants focus on empowering teachers with the tools to teach,” said Cathy Toth, chair of the Grants Committee. “By putting resources directly into the classroom, the grants enrich the learning environment and help create the conditions where inspiration, curiosity, and learning are natural outcomes. Thanks to the support of the Oak Ridge community, we have been able to fund excellent projects in every school in Oak Ridge.”
Demonstrations of some of the technology purchased with foundation grant funding will be given after the formal ceremony. Jefferson Middle School used foundation grant funding last year to start an after-school robotics team and will be on hand to showcase their robots and team. Robertsville Middle School will show the audience how Promethean ActivTables funded by the foundation are used in comprehensive development classrooms to engage special needs students. Seventh-grade social studies teacher Brian Smith from Jefferson Middle School will be on hand to demonstrate geographic information systems, also funded by the foundation.
Including this year’s grants, the Education Foundation has awarded more than $500,000 in total grant funding. In 2012, the foundation kicked off its “Making a Critical Difference” campaign. The campaign goal is to raise $100,000 per year specifically for teacher grants through 2017. In 2013, the foundation received more than $60,000 in personal and corporate pledges, and more than $20,000 in other donations. Of this, $10,000 is pledged annually by UT-Battelle and is designated for robotics programs within Oak Ridge Schools.
For more information about the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation or to make a donation, contact Jenna Whitney at (865) 241-3667 or [email protected].